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How to pull off casual jewelry

Flickr/Mark Jensen

Men have feared many things over the course of history: woolly mammoths, heart disease and loud noises. While all of these terrors are rightfully avoided, it would seem that many men do not fear gaudy and flashy jewelry as much as they should. Someone once said all that glitters is not gold, and they were probably talking about tasteful jewelry. But, believe it or not, guys can still pull off tasteful and rugged pieces without looking like an Ed Hardy aficionado.

There is no time like the present to invest in a watch. Although cell phones have replaced the wristwatch in terms of functionality, the watch is still stylistically superior. Timex makes fantastically cheap watches, starting off at around $25 dollars. Add in a bit of flair by replacing the wristband with a grosgrain strap. Many companies sell them, such as J. Crew and Smart Turnout, and they come in a dazzling array of colors and designs from cobalt to camo. The best part about a watch is that if dropped, it will not shatter on impact.

Bracelets are a great starting point for those just beginning to get into the world of jewelry. The key is finding a piece that looks weathered, as if it had been owned for a while. Nautical inspired bracelets can look very cool, but try to stay away from the classic white rope bracelet that shrinks around the wrist, since it tends to get dirty. Miansai makes interesting bracelets, utilizing hooks and different kinds of lines to give off a unique nautical aesthetic. For a more basic look, there is no going wrong with a simple leather strap. It can be worn all the time and, like a good pair of desert boots, it will just look better with age.

Rings are a bit more complicated. Subtle is better – there is no need for skulls or class rings. Simple designs and insignias always work the best.

The same goes for necklaces. This is tricky territory – it can look cool to layer necklaces, but be wary after putting on two or three.

An interesting material can make the look of a necklace or ring. Rose gold is a great alternative to silver or gold (and it looks great on a watch as well). The lovely hue gives off a certain nonchalance while still giving jewelry a timeless look. Above all else, keep it to a few key pieces. Too much of any metal can be blinding.

Some great places to pick up cool pieces of jewelry are markets and thrift stores. Pieces there are often weathered and broken in, and you probably won’t break the bank buying them. Be constantly on the hunt for something that could work well with an outfit, and try to think of pieces that could be layered well. As the years pass on, you can accumulate a nice collection of leather pieces and simple metals to create great accents for any wardrobe.

Have no fear gentlemen. Experiment with some jewelry, but just remember not to go overboard. The simpler the piece, the better – it will make layering easier and complement an outfit rather than distracting from it. Go simple when it comes to layering as well. Too many of even the simplest of rings or necklaces will look gaudy. Remember as well that bracelets are a “gateway drug” into the jewelry game. They can come in a wide variety of colors and different materials.

With all of this in consideration, the best tip is to not over think it. Keep it simple and throw on some causal jewelry for a bit of sartorial flair.

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