You don’t have to be into luxury watches to wear a watch. To be the kind of man who knows what ‘escapement’ means, or why Rolexes with faulty dials are more covetable than the pristine ones. That’s because even though watches are jewelry, they’re not really jewelry. They’re functional. You could use one to land a stricken plane. You could navigate through a jungle. You could even summon a rescue plane, if you ever find yourself stranded with Breitling’s Emergency on your wrist.
Whereas decorative jewelry gives a fella funny feelings. A man who’ll lay down his inheritance on a Patek Philippe will still balk at a necklace, or even worse, a ring. Buying something just for the way it looks is pure vanity. It’s something women do.
It’s also something Viking warriors, Egyptian kings and Tudor nobles did. That rappers still do. It wasn’t until the Victorians, and their priggish efforts to separate the sexes, that men eschewed jewelry. Sir Walter Raleigh wore a ruby-studded ring that would put Mr T to shame.
Fortunately, men are finally starting to see sense. I initially started designing for the guy who just wore a watch, I don’t think guys are nervous about rings that aren’t wedding rings; I more feel that some guys are hesitant about wearing jewelry in general because they have a hard time accessorising. Guys should be more open to taking risks and trying new things with their everyday style.
WHICH RING FOR WHICH FINGER?
Where your ring ends up should be steered by taste, practicality and mechanics (just because a ring goes on, that’s no guarantee it’ll come back off as easily). Tradition may state differently, but I believe you should wear any ring how you wish, Your ring, your hand, your choice.” But if you’re a stickler – or just need a steer – there are some connotations for different ring fingers.
The first stop for guys who want to think beyond the wedding ring. Your pinky has a few advantages when you want to dip a (little) toe into men’s jewelry. First, it’s on a finger that’s essentially decorative, so it won’t get in the way of actually doing things with your hands. Second, it doesn’t have an underlying meaning; you wear a ring there because you want to, not because of tradition.
The Godfather popularised the idea that gangsters wear pinky rings, but unless you spend your nights at the docks, you’re probably safe from that misapprehension. More likely they’ll think you’re inspired by Prince Charles, who wears his signet ring on his left pinky – stacked on top of his wedding ring, as is royal tradition.
The clue’s in the name. This is where the most common men’s ring goes – a wedding band. In the UK and US, you’ll most often find it on the left hand; in Eastern Europe and Orthodox traditions, it can appear on the left. As ever, go with whatever feels comfortable – if you’re a lefty, you might find it sits better on your right hand, where it’s less likely to get in the way of anything.
The ring finger’s been the home to wedding bands for centuries, supposedly based on the idea that it’s the only finger with an unbroken vein – the vena amoris – that leads directly to the heart. As romantic an idea as this is, it’s also cobblers – the veins in your hand are all basically the same.
For rings, the middle finger tends to be the last port of call when the rest of your hand is full. It’s not left bare for traditional reasons, but rather because it’s so close to your index finger, which tends to be most active. That proximity means anything with any heft can feel awkward, but because your middle finger is the hand’s biggest, too dainty a ring looks odd. Which leaves you in no man’s land.
For those guys who do wear middle finger rings, they tend to appear on the opposite side to the wedding band. Again, that’s a practical thing – stack rings up on consecutive fingers and you’ll sound like a castanet player whenever you move your fingers.
Historically, the most prominent finger was home to the most prominent rings: a signet or family crest, worn by nobility and, in some cultures, banned as a ring location to anyone outside the aristocracy.
These days, you can put a ring on it even if you don’t have a family crest, but you’d still be wise to go big, since it’s a space that makes a statement. If you’ve got the cojones then chunky, three-dimensional rings look good on an index finger.
Think of the thumb as the index finger on steroids. For one, your thumb is big and so needs a big ring. There’s also the fact that thumb rings are less common, which means you’ve got a statement ring in a novel location.
But that all also means that, if you’re the kind of guy who leans into statement-making, a thumb ring is an easy way to stand out. To avoid looking like you own an ‘import-export’ business, keep the rest of your hand fairly clear; a pinky plus a thumb ring gives a decent amount of separation.
5 STYLE TIPS FOR WEARING RINGS STYLE GUIDE
- BE AMBIDEXTROUS
Like any accessory, less is often more with rings. Overload your hands and the individual elements become tricky to discern. “You should balance your jewelry. If you have a wedding band and watch on one hand, then one or two rings would work nicely on the other hand, for example.
- NAIL YOUR SCALES
As with your clothes, fit matters. Tiny rings on pianist fingers can feel out of place, much as skinny jeans can look indecent on bodybuuilder thighs. The scale of jewelry is important to bear in mind, Don’t wear rings that are the wrong size for your body shape. A big ring can look good on a guy with large hands but uncomfortable if you have small fingers.
- MATCH YOUR METALS (OR DON’T)
Traditionally, clashing metals signified a lack of care – all your jewelry should be either gold, or silver, but never both. But in a world where you can wear joggers with a blazer, pairing a steel watch with a gold ring isn’t the faux pas it once was. Although it’s still best when you make it look deliberate.
When done right it can add a more stylised aesthetic to the overall look . It’s particularly effective when you mix your metals in a single piece; wear something like Red nymph ring and you’ve got carte blanche to add more rings in either metal. “We were able to take 90 per cent silver and 10 per cent gold and use this process of mechanically bonding it together through a machine to achieve this look. As well as your style, it’s also good for your pocket.
- THINK ABOUT YOUR LIFESTYLE
Rappers can rock the dripping-in-bling look because they don’t have to wear suits to work. “If you do, then a giant, statement ring won’t work, Look for something more subtle. You can always leave the 3D stuff for the weekend, but if you want to make rings a signature, go for a simpler form of personality.
Choose something that’s timeless, but nothing overly designed or intricate, unless it’s a piece you see yourself wearing everyday, Rings are something that I find people like to put on and never take off, so for this reason I would suggest going with something more understated.
Any style statement looks best when you own it. When a man wears jewelry he doesn’t feel comfortable in, that shows, Rings can feel odd at first, a physical weight that makes you more self-conscious. So try before you buy and only go for something you feel confident you can pull off. And if that means starting out with something that’s barely there, so be it. “Personally, I like my rings at two millimetres, which is the same as my wedding band.