There was a time, not so long ago, when the only acceptable accessory on a powerful man’s wrist was a watch.
My, have times changed. Bracelets — we’re talking beads, leather, sterling silver — are turning up on men’s wrists. And, get ready for this: They’re being stacked.
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
During ancient Egyptian and Roman times, men wore golden cuffs — often one but never more than two — as a way to draw attention to their elite status. By the time we reached the Middle Ages, fashion dictated that men of stature wear long sleeves. (Only peasants exposed their arms.) So no arm candy was needed.
In 1868, Swiss watchmaker Patek Phillipe made the first wristwatch, for Hungarian Countess Koscowitz. Wristwatches remained women-only accessories until the early 20th century, when soldiers started to wear them; it was easier than fumbling with a pocket watch.
By the 1920s, watches were considered the well-heeled man’s most fashionable accessory. Otherwise, however, wrists were naked. In the 1950s, ID bracelets became a fad. And during the 1970s, hippie dudes tied macrame friendship bracelets around their wrists.
Then a peculiar thing happened: In May 2004, Lance Armstrong’s cancer support nonprofit, Livestrong, introduced a banana-yellow wristband as a fundraising vehicle. The stretchy accessory became ubiquitous on men’s and women’s wrists, and occasionally a pop of yellow could be spotted under a dress shirt and cuff links.
Two years ago Steven Izen’s mindful Lokai bracelet — containing beads infused with water from the highest point on earth, Mount Everest, and mud from its lowest point, the Dead Sea — was regularly spotted on male wrists.
With the help of Etsy, thrift shops and some uber-impressed women, bracelets are becoming must-have men’s accessories.
WHO IS WEARING THEM?
Celebrities David Beckham, Kanye West, Puff Daddy.
SHOULD YOU WEAR ONE?
Please, and thank you. Of course, there are a few rules: Always wear it on the watch-free hand. Two bracelets are optimal. Don’t stack more than three.