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The Man Bracelet: Yea or Nay?

The latest in an ongoing series in which we debate current style topics with an intensity that is—we'll be the first to admit—a little out of proportion to the actual significance of the issue at hand.
Photo: Getty Images

Colin's vice? The Man Bracelet

On May 24, 2011, at 3:09 PM, Jared Flint wrote:
On a recent showroom visit, my host offered me a little parting gift–a chambray bracelet. I realized I hadn’t worn wrist adornments in quite some time, perhaps a year or more. There was a time when my wrist was weighed down by a colorful array of beads and ropes that never, ever came off. Ever. In fact, I got one tattooed on my wrist to show I was damn serious about this arm accent. Now I’m considering getting back into this game. Is there an age limit to wearing these things? A dress code? Or maybe an all-out ban? And can hemp ever be involved? Ever?

On May 24, 2011, at 3:35 PM, Chris Wallace wrote:
I’m not even gonna lie–when I was a calftan-wearing longhair in the early Oughts, I sported some leather cuffs—you know, the full on Andre 3000 circa ‘Hey Ya’ dillys that only ever looked good on Aragon of Arathorn—but never more than one at a time. Have a sense of scale people! Only one Conan the Barbarian-inspired accessory at a time. Or, maybe the true barometer is wrist-to-elbow depth. As in, never more than an inch of jangly bits running up your arm?

On May 24, 2011, at 3:46 PM, Jonathan Evans wrote:
I’ve had a habit for a few years running now: I tie a piece of string around my right wrist, and I wear it until it falls off. It’s utterly pointless ornamentation, but I like it, so I go for it. Other than that, I wasn’t really sold on bracelets until about a year ago, when I pulled the trigger on a simple, small cuff (about 3/4″ wide) from Corter leather. I followed that up with a triple wrap bracelet by Billykirk this past winter. My personal rule? Never more than one “real” bracelet (plus the string) on my right wrist at any time, and nothing more than a watch on the left. Anything more and it gets to be too much. Just imagine a solid 2 inches or so of leather piling up on one arm—probably not a good scene.

On May 24, 2011, at 3:55 PM, Chris Wallace wrote:
Jonathan’s string thingy reminds me of a particular eccentricity we had in college where we’d wear a rubber band around our wrists and if we made a bad play we’d pull it back and flay our flesh in punishment–the point being that, after this atonement, we’d ‘snap back,’ and move on. Let this be a lesson to you: gimmick bracelets should never be worn, ever. Especially by self-serious athletes, who should only wear mammoth bits of bling.

On May 24, 2011, at 3:56 PM, Jared Flint wrote:
I like your string theory. Yessss, been waiting six months to sneak a particle physics reference into a Gilt email.

On May 24, 2011, at 4:05 PM, Jonathan Evans wrote:
Particle physics and wrist adornment: Pretty much the same thing. Now you know.

On May 24, 2011, at 4:11 PM, Monica Khemsurov wrote:
From a woman’s perspective, I dig the worn-out string. I’ve known a few guys who did that and it always fascinated me, the fact that a tiny piece of string could carry some weird, complex, mystical meaning for them when 90% of the time they were only thinking about food, work, or sex. That said, I happen to have two very strong associations with men in bracelets: summer camp (good), and Adam Lambert (bad). And by that I mean, if a bracelet could possibly be considered fancy, shiny, goth, emo, or trendy, I can’t get on board. However, if a bracelet has more to do with outdoor pursuits, is generally worn or weathered, or reminds me of the boys I went to summer camp with in the 90s, it’s a green light from me. (Watches, of course, are a completely different story.)

On May 24, 2011, at 4:15 PM, Jonathan Evans wrote:
If I were to go for it on that front, it’d be with a string or two of simple wooden beads. I’m OK with this move. Just make sure it’s not a flashy/bulky watch.

On May 24, 2011, at 4:27 PM, Josh Peskowitz wrote:
Okay here’s where the guy in the office who wears beads with his non chunky watch chimes in: I say if you’re wearing a watch, your bracelets should be on the same arm. And bracelets—if you choose to wear them, and whether they are permanently tied or not—should only be worn on one wrist. I’ve been known to wear ones that are always there, but I cut them off in January (the damn things refused to just disintegrate after more than three years, but I digress) and ones that come on and off. I’ve also been known to wear a lot of em, a little, or none, but they are always relegated to one side of the body. Wearing them on both arms is like hand cuffs. And it’s better if they have a story behind them; like you got them in some exotic local, or at least SoCal. I guess this goes without saying, but they have to seem like they just ended up on your wrist, rather than you buying a kit of them: Looking effortless requires a lot of effort and so on.

On May 24, 2011, at 4:48 PM, Chris Wallace wrote:
Oh, and please, not ever, not even if you actually play basketball—even if you are presently PLAYING basketball—never, ever, should a grown man wear a wrist band.

On May 24, 2011, at 5:46 PM, Josh Peskowitz wrote:
Jared’s original post brought something else to mind. Is there, or does there need to be, an inverse ratio of arm tattoos to bracelets? Just asking. Also wanted to get a little remedial math language in here…

On May 24, 2011, at 5:48 PM, Jared Flint wrote:
Wow, math and science worked into the mix. Well, I used to wear bracelets over my tattoo of a bracelet. Meta.

On May 24, 2011, at 5:49 PM, Josh Peskowitz wrote:
My brain just exploded.

On May 24, 2011 at 6:23 PM, Tyler Thoreson wrote:
Math, science, exploding brains. This is getting good. Now how do those red Kabbalah string things fit into the conversation?

On May 24, 2011 at 6:45 PM, Jared Flint wrote:
Those things just bring added secret powers. I’m gonna be frank, I think we accomplished things here. Bracelets should be found pieces that fall off naturally and should never accompany your watch… unless they should. Next up: turquoise stone rings? Here’s all I’ll say, someone thinks they’re impossibly cool.

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  1. Edwin says:

    No over-braceleting for me, but it works for some people.

    Also woo, Jonathan Evans in the house!

  2. Christian says:

    I used to wear a huge (3 in wide) leather watchstrap back in high school, but even after that travesty I haven’t lost the habit.

    These post-college days, I like to wear a simple wooden bead bracelet (makes me feel a little new-agey). I visited a Hindu temple outside of Chicago a couple of years ago and bought a set of prayer beads, since I’m the kind of guy who would buy something like that. When it broke, I took the beads and strung them into bracelets. I always liked those Philip Crangi railroad spike cuffs too, but I can’t bring myself to them quite yet.

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