When men hear the word ‘accessory’ as it relates to style, many run for the hills. The term is overwrought with connotations of dandyism, purses, and wrist bangles. Don’t fear the accessory, however, it’s what finalizes your style. Any asshole can put on an expensive suit. It’s real style to pull together a look -- a feeling -- of completeness.
For ages most men have assumed the only acceptable accessories are watches, and more recently rings, tie bars, and pocket squares have seen a resurgence. It’s true, all of these are great additions when done right. But there are others, mostly overlooked by your everyday guy, that will embody your personality when given the same attention as, say, which tie to wear.
1. The Pen
I’ve recently found an appreciation for writing instruments beyond those that come in a 20 pack. There are limitless options, in all ranges of price and quality.
A man’s pen is important. It creates the words, endorses the checks, and signs the love letters of his mind. A soldier has a rifle, a tailor a needle, a gentleman a pen.
You can start simply by picking up a $20 Cross ball-point at Target, or go straight to a refillable fountain pen.
2. The Wallet Many men devalue their wallet to utilitarian -- something built to hold cards and cash -- which is interesting, considering how much importance of having a lot of big bills or opting for the check with a card is in our society. Why blow it with a busted up leather pocket from high school, or Costanza’s 3 inch monster?
It’s possible to have utility and style, without compromising either. Check out the Hide & Seek wallet by Bellroy, which offers beautiful accent stitching, ornament, and contrasting inside and liner. The Hide & Seek offers the traditional form of most wallets, but includes extra attention no one can miss.
Another option is to forgo the wallet altogether and opt for a money clip. Stay with something traditional, versus the steel, as seen on TV versions and you can’t go wrong. Check out this leather clip by Union Made Goods. It’s simple but has lots of character.
3. The Key chain Along the same lines of utility, if not more so, the key chain is rarely given a second thought. From giant carabiners to relics from tourist traps, nothing can kill your style faster than when you hand your keys to the valet with a plastic Honolulu sunset dangling from them.
Check out this key fob from Makr Carry Goods.
More than any other item on this list, your business card needs to represent you. It is your paper alter ego. Once the hands have been shook, all that is left of you is your first impression and the business card you handed out. Make sure that future client, employer or beautiful woman from the bar doesn’t change their mind about you when they pull out your flimsy card with clip-art on it.
Go for something thick and simple. For inspiration, check out the famous scene from American Psycho.
5. The Shoe Laces Shoe laces? “Seem pretty straight forward,” you say. It’s true, you don’t want to do anything crazy, but I was recently inspired by the power of swapping shoe laces when I saw these classic summer shoeswith much more style:
Nothing more than a pair of Vans Authentics, but ditching the white athletic laces for some classic leather laces really brings these shoes into all new territory. I would have no problem wearing these sockless to a semi-casual summer function instead of boat shoes or loafers.
Do you have a favorite accessory not listed here? I’d love to hear it! Keep the discussion going in the comments.
Andrew Snavely is the editor and founder of Primer Magazine, an online style and self-improvement magazine geared towards post-college guys looking to get their feet on the ground and become better men.