The Ultimate Bracelet Wearing Guide for Women

Lester Fangonilo - December 25, 2021

Whether it’s a discreet silver bracelet or a bold gold cuff, we run down the best ways to wear these stunning pieces of jewelry on your arms and wrists for a truly stylish look

Bracelets have been around for millennia and are among the personal adornments most commonly found in archeological digs in various parts of the world. While these are considered a unisex accessory, the bulk of the examples found in ancient sites are usually pieces worn by women either as a personal bijou or a devotional item worn for certain rituals or religious rites.

Today’s women are spoiled for choice when it comes to bracelets: from bold gold cuffs and glittering tennis bracelets bedecked with tiny jewels, to delicate silver bracelets and avant-garde pieces wrought by master craftsmen, the selections are practically endless. That said, having such an array at one’s fingertips in a personal jewelry box does beg the question of how to wear one’s bracelets without looking like a mad gypsy fortune teller from a bad Gothic novel or a bondage fetishist whose arms are weighed down by heavy chains and cuffs.

This guide features a number of ways by which women can wear their bracelets, perfectly matching or pairing them with any outfit for the perfect occasion.

Mixing and Matching Styles Works Wonders

Be bold when it comes to choosing bracelets to go with your outfit, particularly if you have a pretty extensive range of colors, styles, and sizes in your jewelry box. Bangle-style silver bracelets are particularly chic if you wear them stacked along with a colorful outfit for an 80s retro vibe, or get full-on glamazon with a bold metallic outfit paired with a stunning avant-garde gold or silver bracelet slightly bigger than average. 

You could also glam things up for an evening affair by pairing a somewhat contemporary gown with bracelets of a more traditional design or make.

Flip a Coin When it Comes to Mixing Metals

This is actually more of a matter of taste than anything else. A silver bracelet may look fabulous on its own and a gold chain looped aesthetically around your wrist is quite elegant, but if you're blinged out with a silver bangle, a yellow gold chain, and a rose gold tennis bracelet all on one arm, then you're going to find yourself having to explain things to the fashion police. In which case, you would do well to rethink your overall look!

While all precious metals are beautiful to look at when wrought into jewelry of any kind, it's better to err on the side of caution when it comes to mixing metals. But consider this: silvery pale metals would actually work together, so a sterling silver bracelet would actually be a complementary piece to a platinum collar-style necklace or a ring forged from white gold. Similarly, you can produce an appealing gradient look by stacking white, yellow, and rose gold bangles on your arm - provided these are all the same shape and style.

Herringbone bracelet in 18k gold


Consider Colors When You Make Your Choice

We all know how the basic but oh so necessary little black dress gets extra oomph by the strategic placement of a golden brooch at the breast or the stunning look of a finely crafted silver bracelet (usually a jeweled cuff at the wrist or a more delicate snake chain wrapped snugly around one's upper arm), but what about more colorful clothing? What works with what type of piece?

Jade or Murano glass bangles come in an assortment of shades and these would be fabulous if you match them with clothing in a similar color scheme. Likewise, band or bangle silver bracelets would add a certain je ne sais quoi with contemporary neutrals, adding a subtle sophistication to even the simplest of looks. If you like wearing bracelets featuring gemstones, you may also want to consider wearing clothes - or at least a top - that matches the hue of the stone in the piece.

Consider the Occasion When You Choose Your Jewelry

Let's be blunt: wearing outre-looking jewelry in phantasmagoric forms and unusual designs is not something you should do if you work in an office or commute to work everyday unless these are discreet accent pieces like small charms on a thin metal bracelet or a striking-looking pendant. You may also want to pair a simple piece with an elegant - but practical - wristwatch to add a more professional nuance to your work-wear.

Conversely, formal occasions demand bling that is considerably more ornate than usual. This is the perfect time to bring out big statement pieces and they don't even have to be expensive - just tasteful and not too gaudy for comfort. Cut-glass or heavy crystal [mineral] bracelets in amber, smoky quartz, jade, or amethyst are particularly striking for a gala, while elegant pieces made with precious metals (especially if they are part of a matching set with earrings and a necklace) are perfect for milestone events like weddings or debutante balls.

Link bracelet by Oliver Cabell


Whatever You Do, Don't Go Overboard

We mentioned above that stacking multiple bracelets of different metals, styles, and colors is something that goes beyond the boundaries of good taste. It may have looked cool when you were in junior high, but it's something that adult women may need to rethink regardless of how quirky or adventurous their personalities are.

Similarly, while both male and female pop stars do get blinged out to the hilt in their music videos or during live performances, that doesn't mean that you should be doing it, too. You want your bracelets to accentuate your outfit for the day, not to be the be all and end all of your look. In which case, one or two accent pieces will do the trick and finish your OOTD in a subtle yet chic way.

Also, if you're wearing stacked bracelets, you may need to rethink if you need additional jewelry. Wearing a stack of bangles on one arm along with a pair of entwined necklaces, earrings, and a set of rings is definitely going to make people look at you funny - and, if you're in a not so decent neighborhood, may actually bring you more harm than good.