Wearing Bracelets with Watches - Style Guide & Tips

Wearing Bracelets with Watches - Style Guide & Tips

Bracelets and watches are basically two different wrist accessories that work as stylish pieces of jewelry on your wrist. They are also - to a great extent, the only two pieces of jewelry that you see men wear. One is of course much more functional than the other.

Many men wear both bracelets and a watch at the same time with their outfit and this combination can look really good. At the same time, done incorrectly, a bracelet and watch combo can also look rather strange.

Combining bracelets with your watch is an art that requires careful thought and planning in order to look stylish and sleek. Just like with any of your outfits, there are some rules and guidelines that you should follow when combining them.

And this is exactly what we’ll look closer at in this article.

Men have worn bracelets for a long time, and they have been worn in many different shapes and forms. However, the wristwatch has always been the go-to accessory for many men. 

If you want to combine bracelets and your wristwatch, you can absolutely do so. Whilst the watch mainly tends to be the center of attention, bracelets work as a subtle enhancer and touch to your outfit and make it look even sharper. Bracelets can also be - together with the watch - a way of expressing your personality and style.

Wearing bracelets with your watch - what to think about

There are some ground rules we need to set straight before we go into the details. This is to ensure that you’re not making any awkward styling mistakes that will end up hurting your look rather than helping it.

  • Don’t overdo it with too many bracelets
  • Don’t include too many colors - be mindful about colors and metals
  • Don’t wear too large bracelets

Don’t overdo it with too many bracelets

This is one of the most important points in pairing bracelets with your watch. In most cases, your watch will be the highlight of your outfit. As such you don’t want to overdo it by stacking your whole wrist, which ultimately ends up stealing the show. 

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is that they believe that the more the better. It’s actually quite the opposite - keep it minimalistic.

As a general guideline, you should stick to a maximum of 3 bracelets and aim for 1 to 2. Stacking too many bracelets on the wrist will make it look cluttered and also make it look like you are trying too hard. You want your bracelet combination to look effortless.

If you’re going to stack multiple bracelets, keep these tips in mind:

  • Don’t stack multiple identical bracelets
  • Keep a common theme and style on the bracelets
  • Avoid bracelets in many different colors
  • Try to stick to only a few materials, like metal and leather or nylon and metal.

Bracelets on the same wrist as your watch?

Most men wear bracelets on the opposite wrist as the watch. And this is also what is recommended. Whilst wearing a bracelet on the same wrist as your watch, it is very important that you are not doing it. In general, you shouldn’t wear more than one wrist because it can otherwise risk cluttering the wrist and stealing the show from your watch. In addition, that leaves your other wrist naked and bare. The purpose of the bracelets is to balance your wrists and make your outfit look well-thought-out.

So the bottom line is, you should primarily wear bracelets on the opposite wrist of your watch - which in most cases is the right wrist. You can wear bracelets on the same wrist as your watch, but in that case, you want it to be very discreet, and work as a compliment, not the center of attention. The bracelet needs to be small, slim, and discreet. Not big, clumsy, and bold.

If executed correctly, a bracelet on the same wrist as your watch can look really good. If you do decide to stack bracelets and your watch, the bracelet is normally best placed below your watch near the hand. If you place the bracelet on the other side of the watch, it ends up too far on the wrist and just sits awkwardly. However, if you feel like you can pull it off, you are always free to wear your bracelets just how you want and prefer.

There’s a fine line between a cluttered wrist and a nicely styled one when it comes to bracelets on the wrist. Unless you have a great sense of style and know what works well and what doesn’t, our best advice is to opt for one bracelet, or a maximum of two if they are small, and in a discreet color.

Also, stacking bracelets on the same wrist as your watch isn’t always appropriate for all occasions. On formal occasions, a stacked wrist may just look ”wrong” for the occasion.

Why not to wear bracelets on the same wrist as the watch?

There are actually a number of reasons why it may not always be a good idea to wear bracelets on the same wrist as their watch.

The primary reasons are:

  • It can scratch the watch - if you are wearing metal bracelets or bracelets with gemstones, it can work as abrasive and scratch the watch considerably over time.
  • It becomes ”too much” - if stacked incorrectly, and worn on the wrong occasions, a combination of bracelets and watch on the same wrist can look overwhelming and cluttered. In other words, it’s not always appropriate for all occasions.
  • It removes focus from the watch - if you wear bracelets on the same wrist as your watch, it can steal some attention from your watch. If you want your watch to be the highlight, you shouldn’t wear bracelets on the same wrist. However, that doesn’t keep you from wearing bracelets on your other wrists.
  • It is uncomfortable - stacking wrists together with a watch can fill your wrist to the point where it becomes uncomfortable.

Think about the size and proportions of the bracelet

A big no-no for men’s bracelets is wearing ones that are too big. Wearing bracelets that are too big will only look awkward and misplaced. It will also steal the show from your watch.

I’m sure you have seen large bead bracelets or big bangle bracelets. You should stay away from these bracelets at all costs as they will only give the impression that you don’t know what you are doing.

The best way to succeed with styling your wrist with bracelets is to think about minimalism. When it comes to bracelets, less is definitely more. And one of these factors is not only how many bracelets you decide to stack but also the size and proportions of the bracelets. As mentioned, you should stay away from bracelets that are too big. It generally looks better to wear 3 small bracelets on one wrist than one huge. But you can also get a really nice wrist look by combining, for example, one small bracelet with a slightly larger one. It’s all about finding the perfect proportions and sizes that work the best with your outfit and with your watch.

The size and proportions also depend on your overall style and outfit, including your watch. For example, if you’re wearing a formal outfit with a dress watch, you want to pair it with a selection of bracelets that align with this outfit. In this case, it may be suitable with one or two classic, elegant gold bracelets.

On the contrary, if you are rocking a casual outfit with jeans, you can opt for a more casual bracelet style with multiple bracelets in bolder colors and in sportier proportions.

To some extent, the size of your bracelet also depends on your wrist size. Meaning - if you have large wrists, you can wear larger bracelets, and if you have smaller wrists, you can wear smaller bracelets. But when we talk about ”small” or ”large” bracelets above, we talk about size in relation to your wrist size.

Furthermore, it is not only about the size, but also the fit. How your watch sits on your wrist affects how it looks, just like how your clothes fit on your body affects how your overall outfit looks.

With this said, you want to make sure that your bracelets sit comfortably and perfectly on your wrist - just like your watch. Meaning, not too tight that it squeezes your wrist, but also not too loose that the bracelets slide around uncontrolled. A rule of thumb is that you should be able to slide 1 or 2 fingers under the bracelet and your wrist. You can think of your bracelets just like you think of your watch and follow the same guidelines.

Purpose and occasion

The purpose, occasion, and thus your outfit are always important considerations for when you are choosing bracelets and how to pair them with your watch.

Here, the rules and guidelines that apply when choosing a watch also apply when choosing bracelets.

For formal occasions:

  • Keep the bracelets discreet, simple, and elegant
  • Use classic colors, such as black, brown, or metals
  • Subtly match the bracelet colors with colors of your watch, such as pairing yellow gold bracelets with a yellow gold watch
  • Keep the bracelets small or medium-sized - stay away from big and clumsy bracelets
  • Don’t overdo it with the number of bracelets you use

For casual occasions

  • Here, it more depends on your personality and style.
  • Try to match the color of your bracelet with an accent or detail in your outfit (shoes, watch, etc).
  • Choose the bracelet size that suits your outfit, but do not ever wear too large bracelets
  • For casual occasions, you have a greater opportunity of stacking multiple bracelets for a casual, stylish look

Don’t include too many colors - be mindful about colors and metals

When pairing bracelets with your watch, it’s important to not only think about the size of your bracelet but also the colors. After all, the colors can have a huge impact on how your bracelet setup affects your look.

One of the key elements of a nice look is to create unity and a consistent theme. If your bracelets don’t go with that common theme, it will create a disconnect and negatively affect your outfit.

For example, if you’re rocking a formal outfit, you can match the colors of your bracelets with the color of your watch. Matching the metals of the bracelet and the watch is a nice and simple way to mix and match. Furthermore, you can also match, for example, a brown leather bracelet with the brown leather strap of your watch.

The bottom line is to pair your bracelet and your outfit subtly and discreetly. Going all in, for example by wearing an all-yellow bracelet just because you wear a yellow shirt does not always work.

The bottom line, in most cases, you should stick to one main color and perhaps one or two subtle colors. And if it’s a metal bracelet, one metal works best. Try to match things like a belt, tie clip, watch, bracelets, shoes, and pocket square. 

Choose the bracelet type

Last but not least, you want to choose the bracelet type. We have already discussed several bracelet types and what to think about when matching them with your watch. There are a lot of different types of bracelets for all occasions and purposes.

The most common are:

  • Bead bracelets
  • Nylon/macrame bracelets
  • Leather bracelets
  • Metal bracelets/bangles

Remember that the type of bracelet also reflects the style and purpose. For example, a bead bracelet is more on the casual side whereas a metal bangle is more exclusive, elegant, and thus suitable for formal occasions.

The bottom line, think about the purpose, your overall outfit, and the occasion. Do you want to add a casual touch or add some formality? These are the same questions you should ask when selecting your watch as well!

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