A version of this story first appeared in Gear Patrol Magazine. Subscribe today
Accessories are admittedly extra. You could get by without a single ring, bracelet, necklace, hat or horological instrument (aka a watch). But where's the fun in that? These extras are where your personality can really shine through if you can't wear graphics and patterned shorts to work or on errand runs. Let a necklace make strangers wonder whether it's brand-new or an heirloom; let a ring send mixed signals (which finger you wear your rings doesn't really matter much anymore, aside from showing you're wed); let your fragrance linger (in a good way) in an elevator after you leave — make it one potent enough they can smell it through their mask.
I know, a scent isn't technically an accessory. But for the sake of this guide, it is. Accept it. Although it may be something some people turn to daily as a part of their morning routine, I'd argue most men don't need it every single day. Spritz it on for special occasions or important meetings. Make an impression; make it fun! That's what all of this is about.
The best solution for bedhead? A hat. But not just any hat — toss your tousled locks into the deep recesses of a bucket hat. They aren’t bottomless, but they’ll do for days when your hair feels truly untameable. Also, the bucket hat is one hell of a statement piece (albeit one oft considered best left in the past), so be bold. Buy one with interesting texture, an engaging pattern or stunning simplicity.
You don’t need the thick leather belt you think you do. Sure, they’re a statement slipped through your trouser’s loops, capable of keeping both a tucked-in shirt in place and your pants up, but other belts can do that, too, with half the weight and for less than half the price. Pick up a woven belt instead. Whether it’s made from leather or canvas doesn’t quite matter, but remember this: the softer the material, the more casual it'll seem.
Invest in a piece of jewelry you’ll wear religiously — through meetings and mundane errands, fancy dinners and Friday-night concerts. You’ll feel less like you’re cosplaying as someone cool this way. Plus, the more a part of you your accessories become, the less likely you are to be shaken by someone staring at your rings, sneaking a glance at your necklace or double-taking at your dangly earring.
Brands play a disproportionate role in which items we ultimately decide to buy. A word of advice as regards fragrance? Ignore brands and find base notes — which are easier to forge an alliance with — that work for you year-round (or at least seasonally). Sure, some scents scream summer, like Vacation’s eau de toilette (which smells like sunscreen), but rarely should you wear something so overt. Fragrances should unfurl, not swing with a clenched fist.
Diehard watch lovers would croak at the thought of condensing their collections down to just two or three models. But, we're here to tell you that's all you really need: one for everyday activities, another for dressier affairs and, lastly, an affordable option you won't worry about damaging (because you will — it happens).
Ray-Bans are the bare minimum — C+ if we’re giving out grades. You can do better. Seek out eyewear with eclectic influences such as art or architecture. The sameness of standard sunglasses may lend themselves to a longer list of faces, but they don’t fuel personal style.