Men’s jewelry is on the rise. While it used to be reserved for the rockers and other alternative styles to sport leather bracelets and multiple rings, men everywhere have begun to pick up more and more jewelry to take their looks to higher levels. Of course, it’s about more than just picking the right watch.
Now, men are looking to balance their wrists with the right bracelets and adorning their necks with chains and their fingers with rings. That doesn’t mean they are going overboard, but it does signal a shift in the way men think about accessorizing. Curious about the reasons behind this cultural shift and the booming industry, I sat down with Co-founder and CEO of The Black Tux, Andrew Blackmon, to get his insight.
He started The Black Tux 10 years ago with his co-founder, Patrick Coyne, after going through his own personal experience struggling with the outdated formalwear industry, and he has been leading the brand ever since. “Through my experience in The Black Tux,” he said. “I have learned all of the intricacies and fundamentals of formalwear as well as menswear as a whole.”
Recently, his company has branched out to acquire Marke, a jewelry company that had everything they were looking for in a new business venture. “Started by three siblings raised by one of the most respected jewelry makers in NYC, Marke had a rich history, sustainable and responsible manufacturing practices, and an incredibly easy ordering process. They only made high-quality, timeless pieces that we felt men really wanted to own.”
But what caused the desire to branch out from formal wear? Blackmon explained that this is the new way for men to express themselves.
Men have always searched for ways to be unique. From peacocking in the early years of attracting the best mate to wearing brightly colored novelty socks to break the mold of the everyday uniform, men are always on the hunt for a new way to stand out. Blackmon believes this is part of the reason we are seeing the men’s jewelry market spike.
“I think men are looking for more ways to express themselves,” the CEO said. “Jewelry has been worn for thousands of years — it’s more surprising that it hasn’t been popular among men over the past 10 years. While classic styles are among the most popular, we are starting to see men become more playful about the way they accessorize.” The classic styles of basic metals and subtle leathers are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world, helping men find themselves without getting lost in the crowd.
But if the jewelry boom continues to spike, and everyone is now wearing basics, then it may just become the new crowd to get lost in, right? As we evolve our understanding of how to wear jewelry and get more comfortable with expressing ourselves, the market is almost guaranteed to shift. Blackmon thinks that evolution will grow and help men find their unique look.
“There might be shifts in styles, but jewelry is giving men an opportunity to express themselves more creatively. Putting on a chain or ring can change your entire vibe. I’m very optimistic as I look toward the future of this industry. I am hopeful it will continue to grow and evolve, helping men find their uniqueness.” As the new styles change and men begin embracing the basics, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing more unique and flamboyant styles start to rise in popularity.
Great, the market is going up, but that doesn’t help men know what they should wear and what works for them. When I asked Blackmon what advice he has for men who want to express themselves in unique ways, he had some very simple advice for us. “Follow what speaks to you and be willing to take a little risk.”
Sometimes men have a hard time trusting their judgment when it comes to getting out of their comfort zones. So often, we are made to feel like we don’t know good style; the stereotype is that we need a good woman to dress us, or we end up looking like Adam Sandler on a regular basis. But the truth is, we see the same styles as everyone else, and we know what we like. Trust yourself and keep it simple, and you can’t go wrong.
While rings are pretty self-explanatory, bracelets and necklaces come in a wide variety of metals and leathers. Which way to go can impact how your outfit translates. For instance, if you go with too much leather, you can start to look like Jack Sparrow. If you go with too many gaudy metals, you can start to look like a made man in the mafia. The trick is to remember that jewelry is meant to be an accessory. It should very rarely be the centerpiece of an outfit.
For Blackmon, he likes to pick up something that has a little more to it. “I personally prefer metal, as it feels like an investment in something of value.” There is a luxury that comes with steel rings, bracelets, and necklaces with a little glistening. While too much can be a tracksuit away from the mob when you do it right, it takes you from a basic everyday outfit to an elegantly elevated one.
Men’s jewelry is back, and that means it’s time to start shopping for your look. Whether you are a ring guy, a bracelet guy, a necklace guy, or all three, you have endless options to let your inner elegance shine. Trust yourself and choose something that truly speaks to your creative expression, and you can’t go wrong.
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