How to Wear Accessories [A Guide for the Modern Man]

How to wear accessories a guide for men cover photo

Accessorizing for men can often be a frightening experience, fraught with indecision. For men there is a fine line between an acceptable amount and too much.

Unlike women, costume jewellery and the layering of various accessories is not a flattering look and only serves to make us look like fops. I’m here to tell you that there are ways around this. There is such thing as tasteful and handsome accessorizing, it merely requires a set of objective eyes to determine where that line is.

Today, I’m going to act as your eyes and set a framework for how to accessorize as a modern man.

We can accessorize in two ways: casually and formally. Adding stylish accessories to a formal look is quite simple. There are a few small additions you can make to your look that will boost it immeasurably without looking clownish.

On the other hand, accessorizing casually is a tougher game. Our casual looks are often simpler than our formal ones and that makes adding small touches a bit more difficult, as they can be too subtle. I’ll break things up into formal and casual accessorizing and find the best way to do each without overdoing it.

I’m about small changes that catch the discerning eye, not over the top flamboyancy. With that in mind, let’s get started and look at a few stylish accessories for the modern man.

Formal Accessories for Men

When you’re wearing a suit the traditional style can be a bit mundane. I like to add three accessories, not necessarily at the same time, to boost my suits and jackets up a few notches:

Tie Bars

Classic Tie Bar
Image Source: The Dressed Chest Instagram

Tie bars are a great way to add an interesting element to your look. The two most important factors in getting the tie bar right is the placement of it and the width.

First off, you want to place your tie bar between the third and fourth button on your shirt. If you place your tie bar too low it looks unbalanced, and if you place it higher than the buttons I’ve mentioned, it looks like you’re trying to choke yourself.

Secondly, you don’t ever want your tie bar to be wider than your tie. You want your tie bar to either be flush with the width of your tie or narrower than the tie itself. Again, when the tie bar is wider than the tie it throws off the balance. It always makes me think that you borrowed your dad’s tie bar and thought you could make it work; it doesn’t.

A site that makes really interesting tie bars that can be had for a song is the tie bar. They have a bevy of tie bars in all shapes, sizes, and colours. Get a few and accessorize with them as you see fit;

Lapel Pins

Lapel Pin on Jacket

Lapel pins are another great way to accessorize a jacket or suit, but need to be dealt with in a defter manner. They can look quite handsome when done subtly, but look rakish when overdone. Keep the colours and patterns subtle, but more importantly, keep them relatively small in size- you don’t need a full size rose on your chest.

A label I look to for my lapel pins is French fashion house Lanvin. They do handsome, tasteful designs every season.

Pocket Squares

pocket-square-image

Pocket squares are a classic and handsome way to add a punch or colour to your look. There are two things to think about when choosing a pocket square: fold style and colour/pattern.

Regarding the former, almost anything goes except the “four points” look. It’s tacky- don’t do it. If you have something in cotton or linen, fold it flatly and let a little peek out. If you have a silk square, have some fun and let it hang loose.

Regarding the latter, try and find something in the colour or pattern that ties into your suit or shirt. Don’t, under any circumstances, match your tie to your square. Again, it’s tacky. For squares, I would also look to the Tie Bar. They have a multitude of them in every colour, pattern, and fabric at very fair prices.

Casual Accessories:

Like I said, causal accessorizing is a bit more difficult as it takes more thought. Here are a few pieces you can add to your casual wardrobe that will give you the boost you’re looking for without overdoing it:

Bracelets

Stacked BraceletPhoto Credit: Maurnavy

A lot of men would scoff at the idea of a bracelet, and on the surface I get it. However, a lot of companies are doing subtle designs that look handsome when worn stacked with or without a watch.

My advice when it comes to bracelets is to wear ones that are quite small and either leave it at one or wear a bunch. The stacked look is quite modern and I see a lot of men pulling it off effectively.

You want to avoid leather bands or cuffs. Unless of course you plan on joining an early alternative rock band.

Sunglasses

sunglasses-accessory

A handsome pair of sunglasses always say classic cool. The key to sunglasses is finding a pair that suits the shape of your face.

You want them to not be too narrow or wide. If your face is round, go with frames that are a little wider. Should you have those high model cheekbones and a slender jaw, stick to something slimmer.

Keep with tradition too: brands like Ray-Bans and Persols will never go out of style. Classic shapes and colours, nothing too athletic or modern, are a great way to accessorize.

Scarves

Casual ScarfSandroisfree

Scarves are a delicate matter; you don’t want something to big or flashy. I think the cold weather requires something chunkier and neutrally coloured. My favourite are tube scarves. Tube scarves are warm, practical, and look good; simple as that.

When you’re wearing a scarf for fashion purposes, try something in silk and tie it loosely around your neck. Again, nothing too flashy in terms of colour or pattern. Lastly, a neckerchief is classic cool and will never go out of style.

These are what I consider to be the most practical and stylish accessories for the modern man. What I didn’t mention, but will now, is the humble wristwatch. A simple watch is always stylish and handsome. It also works in both formal and casual settings. These accessories will help set you apart from your contemporaries. Good luck, men, not that you need it anymore.