A lot of men know how to dress well. But only a few know how to accessorize their outfits properly.
The good news is that accessorizing is easy. The key is to match accessories to your clothing, not the other way around.
After all, these little elements are meant to enhance your ensemble and, therefore, should not grab the focus away from your clothes.
Check out these ten essential rules for matching men’s accessories to ensure you slay the look each time.
Choose Colors Carefully
The first step to creating a stylish look is to ensure that the colors in your outfit match.
Okay, you don’t need to be an expert in color theory, but it pays to know how to use the color wheel.
There are a ton of color combinations you’d find on the color wheel, but the following are the most popular in fashion:
Going monochromatic is one of the easiest and quickest ways to pull off a stylish look. Monochromatic colors are those derived from a single hue.
For example, you can pair a light grey shirt with charcoal grey shorts and accessorize with a grey or black watch. Or, you can wear a blue shirt, navy shorts, and blue sneakers.
Analogous colors are three adjacent hues in the wheel. Hence, they create minimal contrast. As a result, a matching outfit is a great way to experiment with colors while creating a refined look.
To achieve a stylish look using this color scheme, you can stick to two colors for your base outfit and reserve the third color for your accessories.
Triadic colors are equidistant from each other on the color wheel, such as red, yellow, and blue. Since these colors are highly contrasting, they're best worn for casual or more relaxed occasions.
To create a subdued look, incorporate neutrals in your outfit. Also, you don't have to use all three colors in your outfit. For example, wear a white shirt underneath a navy jacket and red shorts.
Complementary colors are bold and contrasting as they are directly opposite on the color wheel. Examples are yellow and violet, red and green, or blue and orange. That said, you want to go easy on your accessories.
It's best to use subtle accessories in neutral colors for this color scheme since it's already rich and fun.
Match the Metals
Metals are shiny and attention-grabbing, so you want to go easy on them. Cufflinks, necklaces, bracelets, and rings should complement the overall style of your outfit.
This means that if you’re wearing silver, have the rest of your metals in the same color to achieve an elegant and more refined look.
A man’s outfit is incomplete without a watch. This important piece elevates your look and style. Follow these guidelines when matching your watch to your outfit:
Consider the occasion
The watch you choose to wear should match the formality of your outfit. Analog watches are classic and perfect for formal events, even a date.
For business, go with a simple and classic style, such as a high-end Chrono or a pilot watch. For casual occasions, you’re good with a digital watch.
Metals should match, too
The metal case of your watch should complement the metal accents of your other accessories. So, if you're wearing a belt with a gold buckle, you can wear a watch with a gold case or your engagement ring (rose gold will do as well).
When it comes to adding sophistication and class to your outfit, nothing does it better than cufflinks.
At the same time, no accessory confuses men as a cufflink does.
Well, not until you master the following rules:
Reserve it for formal occasions
Remember that cufflinks are a formalwear accessory. Traditionally, it's worn with formal evening wear.
However, they can also be used for business settings. Like buttons, cufflinks come in numerous styles, shapes, and sizes. They can be made with different materials too.
Go matchy-matchy with metals.
In general, you want the color of your cufflinks to match the metals in other items in your outfit, such as your belt, jewelry, or even the strap buckles of your suitcase.
Contrast is key
When choosing a cufflink, you want to create contrast but still keep your ensemble balanced. For example, if you're wearing a solid white shirt, consider a gold cufflink, so it's more contrasting and bolder.
Tie Clips and Bars
While the color of your tie is worth considering, there are no hard and fast rules when choosing a tie bar to pair it with.
Pay attention to the placement
Where you place your tie bar can make or break your look. Ideally, you want to clip it at the level of your shirt's third or fourth button. However, if you're wearing a suit, it should be seen even if your suit jacket is buttoned up.
Play it safe with classic colors
The best color choices for tie bars or clips are gray, silver, and gold. Try to match the metal polish of your tie bar with your cufflinks, watch, belt buckle, or jacket buttons.
If you think it compliments your style, opt for less common metals. You can also wear a novelty tie bar with different patterns or colors.
Match the Leathers
Leather is a classic and sophisticated material choice. You must build a solid base for your look to get your leathers right. Everything else can be as contrasting as you want it to be.
No, no – you can’t use an old, torn canvas wallet. A grown man needs a quality leather men’s wallet.
Leather wallets are classic, elegant accessories. They are your best bed for special occasions. Choose a color that matches or complements your other accessories, particularly your shoes and belt.
If you’re wearing a brown belt, go for a brown wallet. They don’t have to be precisely in the same shade. As long as they are in the same color spectrum, you’re good.
Leather bags work best for office and business travels. The color of your leather bag should also match the rest of your accessories.
If you’re wearing a brown leather messenger bag, you should wear brown shoes and a brown belt. But, again, you can choose different tones for each piece.
The style of your bag matters too. For example, a leather briefcase is a good option if you're off to a business meeting or a conference.
Today's briefcases are more minor, softer, and lighter. They also come with extra pockets to keep everything organized. In addition, wearing a briefcase conveys that you mean “business.”
Leather Watch Strap
The material and color of your shoes are also a good reference when choosing a watchband. For example, a pair of black leather kicks will complete your outfit if you're sporting a black leather watchband.
You can wear a black leather bracelet if you want something fun and casual. It's best paired with simple, casual outfits like jeans and a shirt.
For formal occasions, you can wear colored leather, with brown as the safest choice. Turk's head style of leather cuffs is classic and looks great with blazers and boat shoes.
Experiment with Patterns
Patterns are a great way to enhance your look and make a statement. When matching complex patterns, wear an accessory with multiple colors and make everything else in your ensemble match at least one of those colors.
As such, if you choose a floral necktie with navy and pink in there, you can opt for a blue jacket or a pink pocket square.
Bright colors and animal prints can be challenging to work into your wardrobe. Keep the rest of your ensemble clean and simple, iSo if you're wearing one (such as a colorful tie or a funky belt). We want to strive for balance, remember?
Consider adding one or two vibrant and fun accessories, such as shoes or belts, to your wardrobe. However, stick to one pop of color when pulling off an outfit.
Mind the Weather
Your comfort is essential. So don't wear a scarf or a beanie in hot weather, even if it beautifully matches your outfit. Similarly, skip the sunglasses when it’s gloomy and raining outside.
Match Your Sunglasses to the Formality of Your Outfit
If trying to create a professional look, your sunglasses should steer towards classic styles, such as wayfarer or rectangle shapes.
If you're attending a beach party and you're most likely wearing a breezy shirt or soft denim, go with shades that match your style, like those with wireframes and mirrored lenses.
Use Accessories To Transform Your Look
It makes sense to have a few go-to accessories in mind for those moments when you're in a hurry to think about what to wear.
If you feel overwhelmed with accessory options, choose a signature piece. It can be your watch, a hat, or a tie.
Whatever that is, it should make you feel great and comfortable. But, more importantly, you should be able to wear it with multiple outfits.
When you're ready to add more accessories, choose a piece that will dominate your look in size, style, and color. Then add more subtle elements to complete your outfit.
Confidence is Your Biggest Accessory
The most important rule is to dress and carry your accessories with confidence. The right accessories choices will undoubtedly help you pull off a fantastic look.
Nevertheless, don't be afraid to shy away from these rules to create your style.
What matters most is that you're happy, comfortable, and confident with your appearance.
Mariam Simmons is a former fashion trendsetter and Content Manager at Alpine Swiss. She loves traveling to the world’s top stylish destinations and gets inspired to create helpful business fashion and lifestyle guides.