On Trend: Men's Rings

by Kiley Schiffman Storrs

For thousands of years, men have worn rings to signify social status, wealth, or association to a group or family. Recent times had seen the wearing of rings decline, but the ring as an accessory is back, with a multitude of options on how to wear this timeless piece. For the modern man, wearing a ring beyond a wedding band is a statement, but the statement you make is totally up to you. Wearing a ring is the perfect way to accessorize any outfit without going overboard as rings are one of the most versatile jewelry options for men. Whether you are showing off your allegiance to an organization or university, your commitment to that special person in your life, or simply making a fashion-forward statement on the day, a ring is a perfect choice.

Depending on your personal style, you can wear a ring on only one finger, or as part of a larger group of rings spread across your hands to make a statement. There are some simple rules for where and how to wear your new accessories, but ultimately the choice on how to make your statement is up to you.

Right Hand v. Left Hand

There aren’t many strict rules on which hand you wear your ring, with a few steadfast common practices. Engagement and wedding rings are rich with cultural traditions, from beginning on the left hand and moving to the right, or beginning on the right hand and remaining there. While you won’t find many other rules for wearing a ring, we always suggest considering your dominant hand and the necessary tasks of your day that could impact your decision on where to place your ring.

Pinky & Thumb

In some societies, a thumb ring is a sign of wealth and influence. Thumb rings tend to be larger and bulkier to both fit the larger circumference of the thumb and to reflect the tradition of wealth. The thumb is often a popular choice for a ring as it provides space between two rings on the same hand. We recommend you keep a thumb ring bold and simple while staying away from gaudy or expensive-looking pieces. Pinky rings, by contrast, are essentially decorative and smaller so they don’t impact the ability to do things with your hands. Rings on the most external digit also don’t touch or interfere with the heavily-used index finger, making them a great choice for an accessory ring. Pinky rings tend to be statement pieces, but can also be more toned down by wearing a slim ring with a subdued tone.

The Ring Finger

In much of North and South America, the ring finger is commonly associated with marriage. For men a simple band is the tradition, so wearing a large ring with a jewel or other three-dimensional design would be less likely to be perceived as a symbol of marriage. The right-hand ring finger can be a great place for an accessory ring as the outside of the hand tends to be used less for everyday tasks. The ring finger has traditionally been the placement for rings of vows as it was long believed that the vein in the left finger was the only vein which continued uninterrupted to the heart, literally connecting your vow to your heart.

The Middle Finger

The largest and boldest choice for a ring is located in the center of the hand. Rings on the middle finger are very uncommon, mostly due to the proximity to the pointer finger which is heavily used in daily life. This adjacent location to the index finger makes keeping a middle finger ring choice simple and small ideal for everyday use without hindering manual tasks.

The Index Finger

Wearing a ring on the most used finger of the hand might sound like a constant hassle, but surprisingly a ring on this finger does not interfere with function nearly as much as wearing a ring on the middle finger. The index finger is a good place for a class ring, fraternal ring, or family crest ring. Athletes often display championship rings on their index finger as it clearly declares achievement.

While wearing a ring on any finger can work depending on your personal style, it is best to keep it to only a few per hand, with space in-between rings. As with any jewelry choice, quality over quantity is the preferred route, making sure that each piece says something unique about your style. When in doubt, each choice should be comfortable and make a statement in line with your personal style.