Posted in  Fashion with pearls  on  October 10, 2022 by  Anisa0 comments

Pearls are often seen as an understated, elegant jewelry exclusively for women. Many men avoid pearls due to their perceived femininity and softness (even those who may secretly want a pearl necklace of their own).

However, men can wear pearls just as women can! Gems are a gender-neutral way to dress up an outfit, show off some fashion sense, and flaunt power and style.

In fact, historically, pearls were for men as well as women, and the most powerful men in history probably boasted a few pearl necklaces of their own. Here is your guide to pearls for men.

Table of Contents

The History of Men Wearing Pearls

Since antiquity, pearls have been a status symbol for men as well as women. Before the development of cultivated pearls, these gems were incredibly rare and difficult to harvest, making them a sign of wealth and power, not just femininity.

Pearls were an important symbol of royalty across the centuries and across continents. In Asia, Chinese emperors coveted pearls, and these gems were the most important gift you could give to royalty. In India, maharajas and other rulers wore strings of pearls to show their power.

Pearls were also coveted by powerful Europeans throughout the centuries. Byzantine emperors wore pearl-bedecked crowns. Medieval clergy wore pearl scapulars and religious ornaments.

In the early modern period, the 15th–16th centuries, the pearl craze really took off. Kings and powerful men of all kinds wore pearls, as you can see from looking at portraits of the era.

Whether it was pearl necklaces, pearl-embroidered clothing in the Tudor era, or pearl earrings (famously worn by the executed King Charles I), pearls were a way for people of either gender to show power.

In some regions, pearls were a symbol of ferocity and strength. Polynesian warriors frequently traded pearls or wore them as decoration—and nobody would dare call them unmanly.

Pearls in Modern Fashion

Today, pearls are one of the fastest growing trends in male fashion thanks to gender-nonconforming fashion pioneers such as Harry Styles, who wore a pearl necklace to the Met Gala.

However, pearls are also popular among more traditionally “masculine” men. Rappers are incorporating long strings of pearls into their outfits along with the traditional gold chains.

For a while, it was a surprising trend for Major League Baseball players to wear pearl necklaces as they played, showing a cheeky flair for style.

Why Men Want to Wear Pearls

Why are pearl necklaces becoming so popular among men? There are a few reasons why this trend is growing.

One is the growing trend of gender nonconformity and challenging traditional ideas of masculinity. Androgyny is becoming more popular in fashion, even for men.

Maharaja wearing pearls

Men traditionally seen as masculine, including professional athletes and hip-hop artists, are wearing pearls and other traditionally feminine articles of clothing, including skirts, as a way to show that they are strong enough to express themselves the way that they want.

Another is the historical and symbolic connotation of pearls as a sign of power. Many modern forms of masculine jewelry, such as gold chains, are ways of showing wealth and power.

Incorporating pearls into male jewelry is another way of saying, “I have the money to dress well and the power not to care what you think.”

Finally, men want to wear pearls because they look good. These gems have a simple, understated glow and look classy when several identical pearls are brought together in a necklace or bracelet.

Men don’t want to be confined by traditional ideas of what men “should” do, and modern guys want the freedom of self-expression through fashion that women enjoy.

How Men Can Wear Pearls

There are a few styling ideas for men who want to wear pearls. If you want to incorporate these gorgeous gems into your wardrobe but don’t know where to start, here is some advice.

The traditional pearl necklace looks just as good on men as it does on women. For men whose style is closer to loose street-style, long strands of pearls mixed in with pendants and chains look good.

For men who prefer a classic, understated look, a short strand of pearls fitted around a shirt collar is great.

Young man wearing pearls and a jean jacket

The type of pearl is also important. Instead of going for classic white pearls, men can seek out black pearls or other dark pearls, such as Tahitian pearls.

These pearls have an edge, creating a more masculine look. Or men can look for jewelry that incorporates pearls with other elements, such as gold and chains.

For guys who want to wear pearls but don’t feel comfortable wearing pearl necklaces or earrings, a simple, understated way is to wear pearl cufflinks. These are perfect for weddings.

Pearls are gorgeous gems that shouldn’t be reserved exclusively for women and historically have been worn by men as well.

About the Author


I am a pearl and oyster enthusiast who loves to share her knowledge and experiences about fashion with the world. I am neither a certified gemologist nor a reseller of pearls.

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