Formal events are the best places for experimentation. It is true, at least in this part of the world, when it comes to men and formal wear, the only forms of jewellery men are seen wearing is a ring or watch, and maybe cufflinks once in a while. But that does not mean you cannot turn the charm on with adornments that make women turn their heads, for there is nothing more attractive than the deadly combination of a man in formals, with all the right accessories, and a killer sense of humour. **Cue 90s dance song by No Mercy- “Where do you go”**
It is often tricky when it comes to accessorising for men. For one, there's a very limited number of accessories, and how they can be worn. In most cases, men choose to stick to the simpler kinds and not overdo it.
For the sake of this testosterone charged issue, we will stick to the terms of “men's adornments” or “accessories” and not jewellery. Time to turn on that dapper, suave swag that you are unsure of. So, dig deep, you know we got this!
Known more commonly as brooches, the macho version is termed as a lapel pin.
It is a nice way to jazz up a formal attire, especially if you want to turn on that casual glam. You know, the whole “I woke up like this” or “I just threw these things on” kind of vibe. Don't overdo it though! Wear a pin too large, and you might end up looking like a clown that cleaned up his look, but forgot to take those pins that might squirt water in someone's eye if they get too close. Too small, and it won't make your outfit and will go completely unnoticed.
Remember, the pin is there to make a fashion statement, not bring unwanted attention. It is best to have a few at hand of different kinds, from a quirky metallic, to jewel studded ones.
The lapel pin goes on the left lapel side of your suit. In case you are still questioning what a lapel is, it is the triangular fold that starts from where the collar of the suit's coat ends (no judgement here). If you plan on wearing a tie or pocket square or both, it is crucial that the lapel pin complements the rest of the look, in terms of the colour tone. When opting for ones with semi-precious stones, it is crucial to keep your suit as simple as possible; a nice chic formal black suit with a white shirt, and for added flair, an emerald and diamond studded lapel pin. And if anyone ever asks about it, always say it is a family heirloom to get the conversation rolling.
A man that can pull off a bow tie without risking looking like a complete awkward mess or mistaken for a server, is in a league of his own. Let's be honest, when worn right, the first words that comes to the mind is dapper and debonair. The general rule of thumb with bow ties is to keep the shirt simple with a bold one, and vice versa. Never shy away from sparkle with bow ties. Get your hands on the clip-on ones, and instead of wearing it on the shirt, pin it to your breast pocket as a pin. Play up your look with quirky and whimsical ones, but remember, we still want to channel that chic, suave sophisticated vibe. So, try out patterned, or bow ties made of completely different materials with a hint of bling to make the right impression.
Now this accessory screams formal. For those who have never heard of it, it is a simple clip mechanism that keeps the collar in place. There are many variations of it, known also as a collar bar (bar with screw ends), and collar pin (looks like a traditional safety pin). Regardless of which one you choose to wear, keep in mind that it is always worn with a tie, and in modern times, is considered to be a part of formal attire. It is necessary to not only wear a long-sleeved dress shirt, but one with a collar that is not too wide, so the pin can pinch in between and keep the collar in place. Make sure to do a slim tie knot on the tie, because with a collar clip, the opening becomes smaller. If the knot is big, it just looks awkward and protruding. Make sure to match the colour of the clip to other accessories you wear. Skip a tie bar or pin if you plan on wearing one, and instead, go for a simple single coloured pocket square instead.
These accessories have been making a comeback, and why wouldn't they? Tie accessories play an integral role in the classic men's style. The function of a tie clip is to secure both ends of the tie to the placket of the shirt, restraining it from moving around. They come in two styles: pinch clasp and slide clasp. While one provides a better grasp on a tie with thicker fabrics, the other is worn for thinner ties, respectively. A tie clip's placement is crucial, and can make or break your whole outfit. Place it too high, and it gives an overall sappy look, and too low, you will end up giving of shabby vibes. It should be placed in between the third and fourth button of your shirt, and always perpendicular to the tie. Button below the tie clip for a smooth finish. The width of the tie clip is also important, and should not be more than three quarters the width of the tie itself. For a more retro feel, go for a tie bar of the same width as the tie. Tie bar and clips should preferably match the colour of the buttons of the suit itself, but there is no hard and fast rule on it. Gold and silver are safe bets, or opt for a more jewel encrusted one for a regal look.
The humble pocket square has always been a nice handkerchief, folded to perfection to complement your tie and shirt. Many don't even know that it dates back to Shakespearean times- it played an important role in the plot of Othello. For the longest of times, we have seen pocket squares to be worn with matching ties, but come on, this is 2019, and that just doesn't work anymore, and is too boring and safe.
The function of the pocket square is to attract the eye in terms of colour or pattern. While solid coloured ones are a staple, also stock up on patterned ones such as polka dots, paisley, and check, preferably in rich jewel tones. If you want to really make a statement, go for something completely different and try out one made of metal.
As simple as they are to wear, often times, they are saved for extremely special formal occasions. Cufflinks are crucial as part of the entire look, and also dependent on the kind of suit worn. A classic silver pair with added details is always the safe route to go. However, if you want something a little different, go for a mother of pearl or jewelled pair that works best with white-tie outfits for ultimate sartorial greatness.
Now this piece of accessory can be a little tricky to pull off. Simply put bro, if you are going to wear something around your arm, make sure you do an extra few sets of bicep curls. Although this certain item is a very traditional, and is often associated with ancient vibes, it is also a very fun way to play with fusion. Keep your outfit plain, a simple sleeveless monotone collared dress top, and a metallic armlet. Add a splash of glamour by showing up to your friend's sangeet in one made of a nice silk fabric with a satin finish and a sly side smirk to have all of the ladies swooning over you.
The trick with men's adornments, in general, is to never over layer or do too many things to one look. After all, we're trying to pull off that effortless chic, man-with-substance look like Idris Elba. So, keep it simple, not chunky, and be a beau, not Jack Sparrow!
Photo: Shahrear Kabir Heemel
Model: Maruf, Azim, Daud
Wardrobe: Niharika Momtaz
Styling: Sonia Yeasmin Isha
Location: InterContinental Dhaka