Watch Guide: How to Style a Watch with your Clothes

How to Style a Watch with your Clothes

watches that matches your outfit

Congratulations on your new wristwatch! It’s natural to want to showcase it, but it’s important to consider how you pair it with your outfit. Wearing a watch that clashes with your clothing can give off the wrong impression. While there are no hard and fast rules, there are some general guidelines for styling a watch with an outfit.

If you have a limited watch collection, it may be challenging to match every piece with each outfit. However, there are still basic considerations you can keep in mind to ensure that your watch and outfit complement each other perfectly. By following these guidelines, you can make sure your watch-outfit combinations always look stylish and polished.

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How do you style a watch with an outfit?

Picture this: a poised, stylish man at a black tie event who commands attention with his posture. He reaches for his wrist to check the time, revealing a Casio calculator watch with a rubber strap. The moment is ruined.

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Gentlemen, this is the power of a wristwatch. It may seem like a small accessory, but it can make or break your entire outfit, much like your belt. Since men typically wear limited jewelry, a watch is a significant expression of their personality. Owning more than one allows you to match the appropriate timepiece with your outfit and the formality of the occasion.

But how do you style a watch with an outfit to create an elevated and complementary look? Here are six guidelines to help you avoid distracting fashion faux pas and make your watch a stylish addition to your wardrobe.

#1. Match the Formality of Your Watch With the Formality of Your Outfit

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When it comes to styling a watch with an outfit, the main principle is to match the formality of your watch with that of your clothes. There are two broad categories of watches: analog and digital.

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Digital watches with rubber or plastic straps are best suited for athletic wear and don’t require much thought when it comes to pairing them with clothes. Analog watches, on the other hand, are more formal and suitable for business, formal events, and casual everyday wear.

Within the analog category, there are five main types of men’s watches: dress, dive, racing/driving, pilot, and field. Each type of watch has its unique features and is suitable for different dress codes.

For black tie/white tie events, a simple, classic dress watch with a small face and black leather band is appropriate. For a business dress, a simple, classic gold or silver watch with a thin dial and limited complications is best.

For sharp casual outfits, larger watch faces and watches with more complications are suitable, and pilot, racing, or field watches complement these outfits well. For casual wear, all types of watches except dress watches are suitable, and field watches are ideal for physical activities.

Smartwatches are not recommended for social occasions and formal business events. If you must wear one for business, keep it to situations in which a sharp casual or lower dress code prevails, and never check it while talking to someone. For a more formal business dress, a more formal watch is preferable.

#2. Match the Formality of the Watch Strap to the Formality of Your Outfit

Once you have an idea of what type of watch would match the formality level of your outfit, you can refine your search by considering the material of the watch strap.

Here are two guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Leather watch straps, particularly sleek ones, are typically considered more formal than metal straps.
  2. Black leather is more formal than brown leather.

While gold or silver metal straps may not be suitable for the most formal events, they can work well for dressy occasions when they complement the rest of your outfit.

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However, there is an exception to the leather-is-formal rule. Rough, rugged, and worn-in leather straps, such as those found on field watches, are better suited for casual wear like jeans, rather than a suit.

#3. Leather Complements Leather

If you’re wearing a watch with a leather strap, you can use the material and color of your shoes as a reference for choosing the watchband. Here’s what you should do:

First, match your belt with your shoes. Then, match your watch with both.

If you’re wearing black shoes and a black belt, you should wear a black watchband. If you’re wearing brown shoes and a brown belt, you should wear a brown watchband. The watchband doesn’t have to be exactly the same color as your shoes and belt, but it should be a similar tone, whether that be light, medium, or dark.

#4. Metal Complements Metal (And Your Clothes/Shoes)

Different metals are used to make watch cases and bands, including steel, gold, silver, platinum, and titanium. It’s important to choose a watch with metal that complements the metal accents of your other accessories, such as rings, cuff links, shoe buckles, and belt buckles, so that everything matches.

The metals don’t have to match exactly, but they should be in the same color family. For example, you can wear a rose gold watch with a yellow gold belt buckle, as they are close enough in color.

#5. Metal Bands Look Better With Certain Colors of Shoes/Clothes

If your watch has a metal strap, you can wear it with either brown or black shoes and it will look good. However, some colors of metal look better with certain colors of clothes or shoes.

If your watch has silver color, it will look best if you wear it with clothes or shoes that are black, gray, or blue.

On the other hand, if your watch has gold color, it will look best if you wear it with clothes or shoes that are brown, beige, tan, or other earthy colors.

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#6. Heirloom Watches Bend the Rules

An heirloom piece is something that has been passed down through a family and represents their history and culture. These pieces are often worn as a good luck charm or to remember the original owner.

If you have an heirloom watch, you don’t have to follow the latest fashion trends when you wear it. The watch is more important as a reminder of your family’s history and culture. You can even break the rules about what is considered fashionable when you wear an heirloom watch.

Wearing an heirloom piece can be a great conversation starter and help you stand out in people’s memories.


In conclusion, knowing how to style a watch with your clothes can elevate your fashion game and make a lasting impression. Choosing the right watch to match your outfit, whether it’s a leather strap, metal bracelet, or smartwatch, can make a significant difference in how you look and feel.

Matching the color of your watch to your clothes is important to create a cohesive look. Silver watches go best with black, gray, and blue shades, while gold watches complement browns, beiges, and earth tones. You can also consider the size and shape of your watch to ensure it complements your outfit.

It’s important to remember that fashion rules are not set in stone, and heirloom pieces allow you to bend or even break them to make a personal statement. Ultimately, the watch you wear should be a reflection of your personal style and taste.

By following the tips in this watch guide, you can confidently style your watch with your clothes and create a polished and fashionable look that will leave a lasting impression.

Written by Dusty Jewels

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