Men’s jewellery has been “bubbling under” for a while. By which I mean that male peacocks of the Hollywood, music and street style variety have been wearing bright and shiny accessories for years now. In these circles, Harry Styles popularised the renaissance-referencing pearl earring and A$AP Rocky signet ring.
But never has a piece of men’s jewellery gone mainstream until now. In the depths of lockdown, we all binge-watched Normal People and, as a slightly delirious nation, anthropomorphised Connell Waldron’s (played by Paul Mescal) chain, elevating it to National Heart-throb status. The necklace’s charms were subtle. So subtle, in fact, that had we not been in the throes of a universal pause, it might have gone entirely unnoticed.
This was, in part, to do with the fact that it wasn’t overdesigned. It was very simple: thin and silver – not so much a wink or raised eyebrow of a chain, more a furtive glance. And for that it was something that normal people (sorry) could embrace.
My style is quite minimal when it comes to jewellery. I’ve never even had my ears pierced. I’ve toyed with a skull ring (too wannabe rock star) and once wore a pendant on a leather chain, but only for a fancy dress party.
Wearing this chain, I get way too neurotic and overthink it. Am I doing this right? Is it hanging correctly over my collar? And, bafflingly, does it make my ears look big?
I find the chain works best when it’s offset by a plain colour; in this look, I’m saving the tie-dye for my trousers (by streetwear label Aries Arise). It also speaks to simplicity and lightness, making it an ideal accessory to pair with summer colours: here, I’ve chosen a rich lilac T-shirt.
The thing is, once I settle into it, I like wearing the chain a lot. I’m no Mescal, I’m not even Mescal adjacent, but I do feel empowered. Sadly, not sexy or edgy, but emboldened nevertheless.