Love & Sex

Tools of Attraction: Men With Jewelry

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Four New York men on their bling, baubles, and swag.

Brandon, 25

How would you describe your style?
Right now, Johnny Depp in Cry Baby.

Does your necklace actually say "Cry Baby" on it?
No. But that would be good. It's just random lettering and numbers.

Who made it?
It's vintage. I think it's Moschino, though.

Do you often wear jewelry?
Every day! I always wear rings and bracelets.

And is there one piece of jewelry that you feel naked without?
My watch. Not a particular watch, but I always have to wear a watch.

Do you have a special name for your "bling?" Like "bling?"

Is the currently a trend in fashion that you detest?
Anything cheap. Too much blingy-ness. Some excess is good, clearly.

Typically, at least in Western societies, jewelry is associated with femininity. Any thoughts on that? Is your approach to wearing jewelry an attempt to mess with that norm?
No, but I agree with that. And I think a lot of jewelry geared towards men is too large and industrial-looking and can look so awkward — I don't like it very much. I just feel like it's so necessary in an outfit to have accessories, and jewelry is a great accessory to throw on.

Irvin, 22

Do you feel like a piece of clothing or jewelry can be lucky?
Yeah, I have some beads that I bought last year for my birthday. They're called buddy seeds. There's a guy at Noho Market, and he makes those necklaces, and each bead represents something. And the beads that I got were like a prayer, a "wake up in the morning" kind of prayer that gives you good luck throughout the day and keeps you strong.

So how would you describe your style?
It's kind of corny, but I would say maybe "new-age medieval." I like just thick sweaters, but also rusty jewelry. Not too much glamor, not too much shine, more of a matte look. I just mix a lot of different fabrics, and I feel more comfortable with a rustier look.

Is there a look out right now that you don't get?
Spandex. A lot of people are wearing spandex, girls and guys. It's cool — it looks good on some people — but some people just do it too much. It's still a fashionable thing — something you can dress up or dress down. Wear casual, wear it to work, go out after work. But it's just weird. I even see people wearing it in the summertime, or in below-zero weather.

Do you think people react to you weirdly or differently because of your style? Have you gotten any weird looks?
I dress crazy sometimes. I'll walk down the street and people will look at me and nod their head, like "Okay, that's cool." But then people will be clearly be thinking, "That's weird" or "What are you wearing? It's too much," or whatever. As someone famous once said, when people come into an elevator, they look at you and they either want to get closer to you because of your style, or move away. But you still hope for the reactions. I like when a person moves away, and I like when a person moves closer.

So what's the craziest thing you've worn?
I did a kind of Western look one time. I have this belt that's kind of like a Batman belt, with the compartments, but it's all leather. I wore that with a scarf around my face. I had dreads, so my dreads were out. I had the vest, the button-up, the bow tie, the scarf, the hat, all black. So I think that's the craziest. I don't know, it was pretty Western, but then pretty rock at the same time. A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.

So can you explain the necklace piece?
This is the endless knot. It's a symbol for good luck in relationships. It symbolizes all the bad, all the good, but it never ends. You go through the bad and you get over it, and you go through the good and you enjoy it. And you just keep going. And like I said before, I'm kind of edgy, so the fact that it's also dagger, it makes people wonder, "Where did you get this?" or "Why do you have this?"

Jonathan, 21

Tell me a little bit about your necklace.
Well, I do a bit of modeling. This is actually an Armani chain. I have an agent — I do a ton of gigs with a couple of people. I do Rocksmith, I do Armani. Photo shoots, things like that.

So you picked it up from a shoot?
Yeah, he actually gave it to me. I got a whole bunch of clothes.

How's the male-model life? Is it everything I've dreamed?
It's all right. It can get hectic. I've been to Atlanta, I've been to California — it's a lot of travel.

Why do you think male jewelry is becoming more prevalent?
I think it brings out your — you might say swag. You don't look so plain.

How would you describe your style?
I wouldn't even know — I like doing my own thing. I actually like Scott Disick, Kourtney Kardashian's husband. I look up to him a lot. I like to dress in suits. Like a young urban professional.

Do you think a lot of ladies are attracted to you because of your style?
I think it helps me a lot. I get "handsome" a lot. I mean, I'm only twenty-one years old and I wear suits. Not a lot of people have heard of that. I just like to be different from everybody else.

What do you like on ladies? What do you think is the sexiest thing a girl could wear?
I would say high boots and a nice dress.

Do you only date female models?
No, I have a girlfriend and she's not a model at all. She's a make-up artist. We met on a shoot. She approached me. We just went out to dinner and then kicked it from there.

Is dating within the modeling scene not frowned upon?
She only handled one of my gigs — it's not like she's with my agent so I don't get to see her at work. In that sense, it's okay. It wouldn't be good to date someone that you work with. It would be distracting.

Luke, 22

What's the deal with the necklace?
There's really no rhyme or reason. I went to a thrift store the other day for the first time ever. I'm a college senior, so it's a little late for me to get into the whole thrift-store game.

Is that correlated to years in college? The thrift-store "game?"
I don't know. I was always, like, traditional. I'd go to regular stores, and I was like, you know what, it's time for me to think outside of the box. Or maybe think inside the box. It's my last year. I want to conform. I want to be liked. I want to be popular. So I went to a thrift store and, lo and behold, I found some jewelry that I liked. And it only cost five dollars. It's not anything special, but once I bought it, it became special.

Does it bring you good luck?
When I wear it, I feel a little more confident. A little more swagger in my step.

Has anything lucky happened to you while you were wearing this necklace?
Um, I haven't gotten lucky because of this. No girl has been like, he has a rabbit's foot, I totally want to have sex with him now. But I feel like people give me more looks. And attractive girls will stop me on the street and interview me about my necklace.

So this is your first real piece of luck, is what you're saying.
Pretty much. I also bought a little skull necklace at a Mexican folk store. I bought it on the Day of the Dead, so I wear that sometimes.

Do you wear the rabbit foot to sleep?
I take it off. I have a light switch, and I hang it on there. I don't just throw it haphazardly across the room.

You have to treat it well. Any other upkeep?
Yeah, I comb it. Or at night I'll pet it. You can't put it in the wash, you know. How would a rabbit clean its own foot? [Mimes licking it] Like this? I don't know where this has been, actually. What's the equivalent of rabbit AIDS? I've probably got that.

Rabbit AIDS is really serious.
I'm sorry. All you rabbits out there, I'm really sorry I said that.

So what kind of lady styles do you like? What do you find attractive on women?
I like it when women wear rabbit's-foot necklaces. They have to be naked also, just the rabbit's-foot necklace. The main thing is the rabbit's foot. Also Native American. They have to be Native American.

This sounds like an acid trip, or a fever dream.
And velcro shoes. I'm done now.

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