Menswear Ditches Bling, Goes Back To Basics


Personally, we’re not sure if there ever was a time when “man jewelry” was okay, let alone in style. Maybe for a certain set for whom “grills” did not always a Weber make and “izzle” served as a legitimate suffix. The was also that rarified “juiced up” species who needed something sparkly to accent their faux tan, white tank and steroid enhanced musculature.

Alas, we’ll give you it was worn, insured and rapped about. But if the Los Angeles Times’ recent thumbing through the May issue of GQ is to believed, those days have come and gone. In fact, their exhaustive editorial research revealed that only four (!) subjects in the magazine’s new issue appear wearing any sort of jewelry. Of course, one of those subjects is former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs — no stranger to the gr-izzle, naturally — so take their findings for what you will. But the Times seem pretty steadfast in their belief that in the post-recession, blinged out is…well, out.

“There was a moment when flashy, chunky sculls were in, but now it’s much more subtle.” explained Darren Gold, co-owner of Alpha Gear for Gents in Los Angeles. Our stomach churning over his suggestion about flashy skulls aside, we can’t say we completely disagree.

In fact, the decline of the demand for “mannery” is in perfect step with the larger re-emergence of classic modes of masculinity and a recession induced shift in the ways many men are approaching and processing fashion. Not that we didn’t find that diamond-encrusted chain suuuper masculine.

But think: the voguing of timeless pieces like the two-piece suit.  Or, for that matter, the collective clamor over every heritage brand to have ridden in on a John Deere. Even Jay Z — the poster boy for all things bling — has been looking dapper lately, having traded his pricey m-ewels for thick rimmed glasses and skinny ties. Evidence of a return to dandyism — at its well-manicured, brown cap-toe balmoral best? We cross our fingers. Or maybe guys just finally realized that in the status symbol game, pear shapes are a heck of a lot less useful than Apples.

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