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The Dos and Don’ts of Bracelets for Men

No need to fear …but don’t go overboard either

Last year we had the summer of peak man bracelet. Everywhere you looked, someone seemed to be dangling half a dozen leather and metal trinkets from each of his hairy forearms. It was a lot. But guys don’t need to overcorrect and avoid wrist wear altogether this summer; we just need to think a little bit harder about what we strap on. Here are some simple dos and don’ts.

Do: Embrace Color

Source: Miansai via Bloomberg

Miansai isn’t afraid of a little color, and you shouldn’t be either. Source: Miansai via Bloomberg

Last year was all about the dark woven leather bracelets or metallics. But you’re a man, and you’re wearing a bracelet. You might as well have fun. A bright orange, lilac, or teal wrist accessory is a good way to get some color into an outfit if you don’t want to wear pants that are bright orange, lilac, or teal. There are some good leather options, but for the most saturated colors you’ll want to reach for glass beads or woven nylon. Miansai’s wovens ($68) are popular, and for good reason: They come in a variety of good-looking styles, offer a few kinds of hardware, and are tough as nails.

Don’t: Go Heavy Metal

Source: Mr. Porter via Bloomberg

Show some restraint when it comes to metal bangles and cuffs. Source: Mr. Porter via Bloomberg

Forget the studded leather cuff you wore in middle school and that giant turquoise and hammered silver thing you bought in Santa Fe. If you’re wearing metal, it should be modern and streamlined, not bulky and nostalgic, and nobody is making sleeker metal bangles than French jeweler Le Gramme. They come in a variety of thicknesses and metals, ranging from a skinny LE 7 ruthenium cuff ($360) to the slightly extravagant LE 33 polished yellow gold cuff ($7,945).

Do: Mix Things Up

Source: Bottega Veneta via Bloomberg

You can wear a bunch of bracelets to mix materials, or find one like this that does it all. Source: Bottega Veneta via Bloomberg

Embrace variety. This is the difference between getting compliments on your accessory choices and being just another bro with a party on his wrist and one too many buttons undone on his Thomas Pink “going-out” shirt. Either pick a small number of different styles of bracelets (say, glass beads and a silver band), or go for something like this Bottega Veneta bracelet ($450) that combines colorful braided leather and distressed silver in one piece.

Don’t: Restrict Yourself to “Man” Bracelets

Source: Hermès via Bloomberg

Even if it’s sold in the women’s section of Hermès, this hook and loop bracelet is a solid choice. Source: Hermès via Bloomberg

Get over it. Man rosé, man perfume, and man bracelets are all just marketing. A great bracelet is a great bracelet, regardless of which department you find it in. This Hermès creation ($300), a simple leather cord held together with an oversize metal hook and eyelet, is a perfect example of what you’ll be missing if you stick to the dude section of the store.

Do: Watch Your Watch

Source: Mr. Porter and Tiffany & Co. via Bloomberg

Watches and other wristwear should work together and not fight for attention. Source: Mr. Porter and Tiffany & Co. via Bloomberg

You don’t need to get all matchy-matchy, but if your watch is the star of the show, you don’t want the supporting cast mucking things up. A beefier watch (such as any of these weekend standbys) can stand up to bigger bracelets, while something more refined, such as Tiffany’s CT60, might pair well with this skinny Luis Morais beaded number ($220). Either way, everything should be sending the same message.

Don’t: Forget Your Past

Photo illustration: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business; bracelets: brands via Bloomberg

Clockwise from top: Tod’s, Kiel James Patrick, Giles & Brother. Photo illustration: Jeremy Allen/Bloomberg Business; bracelets: brands via Bloomberg

OK. You’re a guy. Why are you wearing a bracelet again? Because it looks good, probably. But if you feel like you need an extra explanation, think back to the times in your life that were important to you. During your summers on Cape Cod, did you spend the whole season wearing one of those white woven bracelets? Well, those are a thing again, and Rhode Island-based Kiel James Patrick makes some great ones ($40). Used to go fishing along the old train trestles with your dad? What about one of those railroad spike bracelets ($80) that Giles & Brother have popularized? Or surely, at summer camp, you used to make lanyard bracelets. Guess what—those are trendy now, too. Tod’s makes one for $139 that will put the one you gave Mom to shame. (Just don’t tell her that, she probably still has it.)