You’ve put on your best suit and a brand new Jerry Garcia necktie, but far too many gentlemen stop there without accessorizing. Your night-on-the-town wardrobe isn’t complete yet until you’ve added a couple more items. Of course, you don’t want to add too many (unless you are 2 Chainz, then don’t hold back on the gold bling!). But a few strategic accessories will make your look complete and more personalized. You don’t, after all, want to be just another suit. Here are a few tips from The Vivant and our favorite stylists to make that look complete.
Fashion designer Natasha at Jade Blue says, “Decorate your wrists, because naked wrists are boring!” I agree. It seems younger men don’t wear watches any more, but they’re missing out. Sure, you don’t need it to tell the time any more, since all you need to do is ask Siri. But there’s nothing quite like a fashionable Swiss timepiece with an elegant band.
Traveling around the world in big cities in Europe and Asia, and even in a few big cities in the U.S. like New York or L.A., I’ve found that men are more willing to accessorize with a city bag or an attractive backpack – and after a few hours on the town, you’ll quickly see how practical this is. If you go with a backpack, you’ll need to do so with a little caution, lest you look like, well, a backpacker. If you go cheap, you’ll end up looking like you’re in junior high. Look for high-quality materials and a fashionable, understated and not-too-flashy design. Justin Kwong at ISM says “I think that having a stylish backpack is a must-have. A backpack is one of those everyday accessories that can really enhance one’s look.” ISM’s bags aren’t just ordinary backpacks, and they’ve been featured in CoolHunting, GQ, and HeyGents.
If you’d rather carry a city bag, there are plenty of options as well. There is of course, endless debate on what to call it. When it comes down to it, it’s really just a purse for men, but no, we’re not going to call it that. Amsterdam Heritage, a Miami based premium leather accessories company, offers an attractive “messenger bag” (sure, we’ll call it that!) designed in the Netherlands, which has that wonderful rugged look, has enough space and pockets to carry all of your daytime paraphernalia, and includes a padded laptop compartment.
Joseph Rosenfeld, a personal style advisor who specializes in the tech world in Silicon Valley and New York, and whose clients work at companies like Apple, Intuit, and Google, says “Accessorizing offers a guy special ways to make his look distinctive from others. He advises that “If you’re not too well-versed on accessorizing, start with just one thing that you know you’d wear a lot. For a lot of guys, that could be a watch. If you can wear it daily, it’s a worthwhile investment and becomes a personal style signature. If you think you could be into something like beaded bracelets, which are popular now, do a little research about the significance of the various beads before you buy any. If the beads mean something to you, you’ll be apt to wear them a lot, and they, too, become a signature element of your style.”
Joseph tells me that accessories really reflect each man’s personality, for example, wearing a sports watch says that you’re into physical activity and the outdoors, if you wear a more high-quality timepiece, it says you’re willing to invest in timeless quality. That doesn’t mean you have to go for the ten-thousand-dollar Rolex with all of the complications, though. Joseph says, “A designer watch of the highest quality and devoid of too many details appeals to the elegant dresser who doesn’t want to make a big deal about what he’s wearing. He just gets the best stuff for his own enjoyment.”
Dan Blacharski is editor-in-chief of TheVivant.com.