When it comes to jewellery, it seems most men aren't that interested in wearing much other than a watch and a wedding ring - and even the latter is sometimes foregone these days.
Personally, I'm a self-confessed magpie – I have a number of different pieces I like to wear on different days, ranging from a couple of rings and the odd bracelet to a few necklaces. And while I don't have an earring myself, I'm not averse to other men getting one (or two). The way I see it, jewellery is just another way of adding something to your outfit. A bit like choosing the right shoe, or a particular colour of tie.
Yet despite the fact that I'm falling well short of, say, hip hop cred in my choice of the bullion that I layer on, I still find myself on the receiving end of a some serious side-eye from my mates.
So what is it about jewellery that makes men quiver in their workboots?
Some of it could be convenience. If you work with your hands or frequently head to the gym, having something flapping around your neck or pinching the flesh of your fingers is the last thing you need.
But also a simple fact may be that many men are inherently suspicious of something they don't really know how to wear.
Tevin Vincent is a US-based jewellery designer who specialises in unique, limited edition bracelets for men. His opinion is that many men are afraid of looking too over-the-top when wearing jewellery.
“The honest truth is that men are simple,” Vincent declares. “We are not the type to put on bells and whistles on a daily basis. I think the average man is still on the fence about wearing jewellery other than a watch and wedding band, due to the fact that they have no knowledge of how to wear it or what to buy.”
So what should men think about when trying to choose their next (or first) signature piece of jewellery?
Firstly – match the piece to the occasion. Choosing jewellery to accentuate what you wear is as easy as making sure that it doesn't outshine your whole outfit. And while Kabala strings and leather seem to be regaining their popularity as alternative jewellery choices, probably best to keep that for the weekend and not with your work suit. Hippy CEO isn't a good look for anyone.
Secondly, tradition has it that you shouldn't mix your metals and you should stick to wearing either silver or gold at any given time. It's a good all-purpose guideline for the clueless, but I would say the most important thing is how it all looks in the end. A general rule of thumb, however, would be to keep them separate so as not to look too overdone. Which leads me to my final suggestion – avoid going overboard.
Toby Jones is a Sydney-based jewellery designer whose work ranges from vintage-inspired statement pieces to more contemporary, minimalist designs. He thinks that when it comes to pulling off statement jewellery, simplicity is key. “Less is more,” says Jones. “Jewellery is a very personal thing, especially for men, so it's really about finding the piece that you feel comfortable wearing all the time.”
But that doesn't mean you can't have fun with it every now and then. Karl Lagerfeld refuses to leave the house without at least one ring on each finger, and Johnny Depp seems to have completely embraced the personal style of his frequent alter ego, pirate Jack Sparrow.
“There will always be men who like to pile on rings and big chains,” says Jones, “and then there will be the guy who just wears a simple thin chain and never takes it off, or the signet ring he inherited from his grandfather. It's all about individuality with jewellery and I don't think it necessarily translates directly into or from trends. It's just about finding what's right for you.”
What are your thoughts on men wearing jewellery?