Jewelry doesn’t typically make it to the top of the list of men’s holiday gift guides (save for the occasional watch), but this year isn’t quite like the others. Sure, it makes a lot of sense to gift guys with all of the home improvement items popular in years past—we’re all spending a lot of time at home!—but there’s also a certain something about sentimental treasures that speak to all sexes.
We’ve been collecting charms, pendants, rings, earrings—all manner of jewelry categories with talismans in 2020. We want to hold dear the symbols most precious to us, the things that make us feel safe. This sentiment should not be restricted to a singular gender, and it isn’t.
So, let’s talk about men. Er, men’s jewelry, anyway. Guys in necklaces had so many great moments in 2020 (there was even an Instagram account dedicated to a dude’s chain on a hit show!) that it shouldn’t be seen as “out there” or even particularly fashion-forward for them to contemplate wearing one. Still, what feels like a new interest budding in men’s jewelry might have some retailers looking to adapt their stock.
“Men’s jewelry can be sometimes a very daunting task for jewelry stores,” said Phillip Maroof, vice president of marketing and design for Royal Chain, in a presentation on the brand’s YouTube channel. “Finding the right balance between masculine but modern pieces that are fashion-forward for today’s contemporary man can be really difficult.”
Maroof showed a range of men’s chains from the brand in his episode dedicated to men’s jewelry (watch it here). Cuban links, figaro chains, and rope chains were among the most prevalent styles, in several lengths, gauges, and metals. A new gunmetal finish modernized the styles even more.
I think men’s jewelry used to be a dilemma for jewelry stores, but it’s going to get easier as time goes on and attitudes change. It used to be only the most urban stores would cater to the fashion-forward men. But as gender-fluid fashions become more mainstream, the idea that men may purchase jewelry for themselves—or that their significant others are more likely to purchase something for them that isn’t a watch or a wedding band—won’t be the exception, but rather the rule.
Aside from a watch, a chain is perhaps the simplest entry into the men’s jewelry arena. But to make the items even more personal this year (we all need it), add some charms to your display or suggest them as an add-on (or the heart of) a purchase. In 2020, marketing charms “for the ladies” to collect is old school and not in a cool way. We all want to feel we’re holding something close and that we’re getting that extra dash of luck or protection.
At its core, what you have is a pendant on a chain—not revolutionary for men to wear. But let your customers play, feeling comfortable with the idea of adding one, maybe two more charms for their own curated collection around their necks. The initials of their children, the icon of a favorite sport, their zodiac sign. Like any other shopper, the idea of finding pieces that speak to them and hold meaning applies here. For some retailers, this will feel like old news, but for others, it’s a cannonball into a pool of possibilities. If retailers were to help their male shoppers cultivate a more open relationship with jewelry, imagine the opportunities it would provide for all.
Top: Owl charm in 14k yellow gold with hand-cut green turquoise, $3,125; RetrouvaíFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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