This week, Thomas Woods explores the rise of unisex jewellery and its by passing of traditional gender constructs, giving you some top picks on where to buy these products.
In the midst of clothing shops being closed in this last year, the pandemic has prompted many fashion-lovers around the world to be more inventive when it comes to attaining their desired outfits, with many turning to personalised homemade pieces in order to fill out their wardrobes. One of the most prominent examples of this trend is the emergence of charm necklaces and bracelets, seen via the Instagram of leading LA-based jewellery brand, Ian Charms.
This type of jewellery often embraces off-the-wall and outlandish styles of charms, with many smaller designers allowing the customer to personalise their jewellery with different images, colours, and lettering. They seem to match with almost anything and the personalisation aspect of the product allows this to stretch outfits further, becoming a very wise investment for people on a lower budget.
Despite the range of choice consumers sometimes hold over their piece’s design, this type of jewellery and its materials are frequently associated with feminine imagery, as the wider historical media presentation of these pieces more often shows them on women. I myself purchased a personalised charm necklace from a small UK business, being told by its designer that I was the first male customer she had designed a piece for, underlining how there is still room for this market to grow into the male fashion space.
The male jewellery market is still dominated by gold and silver Cuban link chains, jewel encrusted bracelets, as well as similarly plain bangles. In saying this, this last year has seen an exponential rise in mainstream popularity for this type of accessory, particularly within celebrity culture. Many high-profile male celebrities have made charm jewellery the must-have accessory, by passing the restrictive bounds of gendered clothing by pairing these pieces with accessible and widely worn male clothing, blowing open the men’s jewellery market.
WHO’S WEARING WHAT?
Arguably being the most popular musician of the last decade, Aubrey Grahams – better known as Drake – has paved the way for a more emotional vein to be introduced into rap music over the course of his young career. His ability to embrace the emotive side of his masculinity has always been a stand-out feature of his music, and this continues with the way he styles himself.
As seen here, Drake coolly pairs a snug, all-black suit with a vibrant pink, green, and red charm necklace with a large ‘A’ placed in the middle, either for his own name or potentially representing a nod to his young son, Adonis.
Either way, his smart attire alongside his charm necklace combines a sleek and traditionally masculine base colour with bright splashes of pink, green, and red, adding a playful tone to his outfit.
Drake’s incorporation of a smart outfit with this piece sets the tone for men who want to branch out into more outlandish colours and styles whilst still feeling comfortable and confident in their outfit.
Jaden Smith, the son of actor Will Smith, is seen pairing his smiley face charm necklace with many other alternate pieces, such as several pearl necklaces as well as more traditional silver chains. Smith layering his charm necklace with a similarly gender-defying pearl necklace extends the styling possibilities that charmed jewellery provides, again showing a different dynamic to the accessory.
As a more conservative approach, this pairing of the charm necklace with a silver chain may be a more comfortable look for a man who is looking to ease his way into wearing unisex jewellery, with Smith’s casual black t-shirt showing that not much is needed to make these pieces pop.
Belonging to the famous family of models, Anwar Hadid is a celebrity who is very in-touch with the fashion world. As seen here, Hadid is pictured sporting an Ian Charms rainbow bead bracelet with a matching pearled necklace that is decorated with a mushroom and an eight-ball charm. Sporting this with a casual grey vest, Hadid shows how well the pieces can work acting as a stand-alone, letting the colours of the beads do the talking.
Again, these types of accessories are allowing men to express themselves in a way that is low-key and accessible, appealing to a wider demographic of the male market by fitting into a variety of traditionally masculine outfits, such as Drake’s all-black suit and Hadid’s casual grey vest.
The donning of these pieces by prominent male celebrities bridges the gap between gendered clothing and accessories on a wider scale, creating a unisex alternative to traditional jewellery that allows men to push the boundaries of gendered clothing without feeling uncomfortable in themselves. This can only be a good thing for the future of men’s fashion.
While it is interesting to see how big-name celebrities are styling these pieces, what might be a more burning desire is finding out exactly where they are getting these accessories from. Worry not, this article has a list of some top places that you can expect to find quality charm jewellery for all price ranges.
BEST PLACES TO BUY
#3: Ian Charms
Where to buy: iancharms.com
Arguably being the current most trending charm jewellery store on the market, Ian Charms provides an array of high-quality pieces, such as bracelets, necklaces, and anklets. Their popularity has exploded over this last year as many of their pieces were seen on high profile celebrities like singer Dua Lipa, her boyfriend Anwar Hadid, as well as fellow musician Madison Beer.
However, this high-level exposure has led to a rise in price as many of their necklaces average at around £113, plus shipping from the U.S. The high quality of the product makes the price range slightly more justifiable, but if you are just getting started in unisex and charm jewellery, I would recommend seeing the cheaper alternatives below.
Where to buy: depop.com or the Depop app
As a website, Depop is great for finding bargains and individual sellers who you can directly speak to, making it ideal when looking for homemade charm jewellery. While the process of looking for pieces is slightly more laborious, it has a range of different sellers who provide different designs and charms, meaning you can really discover the specifics of what you like.
Sellers like @leyyyahh and @beaubelehave hundreds of positive reviews and provide all types of personalised pieces, with prices usually staying between £10 and £20. While the quality may be slightly lower than businesses at the higher end, it is worth trying these pieces out so that you can begin to understand what charms, colours, and styles you like most!
#1: Chunky Charmz
Where to buy: @chunky_charmz (Instagram)
Despite being a relatively new business, Chunky Charmz has had a sharp upward trajectory since emerging in this last year, currently boasting 1200 Instagram followers. Providing customers with a personalised one-on-one service, the business provides pre-made charm necklaces and bracelets as well as providing the option to adapt them and create your own!
The pricing of the products is in the mid-range, with a personalised piece usually coming in at around £35 to £40, and the pre-made items typically costing around £30. Having bought from here myself, I can say that the quality of the products is fantastic and the service is immaculate. If you want a balance of quality and price, this is the place to buy from. Check out their Instagram to see what they have to offer!
If you enjoyed this article you can follow more of Thomas’s work on Twitter via @iamthomaswoods_