Leather bracelets have long been on the fashion scene, evolving over the years and becoming more mainstream.
In the past, leather, in general, was closely linked with rock stars, hardcore bikers, goths, and others with similar edgy personalities. Today, leather jewelry still holds that appeal, but it has grown in versatility as well. When worn properly, it can complement everything from sophisticated, smart, casual attire to businesswear, giving your outfit a nice little edge.
The origins of leather jewelry can be traced back to when early humans learned to use animal skins for clothing, which was as early as the Neolithic period — around 10,000 to 4,500 BCE.
Over time, as knowledge and technology advanced, humans learned to tan leather, making it easier to handle and more comfortable to wear. Tanning led to the innovation of new designs and leather apparel.
Leather bracelets in particular are said to have evolved from the shin guards and leather sleeves that early humans wore to protect their arms and legs. Its image then evolved and elevated over time, ranging from protective gear to accessories for royalty.
In civilizations such as the Roman Empire and ancient Greece, leather cuffs were part of soldiers’ military uniforms. They were also worn by warriors of nomadic tribes, such as the Vikings, Mongols, and Huns, with symbolic embellishments.
King Tutankhamen, the famous pharaoh, was buried with various leather cuffs that were adorned with gold and silver as a symbol of his power status.
Like many types of jewelry, leather is steeped in history and has an incredible backstory.
Styling Your Leather Bracelets
Now, how can you style your leather jewelry today? You have a lot of options, so here are a few ideas to get you started.
Solo Versus Stacked
Leather bracelets can be worn in a variety of ways.
When wearing it solo, you can go with any bracelet width as it won’t compete with other accessories on your wrist. If you’re the type to wear a wristwatch, you may opt to wear the leather bracelet on the opposite wrist so that they don’t compete with each other on one hand. Try to match your leather bracelet with the base tone of your top for a cohesive look. If you can’t get them to match exactly, then natural colors are always a safe bet.
To wear them stacked, combine the leather cuff with other bracelets so that they are layered on your wrist. You can emulate different fashion statements depending on the style of the complementing bracelets: A light brown leather cuff layered with pastel drawstring bracelets can appear carefree and whimsical, while a black leather bracelet with silver enclosures stacked with other metallics can look tough and edgy.
If a wristwatch is your main accessory must-have, you can also wear a leather bracelet below it. Be careful to balance the widths so that they don’t draw too much attention. A thick sports watch is better paired with a thin leather bracelet, while a slim-banded watch can be worn with a thicker leather cuff.
Think About Color
If you intend to wear your leather bracelet with other metallic accessories, try to match your metals as much as possible. Gold is a warm color, so it pairs well with earthy tones such as brown, dark green, and royal blue.
Silver is a colder color and easier to pair with other colors as it contrasts well with gray, black, white, and pastels. If you have a black leather cuff with silver detailing, then wear a silver wristwatch. Or if you’re wearing a brown leather bracelet, you may opt to wear gold rings.
Consider What Suits the Occasion
Long gone are the days when leather accessories were exclusively associated with rough and tough concepts such as rock and roll and bikers.
Today, leather jewelry is a versatile wardrobe staple, if you know how to wear it. A slim and minimalistic black leather cuff can complete a smart wristwatch for a casual affair. An embellished, beige-toned, braided leather bracelet can be stacked with pastel bracelets for a festival fashion look.
Remember to consider the balance of the pieces if you intend on wearing your leather bracelet with other accessories. Be mindful of appropriate colors and embellishments as well. For example, a black leather cuff with silver tribal accents would accentuate a plain t-shirt and jeans but may not necessarily be ideal for a black tie event.
Showcase Your Personality
As with all accessories and fashion items, the best style is your personal style. Choose leather accessories that capture and express who you are and really let your personality shine through.
Wide leather cuffs, especially those that have metal studs or symbolic embellishments like skulls or horns, exude an edgy rock-and-roll feel and go perfectly with a band shirt and trusty leather boots.
Thin-strapped leather bracelets can be stacked with other bracelets, pair well with an everyday wristwatch, or can be an alternative to the watch altogether. Drawstring leather bracelets are typically ultra-thin, perfect for stacking and reminiscent of free spirits like surfers and backpackers.
Truly, when it comes to jewelry (and fashion in general), there’s only one real rule: Wear what makes you feel amazing.
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