Gents – I've got a question for you. When I say “stylish men's accessories”, what do you think of?
A wallet? Your cell phone? House and car keys? A wristwatch?
If you asked 100 guys that same question, you'd get these same answers 90% of the time. It's completely understandable – these accessories are incredibly useful and can be leveraged by any man to improve his day to day living.
You know what, guys? I'm no exception, either. But in a world where it's becoming harder and harder to stand out as unique, how can we begin to show our individuality when every man carries the same accessories in his back pocket?
Many men don't know the benefits of carrying more unique stylish men's accessories – things that most men wouldn't even consider putting in their bags before leaving home for the day.
Fear not, gentlemen – in today's article, I'll fill you in on 7 unique stylish men's accessories you can carry to stand out from the crowd and seriously level up your style game.
Stylish Men's Accessory #1 – A Challenge Coin
If you've ever been a member of any organized unit, you might be familiar with my first stylish accessory – the challenge coin. Mainly used within close-knit groups of men, the challenge coin symbolizes belonging and loyalty to a group cause.
Men who consider the challenge coin an example of stylish men's accessories are often members of military or civil service organizations. However, sports teams and fraternity groups also use challenge coins to recognize dedication and achievements within a group of like-minded individuals.
What is a Challenge Coin?
Typically, a challenge coin takes the shape of a small metal disk or medallion. More often than not it bears the insignia or emblem of the organization that awards it.
The USAF (United States Air Force) challenge coin is pictured below. At the center of the piece, you can see an insignia representing the USAF along with a date of service. Also, the outer edge of the coin features an inscription of the United States Air Force doctrine – ‘Integrity First. Service Before Self. Excellence In All We Do.'
Newly qualified US airmen receive their challenge coin as part of their graduation ceremony. It is a symbol of a cadet's transition from trainee to airman. As such, regardless of age or rank, every USAF member owns the Airman challenge coin. It is a shared experience between General and Corporal alike.
Gents – this is just one example of a challenge coin. Not all organizations will hold a military-style graduation ceremony with family and friends in attendance.
However, the USAF coin does demonstrate the same foundations and core value of all other challenge coins – it is a representation of life achievements and comradery within a group of like-minded men.
What is the origin of the Challenge Coin?
The challenge coin has many different origin stories. Some say that its heritage lies within the ranks of the ancient Roman Legion as a token of bravery.
The Roman Empire rewarded soldiers by presenting them with coins. Prior to Challenge Coins, Soldiers who acted bravely would be given a Legion Officer's coin to buy themselves a drink.
In the spirit of Rome, it would be common for them to make a spectacle by slapping it down loudly on the bar and declaring the bravery of the awarded soldier.
This would be a way for the soldiers to recognize the achievements in a more public manner and show comradery to their fellow Romans.
However, despite the many great origin stories that have been told over the years, there is one that I chose to believe over the rest.
During WW1, a wealthy American Lieutenant bought a collection of decorated medallions cast in solid bronze. He gave these to his unit as a symbol of their comradery and dedication to fighting the war.
One of his men – a young pilot – placed his coin in a leather pouch tied around his neck. Shortly after he was then captured by the German forces who took all of his possessions away. That is except for the leather pouch around his neck.
Thankfully our man escaped the Germans when taken to the front line in France. After crossing no man's land, he reached an allied French outpost but was mistaken for a German spy.
With no official form of identification, the French were ready to execute him on the spot. However, he was immediately released when he produced the medallion bearing his squadron's insignia.
It became a tradition within his squadron that all members carried their medallion with them wherever they went. After all, it could end up saving their lives one day.
How is the Challenge Coin used today?
It is a tradition in many military organizations and civilian groups to take part in a ‘coin check' whenever asked to do so.
A coin check or ‘challenge' is straightforward. If someone in your group calls out ‘coin check' all members must display their challenge coin. Those who are unable to do so must purchase the next round of drinks for the group. If everyone can produce a coin, then the person who called the check must buy the next round.
Which is why we call it a ‘challenge coin' and why it has earned its place on my list of stylish men's accessories.
Stylish Men's Accessory #2 – Emergency Sewing Kit
We've all had that embarrassing moment at work when we realize a button is missing from our shirt.
No need to feel shame, gents. It happens to the best of us. We've all had to awkwardly walk around the office trying to hide our half-open shirt. But did you know there is an effortless way of avoiding this issue altogether?
You guessed it, gents – make an emergency sewing kit part of your every day carry.
An emergency sewing kit usually consists of a few basic components:
- Scissors – for cutting thread, paper and fabric where needed
- Pins and needles – compatible with both hand sewing and a sewing machine
- Thimble – a protective cover for your fingers to stop accidental pricking when sewing
- Thread – cotton thread provided in black, white, cream and gray
How do you use an Emergency Sewing Kit?
OK gents, I hear you and I agree. An emergency sewing kit isn't much use when you don't know how to sew a button back onto a shirt.
Thankfully it's far easier than it sounds and any man can learn the basics in a few minutes.
The benefits of sewing your own buttons back onto your shirts are varied. But mainly, owning this item from my list of stylish men's accessories will save you many costly trips to the tailors.
Let me ask you a question – would you pay a mechanic to change the oil in your car? That would be ridiculous, right? The same applies to basic sewing tasks. In short – you don't need to pay a professional to attach a button back on your shirt, gents. Make an emergency sewing kit part of your every day carry and do it yourself with my quick and easy guide.
How often will I need an Emergency Sewing Kit?
You'd be surprised. At work, it's less likely but when traveling you're far more exposed to the elements.
If you're hiking or camping with a group of friends, it's almost guaranteed at least one of you will need a button sewn back on or a seam repaired at some point on your journey.
What's the bad news? Most guys would not consider an emergency sewing kit part of their every day carry. If you found yourself in a tricky situation without any means of repairing your garments, that could ruin the rest of your trip. No one wants that.
What's the good news? You could be the hero of the hour if you're not only able to produce an emergency sewing kit from your luggage but also fix whatever clothing problem has occurred along the way. Just make sure to keep your emergency sewing kit in a men's messenger bag so you can retrieve it quickly and get to work fixing the problem.
A pro tip to help you with that: add iron-on hem tape to your sewing kit so you can quickly and easily repair from any hotel room. Iron-on hem tape is a sticky material that reacts to the heat of an iron. It will allow you to temporarily repair fabric tears until you or your buddy can get to a tailor for a more permanent fix.
Why is an Emergency Sewing Kit a stylish accessory?
Fact: you can't look stylish if your shirt is missing buttons. Equally, you can't look stylish if you've got tears in your pants.
The emergency sewing kit is a great preventative to these two things.
On its own, it might appear to belong on my list of stylish men's accessories. However, as part of your everyday carry, its functionality means you can look stylish regardless of any garment mishaps that might occur throughout your day.
Stylish Men's Accessory #3 – A Durable Leather Bag
Gents, it's pretty obvious that a lot of our everyday carry isn't going to fit in our back pockets.
In the 21st century, men are considering more and more items part of their every day carry. As we get new tech and grow our collection of awesome accessories the fact is we need somewhere to put them.
Gone are the days of shaming the ‘man bag'. With the introduction of laptops, tablets and mobile devices into our everyday lives, a sturdy but stylish bag has become one of the most important items a man can own.
After all, what's the use in unique stylish men's accessories if you've got nowhere to put them?
Good news guys – you've actually got a surprising amount of styles to choose from when it comes to buying a functional bag. There's a style out there for everyone – what it comes down to is your own individual needs.
To help you out, here's a quick rundown of some of the different styles you can choose from:
A single strap bag that hangs either across the body or over the shoulder. A messenger bag is a great option for guys who carry a lot of books or a laptop around with them.
Typically a messenger bag features two front pouches that are perfect for holding your smaller accessories. The main section of the bag will be big enough to hold most laptops as well as books and other flatter items.
The messenger bag was originally used in the 1950s by line workers who needed an over the shoulder bag to carry their tools when climbing telephone poles. This means they are designed to be spacious, sturdy, and secure – the perfect bag to help carry your expensive electronics.
The backpack is slightly less formal in design and is worn on the back. This bag is great for a casual weekend trip or days out with the kids. However, I wouldn't recommend wearing a backpack with a suit.
The first backpack can be dated back to 3300BC – however, what we know as the modern backpack came into existence in 1952. Creator Asher Dick Kelty was an avid hiker but found himself tired of hauling his luggage in an uncomfortable war-style luggage bag. To solve this problem, he and his wife Nena decided to design their own comfortable version of the backpack – a design that is still used today.
Ideal for taking on longer trips – the Duffle bag is probably the most spacious design available to men. The Duffel is versatile – perfect for work or weekends away, or even trips to the gym.
Look for a Duffel with abrasion-resistant waxed-twill – a material that is designed to be hard-wearing and water-resistant. If cared for properly with regular cleaning it could easily last you a lifetime.
The name ‘Duffel' comes from a Belgium town where the duffel cloth (traditionally used to make the bag) originated. During WW2 the duffel was standard issue for US soldiers.
Stylish Men's Accessory #4 – Styptic Pencil
Let's face it, guys – not many people have heard of a styptic pencil.
I certainly hadn't until very recently when I cut myself shaving for what felt like the millionth time.
I was fed up with having to pinch that little piece of tissue and poke it on my face. It looks ridiculous and it never really works to stop the bleeding from a bad shaving cut.
So what did I do? I went online and did some research.
Why does a Styptic Pencil work?
A styptic pencil is an awesome accessory to include as part of your every day carry as it can stop the bleeding from a shaving cut in seconds. It looks similar to chapstick and usually has a white, wax-like consistency.
The basic components of this accessory are wax and aluminum crystal powder. When pressed against a bleeding cut, these two ingredients will help to coagulate the blood and reduce its flow from the wound.
Coagulation is the process by which a liquid is transformed into a semi-solid state. This process happens naturally within our bodies and is how our body can heal itself when damaged and cut. A styptic pencil speeds up this process. The aluminum crystals (a coagulant) help speed up the clotting of blood vessels and the wax helps to coat the area to slow the bleeding further.
It's not often I get to include such a scientific item on my list of stylish men's accessories.
How do you use a Styptic Pencil?
Using a styptic pencil is very easy. When you cut yourself while shaving:
- Apply the styptic pencil directly to the affected area
- Apply pressure to the wound to ensure that the ingredients have enough contact with the blood vessels
- Leave for 10 seconds and then slowly remove the pencil from your skin
- Gently clean the area avoiding direct contact with the cut itself
Pro fact: A scientific word for this process is ‘astringent’ – so the styptic pencil would have astringent properties.
Stylish Men's Accessory #5 – Manual Blackhead Extractor
Blackheads aren't stylish guys – but I bet you already knew that.
The manual blackhead extractor (more scientifically known as a comedone extractor) is a tool that removes blackheads by applying direct pressure to the skin.
But before we get into how to extract blackheads – we should definitely think about what a blackhead actually it.
Are Blackheads bad?
Blackheads are small, dark bumps that appear on the surface of your skin.
Most commonly identified on the face – blackheads result from dirt and grime clogging up the pores and hair follicles around your eyebrows, nose and cheekbones.
Blackheads are actually considered a mild form of acne – I bet you thought you'd left that behind in your teenage years, right?
Blackheads don't do you any harm in regards to your health. However, they are considered very unhygienic and look incredibly unattractive when they begin to build up in large clumps on the face.
In short, gents – they don't look good. Plain and simple.
What is a Comedone Extractor and how does it work?
A comedone extractor is a tool used to extract dirt and grime from the pores of the skin.
When your facial pores fill up with grime, it can be quite hard to remove this with your hand.
You can't pick it out as the grime is buried deep within the pores of your face underneath the surface of your skin. The only way to release the blackhead is to apply direct pressure to the individual pore and squeeze the dirt out of the hole.
Sounds easy right? Wrong.
A single pore measures at roughly 0.05–0.2 mm squared. For those not in the know – that's absolutely tiny. So, using your fingers to squeeze an area this small isn't going to work.
It's far easier and definitely more effective to use a comedone extractor.
Precise pressure can be applied to the affected area using the small hoop at the end of the extractor. When this is done, the grime within the pore has nowhere to go but out.
What's better? These instruments can fit in your back pocket easily – so there's no excuse not to carry consider it an awesome example of stylish men's accessories.
Pro tip: When buying a comedone extractor – opt for one made of stainless steel. This will make it easy to sterilize after use and ensure that you stay hygienic in your pursuit of a perfect complexion.
Stylish Men's Accessory #6 – A Journal
Let's think of some awesomely famous men for a minute:
- Leonardo Da Vinci – 15th century painter and inventor
- Albert Einstein – world renowned physicist
- Mark Twain – one of America's greatest writers
- Charles Darwin – fathered the Theory of Evolution
What do all of these guys have in common?
Awesome facial hair? Absolutely. But there's something more intellectually beneficial that connects them all.
You guessed it – they all kept a regular journal to record their life achievements.
I understand that many of you might be wondering what purpose a written journal has in the 21st Century. All of the men mentioned above are from a time with little computing power and certainly no cell phones to make quick and easy notes on the go. Isn't social media basically the modern form of journaling?
Here's why it's on my list of stylish men's accessories.
What Does It Mean To Keep A Journal?
I get why you would question making a paper journal part of your every day carry. I won't lie to you gents; it can be easier to store everything you need on that digital screen in your pocket. I'm guilty of that too in many ways. Would it be possible to keep a digital journal on your phone or tablet computer? Yes – there are tons of great apps for that and most men would consider their cellphone a more convenient part of their every day carry.
However, what people don't understand about journaling is that it isn't just a way of storing important information. We have calendars and to-do lists for that.
No. Journalling holds a far deeper purpose than a simple collage of important thoughts and information. It's got far more to do with mental processing and wellbeing than it has with jotting down snippets of important information.
“Journaling is paying attention to the inside for the purpose of living well from the inside out.” Lee Wise
Journalling is a way of processing and visualizing the thoughts that run through your head on a day to day basis. Psychologists at Queen's University in Canada predict that human beings run more than 6000 thoughts through their minds every day. That's a lot of thinking.
So the point of a journal is not to record all of these thoughts but to process the ones that have had the most impact on you throughout your day. Like a conversation, a journal entry often takes the form of a written dialogue between yourself and a nameless listener. Many people believe that the idea is to write out how you feel and explain why you think you feel that way.
Every man should consider a good notebook part an example of stylish men's accessories. After all, the purpose of a journal is to consider your thoughts on paper and try to justify them using logic and reason. This will help you create a clearer mindset and help to improve your productivity throughout the day.
Stylish Men's Accessory #7 – Refillable Fragrance Atomiser
If you're anything like me, you'll want to make sure you smell great from dawn till dusk.
No one wants their signature scent to start fading into the evening when things start to get exciting.
But how can we control the length of time a cologne scent lasts before fading into nothing?
The truth is that even the most expensive colognes fade over time. As stylish men, we shouldn't be looking at how we can extend the scent's longevity but rather how we can top up our cologne use without having to carry a large bottle around with us. You know what they say: improvise, adapt and overcome.
A refillable fragrance atomizer will let you do just that. It's a tool specifically designed to transform liquid colognes into a very fine mist. This is achieved as the atomizer mixes oxygen and liquid cologne to produce a fine mist that is uniformly dispersed onto your skin.
Why is this beneficial? Simple – it means not only can you carry a smaller amount of fragrance around with you but the cologne within it will last longer too. The average fragrance atomizer weighs only 12 grams but can give you 50 sprays of cologne from a single filling. We can definitely consider this item an example of stylish men's accessories – it's the most effective way to get a quick scent top up on the go.
How do you fill an Atomizer from a spray bottle?
Most fragrance atomizers have a unique liquid transferring system. Thanks to an expertly designed pumping system, there is no need to tip liquid from your cologne bottle into the atomizer.
Instead, all you need to do is remove the spray cap from your cologne bottle and place the atomizer over it. Typically, a hole in the atomizer base will perfectly fit the nozzle of any perfume bottle.
Ensure the atomizer is upright, then press down in a pumping motion. The fragrance will transfer from your cologne bottle to the atomizer.
Pro tip: To get the most out of your atomizer, purchase one with a clear window so you can see how much you’ve got left. That way you'll always know when it's time to fill up.
Make a fragrance atomizer part of your every day carry and you'll never have to worry about your scent fading again. Top up and you're good to go.
Bonus Stylish Men's Accessory – Rubber Sole Grips
It's tough to look stylish if you're falling on your ass all day long.
Sorry to be blunt guys, but that's a hard truth.
The annoying thing about dress shoes is that the more money you spend, the more likely you're going to fall over while wearing them. Seems backward, right?
Well, the reason is quite logical – expensive shoes usually feature high-quality leather soles. This type of sole looks great, but the leather is very slippery. Until you wear those bad boys in, you're gonna be in danger of falling into some pretty embarrassing situations.
Don't worry, guys – there is a way to wear your finest dress shoes without the worry of slipping on every surface underfoot.
When it comes to stylish men's accessories – this one is often overlooked:
Rubber sole grips.
Sole grips attach to the base of the shoes (usually at the center of the sole) and provide traction for footwear that would otherwise have none. They come pretty inexpensive compared to a new pair of winter shoes and will last you the whole winter if applied correctly.
Keeping a pack of rubber sole grips as part of your everyday carry can get you out of some tricky situations if the weather suddenly turns bad.
How are Rubber Sole Grips applied?
To apply a rubber sole grip to your shoes, follow these simple steps:
- Purchase shoe grip of appropriate side and color
- Position shoe grip on the outer sole of the shoe
- Press firmly for 30 seconds
- Wait 6 hours before wearing shoes
- Put your shoes on and walk with confidence!
The idea of rubber sole grips is to give you the safest walk possible. Make sure you apply them correctly so that they can do their job effectively and efficiently. Not only that, but a shoe grip can also extend the longevity of your shoe sole by adding a layer of protection between the hard ground and your expensive leather sole. It's an incredibly functional example of great stylish men's accessories.
Pro Tip: Can't find anywhere to buy rubber sole grips? No Problem – sandpaper can be used to create a rougher surface on the sole of your shoes. Rub the paper against the sole to form a coarse surface which will aid with traction. Using a knife to score the sole can achieve the same effect. Not the best example of stylish men's accessories but it'll be fine for a quick fix.
There are so many more stylish men's accessories that I could recommend to you, gents.
For even more way to up your style game check out my list of essential accessories every stylish man should own.