Metals and metallic clothes play a very important role in the fashion scene.
Even the oldest civilizations would wear metals to adorn themselves and to communicate messages about their role, their status or their position in their group. Even the Stone Age man learned to transform gold into jewelry and ornaments, as it could be easily manipulated. There is evidence that man was processing metals even around the year 4600 BC in what is modern-day Bulgaria.
The ancient Egyptians and Greeks also used metals too for their ornaments and the 18th century French kings would decorate whole rooms with gold. However, before the 19th century, only 24 metals were known and since, there have been discovered an additional 62, making it a total of 86 metals that are known today.
In the modern era, metals are worn on a daily basis, which is why it is important to know a few things that will help you make better choices when it comes to wearing metals.
Here are the three essential things you need to know about wearing metals:
1. They go with anything
Even though to many men metals might seem hard to match, in actuality, metals are neutrals. In fashion, “neutral” mainly refers to a color that can be worn with any other color. Tan, ivory, black, white, gray, beige, khaki and dark blue are all neutral colors. They can be worn with each other and with any other color (red, yellow, purple, etc.). Metals, and we mean all of them, silver, gold, copper, etc., are neutrals as well and can be worn with any color.
However, some people look better in cooler metals such as silver and white gold, while others are flattered by metals with warmer shades, such as copper or gold. Don’t forget: the bigger the metal or metallic piece (this includes jacket, shirts, pants, shoes, etc. that have a metallic vibe), the more you need to be careful how you match it, as wearing too many shiny pieces will look overdone.
Our recommendation is to either keep your metals only for your accessories or, if you wear a metallic garment, to keep everything else in a neutral color. Now that you know what neutral colors are, you can see the possibilities: for example, a shirt with a silver shine goes very well with a solid, muted gray jacket and a pair of black pants.
2. You can mix metals
Given that metals are neutrals, it is alright to wear two or more metallic pieces at a time. Contrary to what many people believe, silver and gold can be worn at the same time. Sometimes, you will even find high-end jewelry that features both silver and gold in one piece.
The trick here is to know how not to overdo it. Again, wearing too much shine or metallic pieces that cover a lot of space or wearing too many small pieces will not look great, as it will be distracting. Clothes and accessories are supposed to support you and to express your personality, not be more visible than their wearer. You need to wear your clothes and accessories, not be a mannequin for them.
The main thing with which you need to be careful is to know how to add just the right amount of shine to your outfits. Our advice is: less is more. Keep your metals small and subtle and they will look a million times better than they would look if they were mixed and matched to other metals or if they were too big.
3. Choosing the right metal for the occasion
These days, jewelry is made from a wide range of materials, but the number of metals used for this purpose is quite limited. There are only 86 known metals and only some of them are commonly used in the manufacturing of jewelry.
There are several types of metals, and before explaining how to choose the right metals for the setting for which you are dressing up, it’s important to explain in big lines how metals are categorized.
Base and Noble metals
The terms “base” and “noble” refer to the chemistry of a metal. Base metals are quite common and have a tendency to oxidize or to corrode relatively easily. Examples of such metals are nickel, copper, iron and titanium. On the other hand, noble metals are rare, they have a high surface luster and are resistant to corrosion. Examples of noble metals are silver, gold and platinum.
While a few decades ago, most jewelry that was made from metals was made from noble metals, these days one can find a lot of rings, chains and other pieces made from base metals as well.
Precious and Non-Precious Metals
Metals are also broken down into precious and non-precious metals. The difference is one of rarity and value. Silver, gold and platinum are precious metals, while non-precious metals are all other metals.
When it comes to jewelry, precious metals are not only more desirable because they have a higher value, but because they are also less reactive than most elements, they have a high luster and easier to work with.
When you are choosing your metals, it is always to wear occasion-appropriate ones. Base, non-precious metals are better suited for casual settings and occasions, while noble and precious metals can be worn for both casual and dressier settings. In dressier settings however, it is recommended to wear only precious metals, while for casual settings you can wear precious metals as well.
To conclude, we can say that wearing metallic clothes and accessories can be a great fashion statement, but that one needs to always be careful not to overdo it. Metals and metallic pieces can be easily adapted to any outfit and can be worn in almost any setting, as they are very versatile and simple.
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. What metals/metallic clothes do you wear? What rules do you follow? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook or Twitter!