Haberdashery: Men's Accessories
Haberdashery is a word meaning men's clothing and accessories. It is used in American English for both the items themselves and a store in which they are sold.
In this piece, we're going to give an overview of some of the accessories that fall into this bracket – namely cufflinks, studs, tie pins, money clips, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings and watches.
Quietly but steadily, men's accessories are becoming mainstream – and here we'll explain how each one fits into everyday men's fashion.
Cufflinks are items of jewelry for men, and are used to secure French button cuffs.
Cufflinks can be manufactured from a variety of different materials, include glass, stone, leather, metal, precious metal or different combinations of these. They can be as simple as colored silk knots with rubber bands, or more complex, involving gemstones, inlays, inset material or enamel.
They are designed only for shirt cuffs with buttonholes on both sides but no buttons, and they are normally secured by toggles or reverses which can be folded into position.
(More about cufflinks...)
Shirt studs are decorative fasteners that fit onto buttonholes on the front of a pleated shirt. They can also fit onto the starched bib of a stiff-front shirt.
Studs are generally made of alloys, precious metals and gemstones, all of which are uncommon to regular buttons sewn on shirts. Sometimes studs have an inlay made of pearl or onyx.
They were first used in the western world in the mid-1800s, when some shirt fronts were too stiff to fasten with buttons. Shirt studs are normally reserved for formal occasions, and some semi-formal occasions.
(More about studs...)
Tie pins, also known as stick pins, are neckwear accessories used to secure the folds of a tie's neckband (or cravat).
They first became popular with English gentlemen in the 19th century, when cravats were made of expensive fabrics such as silk, satin and lace which needed to be held in place. Tie pins commonly used pearls and other precious gemstones set in gold or other precious metals, and were often specially designed.
By the 1870s Americans had embraced tie pins, and as such they mass-produced with motifs such as animal heads, wishbones, flowers and horse shoes.
Ordinary safety pins can invisibly secure a tie when inserted from behind the shirt – but tie pins are considered to have come back into fashion over the last few years.
(More about tie fashion...)
Money clips are typically used to store cash and credit cards by those who do not wish to carry a wallet with them.
They are normally made of metals including stainless steel, silver, gold, titanium and platinum, and are in rare cases are made from carbon fibre.
Due to the inflexibility of the metals, money clips cannot normally hold large amounts of cash – but some are made with magnets encased in leather, providing closed and open positions which give them larger capacities.
Men have become significantly more open to wearing accessories over the last few years, and from leather cuffs and wooden beads, to metal ID bands, there is a now a wide range of bracelet options available to them. Colourful friendship bracelets are now almost as appropriate on businessmen as they are on surfers.
Metal bracelets probably represent the most masculine and tastefully rebellious option, mainly because of their military connotations. They've also held a place in men's fashion for quite some time, having been donned by screen idols such as Marlon Brando and James Dean.
But men are also becoming more comfortable with the idea of stacking bracelets, providing colors are balanced. This is most commonly seen with beaded bracelets, which are widely recognised as the most popular style for men. From ethnic-inspired wooden beads to high-end crystal versions, there is a vast range on the market catering to a range of tastes.
Many men now have at least one necklace in their jewelry collection, normally of a neutral color which matches well with most of their clothing.
A leather or hemp rope necklace with a stone pendant gives an earthy look, while platinum or gold chains and pendants carry a more urban look. Dog Tags, normally made of stainless steel or titanium, are still popular.
Men's necklaces are best worn with t-shirts or plain long-sleeved shirts, and are a good way to polish your overall look for a dress-down Friday, important date, or trendy nightclub. Celebrities most influential in popularizing men's necklaces are singer Enrique Iglesias and actor Brad Pitt.
The trend of men getting their ears pierced has finally hit the American mainstream – and most men who choose to do it now opt to have both pierced rather than just one, which was popular in the past.
Larger stones are currently more fashionable than small ones, so while diamond earrings remain popular there are also plenty of tasteful cubic zirconium options on the market.
Gauged earrings, which are normally made of stainless steel, semi-precious stones, bone or glass, are increasing in popular with a range of men, having previously been limited to punk styles. But gauging your ear takes a great deal of patience, using a cylindrical earring to stretch the pierce opening over time.
Rings are also growing in popularity with men, and unless it is a wedding band there are no rules for which fingers can sport rings.
However, middle finger rings are seen to be more tasteful and generally speaking, men who wear rings opt for simplicity. Stones with attractive masculine appeal include onyx, turquoise or lapis lazuli, set into silver.
A watch is still the single most important part of a man's look, when it comes to accessories – but used far beyond telling the time, men seek out designer labels and sometimes even diamond-studded watches.
Styles of watch vary from designer to sporty, and generally a man chooses a watch which reflects his personality and lifestyle. Bigger, bolder faces are currently in fashion, with smaller, delicate faces no longer sought after.
Traditionally, men's dress watches appropriate for informal, semi-formal, and formal attire have been gold, thin, simple, and plain – but increasingly they are becoming more rugged and complicated in design.
While many men still limit their investment in accessories to a watch, the popularity of men's accessories has exploded in recent years and continues to increase.
In upcoming jewelry information pieces we will shed more light on the history, design and trends of each of these individual accessories.