Guys aren’t scared of style risks anymore—at least not like they used to be. The current menswear climate has convinced men to make everything from Hawaiian shirts and tie-dye to western boots and boat shoes staple pieces in their everyday wardrobe. Funny, considering how much of what we deem stylish today would’ve been sartorial pariahs a mere few years ago, the aforementioned not excluded. Well, that’s the fashion industry for you.
So why then, after years of witnessing even the most bizarre style fads cyclically fade in and out of obscurity (RIP wide-brimmed hats, skinny ties, and oversized belt buckles) is jewelry still such a no-man’s-land for many guys? I’m not talking about puka shells and yellow rubber bracelets, which thankfully haven’t been resurrected since 2004, or even watches, which are a separate category in their own right. I’m referring to accessories like rings (wedding bands don’t count), cuff bracelets, and, most of all, necklaces.
Now, as a nü-metal and southern rap-loving Italian American who grew up watching Goodfellas, listening to Three 6 Mafia, and going to Warped Tour, cross pendants, statement rings, and wallet chains were (and still are) pieces I’d wear almost everyday. But the question I have for guys who avoid all accessories like they’re the plague is: What’s stopping you? Is it because you don’t know how to wear them? Or because there’s not enough variety out there? Michael Saiger, founder and creative director of Miami-based jewelry brand Miansai, thinks it’s a bit of both.
Created in 2008 while he was a sophomore at The University of Miami, Miansai materialized as a result of Saiger’s frustration at the dearth of relatable pieces in the men’s jewelry landscape. “I was looking for something for myself, and at the time there wasn’t anything on the market that caught my eye, so I began making my own pieces,” says Saiger, a New York native who decided to anchor the brand’s operations in Miami once his business took off.
“I started making accessories for the guy who didn’t wear jewelry,” says Saiger, whose now-widely-recognizable hook and anchor rope bracelets and screw cuffs became instant hits when they were first released. “Accessorizing doesn’t mean it needs to be large chunky pieces, a big watch, or thick chains. I prefer simple, wearable designs that you won’t want to take off or even notice that you have on.” The attitude stands in stark contrast to the gaudy culture often associated with men’s jewelry, as spotted on your favorite rapper, rock star, or Melrose Avenue T-shirt salesman.
Boasting minimal-yet-striking designs and high-quality materials at affordable price points, Miansai is the jewelry brand the menswear world so desperately needed. Not only has it made men’s jewelry more accessible and diverse, the brand has demonstrated the plethora of ways that guys can accessorize.
“All of our pieces are discrete staples that will blend with your everyday look,” says Saiger. “Right now I’m really into our new designs that feature two-toned, vintage-inspired pendants, as well as our enamel pendants that offer a pop of color.” When it comes to working with multiple pieces, Saiger says, “I like to combine a simple watch with another bracelet that has a different texture, be it rope or leather.”
With two flagship stores located in both New York and Los Angeles, Miansai’s empire is rapidly growing. Alongside his wife Rachael, who serves as the brand’s fashion director, Saiger has carved out a unique path for the company that’s venturing beyond the niche business of designing men’s jewelry.
Between philanthropic endeavors—including Rachael’s seven-year-old non-profit Style Saves, which provides underprivileged Miami youth with clothing and other necessities throughout the school year—refurbishing vintage trucks for mobile retail pop-ups, and adding leather goods, vape cases, women’s jewelry, and watches to its product roster, Miansai still manages to keep its production within the confines of its homey Wynwood studio.
If Miansai’s brand ethos has taught guys anything about accessorizing, it’s that wearing jewelry doesn’t have to be a premeditative activity. Unlike choosing what shoes to pair with your suit or picking out a shirt and tie combo, jewelry should be selected based on what vibe you’re feeling at the moment. Looking to turn heads? Throw on a gold chain or pendant that screams, “Here’s what I blew three months rent on.” Into a “less is more” mantra? Try a cuff bracelet or a slim silver chain.
There’s technically no right way to wear jewelry, but if you’re looking for a guiding principle, just try not to overdo it. Unless you’re a long-lost member of Migos. Then ball out.