Adding a piece of vintage jewelry is a quick and easy way to bring your style to the next level.
The trick is finding pieces that are a little broken-in, not too shiny, and not too precious. That’s the key to pulling-off any jewelry in a way that looks masculine and authentic.
Ideally, some of the goods have passed down to you and have some historical significance to you or your family. Of course, we’re not all that lucky – to have a father or grandfather who collected things like collar pins and pockets watches.
Luckily, there’s an overflowing market for these kinds of things, and with each classic gentlemen that passes the supply continues to outpace the demand.
That leads me to today’s tip: if you want to become an overnight vintage sensation, all you have to do is scour eBay. Your best bet is to search for something like “men’s vintage jewelry LOT“. Here you will find literal piles of vintage cufflinks, tie bars, bracelets, collar pins, shirt studs, bracelets…and whatever else somebody’s stylish granddaddy had stashed away in his drawers. I once bought a 100-piece set that labeled “grandpa’s junk drawer” where I found my favorite tie bar and the pair of cufflinks that I’m wearing as a write this. You may only keep a couple pieces from each lot that you buy, but for the price that you’ll end up paying per item, you really can’t beat this method of jewelry shopping.
To give you an idea of how to wear some of these items from a past era, we tapped our friend Ignacio – who is the real deal and has been collecting jewelry from various designers for several decades – to show us how to create a look that is retro, but also modern and cool.
Rings can be tricky. They are very hit or miss. You want something chunky and tough, but no ghastly. Of all the “lots” I’ve purchased over the years, I’ve never found a ring that I really love. I also have huge farmer fingers, which always creates problems ring fit. Of course, I could always have it melted down and re-sized, but I just haven’t found the right piece that’s worth the trouble…
When it comes to bracelets – and all jewelry, really – keep the proportions in mind. Ignacio has large hands and rough well-lived skin, so large chunky jewelry that is non-precious and a little scuffed-up suits him best. Typically I say leave the dainty stuff to the females, and the diamonds to the gangster rappers.
THE WALLET CHAIN
Back when pick-pocketing was a common issue, guys used to keep their watches, wallets, and other valuables secured to their bodies – tied to their belt loops or through button holes.
Also pictured here – the very rare “elastic sleeve garders”, which were used to hold-up ones shirt sleeves, in a quick and dirty western fashion.
THE WALLET CHAIN
If someone asks you for the time, and you pull out one of these guys – you just became a legend in their minds.
THE COLLAR PIN
The “air collar” has become a cool, modern, minimalistic look…now I see guys taking it to the next level and accessorizing it with an “air collar pin”. Very cool vibe, if you can pull it off.
A fob is a decorative ornament that sits at the end of a chain, the other end of which is typically clipped to a pocket watch, a wallet, or any other valuable item one might carry. The fob is a carry-over from an era when gentleman decorated themselves simply for artistic purposes – although these ornaments often had a family crest, or symbolic emblem that signified membership or status.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Yours in style,