Are Pearls the New Gender-Neutral Style Statement for Men?

The surge in men adorning pearls challenges entrenched gender norms, with Mikimoto as a driving force, ushering in a new era and breaking the confines of traditional elegance.

Men in pearls: Is it just a passing trend, or have they evolved into an enduring symbol of style? Mikimoto, a venerable name synonymous with exquisite pearls and boasting a legacy of excellence spanning over a century, is banking on the timeless appeal of men adorning pearls. While this progressive trend isn’t entirely new, it gained significant momentum just before the pandemic, finding its stride as the fashion industry navigates the evolving currents of gender fluidity. Reflecting a more inclusive society, the pandemic has further propelled this movement, solidifying pearls as a powerful and enduring element in contemporary men’s fashion.

men adorning pearls

As early as 2016, pearls graced the catwalk, notably when Pharrell Williams boldly modelled multiple strings at Chanel. However, this trend has truly taken flight in recent years. Indeed, pearls on men have gone beyond mere fashion. It also serves as expressions of androgyny or celebrations of diverse identities, delicately pushing the boundaries of gender norms. In a world where style transcends conventional limits, men are embracing accessories once deemed exclusively feminine, propelling the resurgence of pearls into the forefront of gender-fluid expression.

Shattering Traditions and Embracing Unconventional Elegance

From the streets of Paris and Milan to Orchard Road, the heart of Singapore’s shopping district, men are boldly incorporating pearls into their personal style. Does this represent a challenge to conventional notions of masculinity? Perhaps, or maybe it’s simply a departure from traditional standards.

Even leading fashion titles, including Vogue magazine, are spotlighting this trend. Influential figures like A$AP Rocky and A$AP Nast were prominently featured, skillfully integrating pearls into their unorthodox and spontaneous fashion choices. The exciting trend became all the rage when Mikimoto presented its exquisite collaboration pieces with Comme des Garçons and Mikimoto in 2020. This not only marked another significant milestone for the brand but also added more vibrancy to the fashion scene. The collection showcased spikes, studs, and silver hardware, exemplifying the fusion of edginess with traditionally elegant pearls, redefining notions of gendered fashion.

“At its heart, the collaboration bridged the gap between Mikimoto’s classic pearl strands and Comme des Garçons’ modern and subversive interpretations, showcasing the different possibilities of pearls,” says Miss Amanda Wu, the Director of Mikimoto Singapore, who shared her valuable insights into the challenges for men in pearls.

One thing is certain: the widespread popularity of pearls signifies not an intrinsic act of defiance but a much-welcomed departure from traditional standards, breaking the mould while embracing all things soft and extravagant.

Social Media’s Catapult and Celebrity Spark

The sway of social media in reflecting this fashion revolution is also unmistakable. Insights from Pinterest reported a substantial surge in online searches for pearl dresses, tripling in 2021 and underscoring an escalating fascination with this timeless gem. Concurrently, there is a doubling in searches for pearl-themed parties and rings, particularly sought-after for weddings. Meanwhile, a notable seven-fold increase in searches for men’s jewellery, specifically pearl necklaces, is indicative of the burgeoning interest in pearls that transcends traditional expectations.

As this trend gains momentum, propelled by the active embrace of celebrities and prominent figures, it transforms into a cultural phenomenon. Simultaneously, social media platforms inundate our feeds with images and posts featuring iconic personalities, including Harry Styles, Pharrell Williams, and even Sir Elton John, who have unabashedly adorned themselves with pearls. Going beyond the realms of music and entertainment, sports stars like Raheem Sterling, James Maddison, and Joc Pederson have also confidently sported pearls on the field, effectively dismantling the stereotype that confines pearls solely to red carpets. In a noteworthy campaign, Mikimoto showcased pearls on celebrities like James Jirayu, Taishi Nakagawa, and global brand ambassador, Chinese actor Song Wei Long.

men adorning pearls
Global Brand Ambassador, Song Wei Long | MIKIMOTO

Mikimoto’s Love Pearls Campaign

Amid this movement is Mikimoto, an esteemed house in the luxury segment. Celebrating its 130th anniversary last year, Mikimoto continued to champion this message with the launch of a “Love Pearls” campaign, demonstrating how modern men can effortlessly incorporate pearls into their everyday style.

“More men are indeed wearing pearls, and the best way to begin is simply to choose a piece that one would feel most comfortable in. It is only when a person is at ease and feels confident that they look their best,” says Amanda Wu. In addition to the campaign, Mikimoto offers other jewellery collections like the PASSIONOIR collection, as well as V Code and M Signature, providing diverse options that can be worn together, depending on one’s style. Beyond these specific collections, the brand also features many pieces of its existing pearl jewellery worn by men.

In a realm where fashion serves as a canvas for self-expression, the surge in men in pearls powerfully challenges entrenched gender norms. Mikimoto continues to drive this movement through its dynamic “Love Pearls” campaign, collections, collaborations, and partnerships with leading celebrities, shattering the confines of traditional elegance. Clearly, pearls have transcended the shackles of tradition. Whether you’re a trailblazer or a devoted fashion aficionado, consider elevating your wardrobe with a strand of pearls, infusing it with timeless elegance. In this realm, style knows no gender boundaries.