How to Wear Bracelets - The Ultimate Guide for Men & Women [2018]

Why do people wear bracelets?

Since ancient times, humans have used jewelry to decorate themselves, display their wealth, and communicate meaningful symbols. These reasons are, of course, much the same today: you might choose an intricate metal chain because you think it's pretty, or a diamond bracelet to emulate a celebrity. When it comes to symbols, brand logos have generally replaced the stamps of pre-modern artisans. But people still wear bracelets to show what's important to them, through the use of symbolic gemstones, medical id tags, prayer beads, or messages that are literally engraved on the bracelet.

Things to look for when choosing a bracelet 

Step 1: Consider your wrist size

Should you go bold and chunky like these stacked bracelets, or sleek and delicate (like with a micro pave chain from the royal collection). Before we get into matters of taste and style, think about which type of bracelet will look better against the backdrop of your arm, wrist, and hand. When we say the bracelet should match your wrist size, we're not just talking about whether it fits around your wrist. The width of the band, the size of the beads and embellishments, and apparent weight of the bracelet all matter too. You want to choose a bracelet that complements your appearance, which is why it's important to consider your bone structure. That way, you'll know whether to look for one that's wide or narrow, simple or extravagant, and solid or delicate. Then you can use your bracelets to accentuate or camouflage your wrist. For example, a man with small wrists might choose a sleek double wrap leather bracelet. This will complement his features, unlike an enormous wide braided hemp bracelet, which would only overwhelm his frame. Meanwhile, a woman with small wrists might want a bold byzantine or chunky link chain bracelet instead of a narrow single strand leather bracelet because the former will make her wrists look even smaller by comparison.

How to determine your wrist size

Try wrapping your thumb and index finger around the opposite wrist. If you can touch your thumb and forefinger together with extra space, you're small-boned; if they just touch, you're medium-boned; and if they don't quite meet, you're large-boned. Also look for the bones on the outside of your wrists: are they prominent, or barely noticeable? Are your fingers long and slender, short and sausage-like, or somewhere in between? Use your answers to these questions to guide you in choosing your bracelets.

Remember these guiding principles:

  1. To make your wrists look proportional to the rest of your frame, choose a bracelet size that matches your wrist size. E.g. Wide, chunky bracelets for large well-padded wrists, or small, delicate bracelets for narrow bony wrists.
  2. To make your wrists look even smaller or larger, choose a bracelet size that's the opposite of your wrist size. E.g. Large bracelets for small wrists, or small bracelets for large wrists.
  3. To make your wrists look more balanced or closer to the average size, choose a bracelet that neither emphasizes through sameness nor highlights through contrast. E.g. Medium-sized bracelets for all wrist sizes.

So if you're a woman with large wrists and you want them to look smaller...

DO

  • Medium-width bangles in stone, cord, leather, or metal - wear them alone or stack them up, but be aware that more than three might get distracting.
  • Flat woven bracelets - leather, macrame, rope, or shamballa all work.

DON'T

  • Anything bold, chunky, cuff-style, or wide - surely the number one way to make big wrists look bigger.
  • A thin, delicate metal gold chain or silver charm wire, or a narrow open bangle - any one of these worn alone will probably look like a tiny river snaking across the vast tundra of your arm.
  • Large round beaded bracelets like those from the mala beads, prayer beads, or spiritual bracelet collections - these can be ok if the beads are small-to-medium, but the way the large ones stick out might add bulk.

If you're a man with small wrists and you want them to look larger...

DO

  • Double-wrapped leather bracelets - these are the perfect size to camouflage boniness without looking too wide.
  • Medium-sized round beaded bracelets - these are also a great opportunity to pick a stone that symbolizes something important to you.
  • Bracelets with hefty metal charms and closures, like those from the nautical and cork collections - the charms add textural interest without being too bulky.

DON'T

  • Too-wide bracelets, like triple-stranded roman warrior men's bracelets or multi-wrapped leather bracelets.
  • Enormous chains, like chunky gold links or bicycle chain bracelets. If you insist upon chains, mid-sized Cuban links or scale chain bracelets would be better.

    Step 2: Find your bracelet style 

    Women's Bracelets

    Go here to browse a selection of women's bracelets.

    Anklets for women

    Anklets are the perfect summer accessory - cool, breezy, and just a bit different from what every other girl's wearing. Dress up everyday shorts, tank top, and flip-flops combo with a rose gold chain or dangly silver charm-adorned anklet.

    Men's Bracelets

    Go here to browse our selection of men's bracelets. Or keep reading to narrow down your search to a specific collection. 

    Bracelet Collections

    Aromatherapy

    Wish you could soothe stress and look good at the same time? Aromatherapy bracelets are just what you need. Inhale the calming scents of your favorite essential oils from a convenient and beautifully decorated bracelet.

    Beads

    Our natural stone bracelets come in endless varieties: multicolor, wood, lavastone, hematite, agate... Choose a plain one if you're the simple type, or turn your bracelet into a conversation starter with charms shaped like a buddha head, dragon, turtle, or even batman!

    Bohemian

    The bohemian collection includes woven hemp, wrapped leather, and antique silver bracelets for men and women. Semi-precious stones like turquoise and tiger's eye look great with a Southwestern cowboy girl inspired outfit, especially when they're combined with leather or rough-surfaced metals.

    Chain

    If you think chains are boring, think again. Our chain collection includes everything from delicate sterling silver with emoji charms, to the toughest Byzantine links and box chains.

    Cork

    The bracelets in our cork collection are perfect for vegans and environmentally-conscious people since cork is renewable, durable, and flexible. Even if you're a diehard leather-bracelet wearer, you'll be tempted by how stylish these bracelets look...

    Hand-stamped

    Already wearing your heart on your sleeve? Why not wear your beliefs on your wrist with an elegant hand-stamped bracelet. Inspiration will always be close at hand.

    Leather

    These gorgeous leather bracelets can go from edgy to dressy to casual and back again. It all depends on how you style them - and your attitude, of course.

    Macrame

    Our macrame collection features coins, skulls, diamond balls, and all things sparkly. A must for any bracelet collection. Bonus: the rope ties make them easy to adjust for any wrist size.

    Mala beads

    Use these mala beads to keep track of your breaths while meditating. Or just wear them to look cool... We won't tell anyone ;).

    Medical ID

    If you have to wear a medical id bracelet, you may as well get one that looks good. Choose from band options including black silicone, steel chains, and folding links.

    Nautical

    Nautical bracelets are just the thing for summer when the weather's hot and the ocean waves are calling. Even if you're stuck in a cubicle all summer though, you can still add a dose of surfer-cool to your outfit.

    Olympic

    Get in the patriotic spirit with a bracelet from our national pride collection. No need to wait for the Olympics - the gorgeous tri-colored leather strands are subtle enough for wearing year-round.

    Prayer beads

    The beads in our prayer bracelet collection are made of woods like sandalwood, peachwood, and African wenge. These beautiful materials look just as great in the simple one-strand version as they do in an elaborate four-strand wrap style.

    Porcelain

    Porcelain bracelets recall the charm of legendary European cities, but they've been updated with metal, rope, and leather for a modern finish. The best part is you'll probably be the only person around who's wearing one since they don't seem to have caught on in a widespread manner yet.

    Rope

    Some of our rope bracelets have anchor charms, others are adorned with diamond stoppers, but they all have the effortless appeal of seaside style.

    Royal

    The royal collection features all the glittering micro pave jewels we could get our hands on. You may only be royalty on the inside, but everyone will know there's something special about you when you wear one of these bracelets.

    Shamballa

    Shamballa bracelets are inspired by Eastern spirituality. They also happen to look really cool. Go low-key with a black resin or lava stone version, or rock out with pave crystals and skull-shaped beads.

    Skulls

    Medieval and Renaissance painters often included a skull in their work to symbolize that death was never far away. Bring the idea of memento mori into your own life with a bracelet from our (undoubtedly Jack-Sparrow-approved) skulls collection.

    Snap

    Get one snap button bracelet and a set of interchangeable charms, and you can rock a different bracelet look every day of the week.

    Spiritual

    The bracelets in our spiritual collection feature charms shaped like mystical symbols: Om, hamsa hands, and lucky Buddhas mean good thoughts will be ever on your mind.

    Stacks

    Want to add a boho-chic touch to your outfit, but don't want to keep track of tons of different pieces? These bracelets only take a second to put on but give you the look of a world traveler with a treasure trove full of jewelry.

    Tibetan

    The gorgeous Tibetan collection is a one-stop-shop for all your round beaded bracelet needs.

     

    Step 3: Master the art of layering

    Remember, unless you're trying to be matchy-matchy, the goal is to look as though you tossed your bracelets on without a second thought. Easy, breezy, and oh-so-casual is the way to go.

    How to wear bracelets with a watch

    You'll want to make sure your bracelets go with the overall look and feel of your watch. If they're too different, either make the rest of your outfit an equally eclectic mix or prepare for people to be confused. Here are some ideas for bracelets that look good with different types of watches. (Note: the list below includes links to men's bracelets only, but the principles apply to women too.) The standard advice is to wear your watch on your dominant hand (i.e., your right arm if you're right-handed) and your bracelet(s) on the other hand. But if you feel like layering the bracelets and watch on one arm while letting the other go bare, go for it. However, in a conservative or corporate setting, one bracelet on your non-dominant arm, plus your standard watch on the other arm, might be all you need to make a statement. Choose a mixed-media piece for minimum bulk, maximum impact. But whatever you do, never put spiky metal or gemstone bracelets next to a metal watch band. You wouldn't want it to get scratched. Soft leather, spongy cork, or smooth round beads are a safer choice. Most of all: enjoy your bracelets!