A guy sporting a nose ring or a man wearing anklets may have surprised you a couple of years ago, but not any more. Today, jewellery is not limited to women alone. One finds more and more men experimenting with ornaments to create an edgy look. The recently concluded third edition of Van Heusen and GQ Fashion Nights witnessed the most stylish collection showcased by India’s leading designers, and sported by male models with panache.
We speak to some of the designers who guide men on how to follow the trend.
Designer Rajesh Pratap Singh believes that men wearing jewellery is not a very new idea but a few decades saw it as a feminine attribute. “If you see, the best jewellery possibly came out of men’s closets. It’s just that new ways of wearing ornaments have been created. And so, the idea of men not wearing jewellery is out of the window now. Men do wear jewellery all the time,” he says.
Talking about how the way men flaunt ornaments has changed, Singh says that today men are wearing different kinds of jewellery. “They are open to the concept of fashion jewellery rather than just classic ornamental jewellery. So, men are experimenting more,” he says.
Ujjwal Dubey, who owns the menswear label Antar-Agni says that there has been a lot of gender fluidity, and jewellery is no exception. “The old India has done everything that we are thinking of now. Necklaces, anklets, even a little heavy ones, work great with Indian outfits. Indian men sported jewellery in the past as well, and it’s time we went back to it,” he adds.
According to senior designer Arjun Khanna, “Jewellery has been accepted and worn by men since the Mughal era. When you look at jewellery for men today, it isn’t feminine. One has tons of options to choose from such as bracelets, earrings, nose rings etc. I think it is versatile. It all depends on who the wearer is and his personality.”
Trends in jewellery
While men’s jewellery has been understated in the last few decades, today it has turned a bit flashy and ornate. “Various kinds of wrist bands, and tons of silver ornaments are in. Men now are sporting not just the classic rock and roll shades but more modern hues as well,” suggests Singh.
Khanna, who is of the opinion that men must experiment with traditional Indian jewellery too, says that leather and silver wrist bracelets are really cool and silver rings with a motif look good, especially on the first or the last finger. “I like the Rajasthani baalis (murkhis) — it is basically a chand (moon)-shaped earring worn close to the earlobe. It looks great and masculine. I also like flat and tiny ear studs; they add a sparkle to the ear. Pendants with a crucifix look good if worn really close to the nape of the neck. I also like ankle bracelet that is rarely worn by men,” he suggests.
However, Dubey begs to differ and advocates simplicity. Says he, “The more subtle it is, the better. Ear studs and necklaces are the obvious choice, nose rings have also lately been carried well by men. Simple, single string anklets are also a great choice.”
Styling it right
Jewellery is great to complete your look but if overdone, it tends to ruin your style statement. While teaming accessories with your outfits, striking the right balance is the key to a super stylish look. “Men should be comfortable with whatever they are wearing. It’s not just jewellery but also the style that they are trying to carry. As long as it comes naturally, it looks great. If they are trying to force it down, then it doesn’t work,” advises Singh.
Dubey suggests that nose rings and stubble/beard are a great match. “When men with beard/stubble pair nose rings with formals like a three-piece suit, it is bang on! Necklaces and ear studs look great with an Indian look,” he adds.
Khanna, who has done a lot of real jewel buckles which go well with bandhgalas and real jewel cufflinks for dress shirt, says, “One piece which is done really well is a pendant which is commonly known as a mala but is not really a mala, it is more stylised and is worn over sherwanis. Of course the stylish safa with a jewelled kalgi also looks great.”
Suggesting on how to save yourself from some of the biggest fashion mistakes, Singh says, “Do not wear jewellery that is not in great proportion. Colour and proportion are the two important aspects to consider while wearing jewellery. Any colour, stone, embellishment etc is fine as long as it works for the person and looks appropriate with what the person is wearing.”
Dubey warns that anything overdone kills the look. “Subtle tone-on-tone embellishments work well. We believe in all single-colour details,” he adds.
For Khanna, large diamond studs or diamond earrings or big rings which have diamonds set in it, are one of the biggest faux pas. “Just make sure you get the right fit. There are enough stylists out there who can help you. Antique silver, general silver, oxidised silver all look really good on Indian skin. If you wear a diamond, just wear a white, flat and really tiny diamond. Otherwise silver is the safest bet for men. Silver mixed with turquoise and leather is even better,” Khanna adds.
Talking about how men can sport traditional jewellery pieces with a modern twist, Khanna says, ‘’I love how Rajput men dress up — they tend to carry the old-fashioned jewellery very well including baalis and murkhis. I think taaweez (amulet) is really cool and it is a part of our heritage and culture. You look at our labourers, they all have a taaweez on their left arms. But don’t follow a trend blindly — see if it works for you first. Just be yourself and be comfortable in your own skin,” Khanna concludes.