February 2021

The 35 Different Types of Bracelets and How to Wear Them

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The 35 Different Types of Bracelets and How to Wear Them

Name one accessory anybody can wear with any style. 

The answer may surprise you because it’s an often-overlooked item though everybody has worn one at some point in their lives. Did you guess it?  The answer is bracelets. From beaches to ballrooms, there are types of bracelets to fit any wardrobe, event, and personality.  

Even if you haven’t worn one since you were in the hospital as an infant, bracelets could be the best accessory in your ensemble. Bracelets can do wonders to tie an outfit together, glimmer or tinkle enough to set you apart in a room full of people, or spread a message that’s dear to your heart.

What are the Most Popular Bracelets?

Though bracelets remain a staple accessory, the style trends change by the season. Naturally, some types of bracelets are timeless, like leather bracelets for men or delicate crystal bracelets for women. If you’re struggling to keep on top of trends, you may want to stick with these classic styles.

Popular Bracelets for Men

Bracelets allow men to accessorize and make a statement. Men can wear them casually or add a little pizzazz for a formal affair. 

Beaded bracelets are affordable and versatile enough for any occasion. Look for natural stones and neutral colors. 

Leather bracelets can cost you a little more, but they look classier with subtle masculinity. 

Stainless steel stands the test of time. Whether you opt for a chain or link style or stainless steel accents, you can expect the bracelet to hold up well. 

Couples bracelets are popular for men and women, especially for distance relationships. They serve as a reminder of your partner.

Popular Bracelets for Women

As with most accessories, women have more choices than men, but some styles fare better than others. Naturally, there are multiple variations and plenty of overlap between types of bracelets, but these remain some of the most popular choices.  

Crystal bracelets look sparkly and expensive at a glance, but they cost far less than a diamond alternative. When you need to roll from work to happy hour to date night, few accessories can manage the transitions like crystal. 

Bangles jingle and draw attention to their wearer. They’re loose and attractive on any wrist, making them a versatile option. 

Cuff bracelets have open ends that usually feature decorations, and you can stack them with complementary pieces, including watches. 

Simple chain bracelets create a minimalist look but can make a statement with one simple charm.  

Charm bracelets involve a chain with several attached charms that say something about the wearer.

Beaded Bracelets: Are They In or Out?

Beaded bracelets remain one of the most popular styles because they are affordable, versatile, and aesthetically pleasing. Most commonly, beads are stone, wood, or plastic, but it’s not unusual to find glass or metal beads.  

One of the appealing aspects of beaded bracelets is that they often incorporate various textures and colors to relay a message. For example, some of the beaded bracelets made in Africa use multiple materials and even feature words or phrases.  

It’s easy to see why beaded bracelets remain a staple accessory. They can be colorful or neutral, fancy or casual, so there’s an option for anyone.

The Reason to Wear a Bracelet: Bracelets for a Cause

Aside from looking aesthetically pleasing, bracelets can say something about the wearer and what they believe in. From reforestation and ocean conservation to fighting cancer or disease, there are hundreds of causes you can support with the purchase of a simple bracelet. Of course, if flimsy, silicone bracelets that look cheap don’t work with your tastes, you have other options.   

Since beaded bracelets can use various colors, textures, and charms, you can customize them to represent a country, team, or cause. Beaded bracelets can look classy and make a statement. Plus, purchasing unique bracelets from small businesses or organizations that contribute to communities in need is empowering for the maker and the wearer!  

For example, Ubuntu’s bracelet collection features a selection of accessories that combine beautiful colors with powerful messages. The bracelets are made in Africa and support children with special needs throughout Kenya.  

We also proudly partnered with Product Red, an organization that helps fund the fight against HIV/AIDs and COVID-19. You can support Product Red with bracelets made in Africa.

The 35 Different Types of Bracelets

As promised, we’re here to break down 35 different types of bracelets you can buy, make, and wear. Some styles serve a specific purpose, while others are extremely versatile accessories that work anywhere, but all of them can add flair and personality to your wardrobe.

1. Delicate Bracelets 

Don’t confuse delicate bracelets with dainty tennis bracelets because they can be larger pieces. Delicate bracelets use thinner, finer materials to create larger pieces. Though the individual components may be wire-thin, the finished piece could be several inches long and wrap around your wrist with delicate clasp closure.

2. Infinity Bracelets 

From cuffs to chains, this bracelet class utilizes the infinity symbol in the design. Some crafters incorporate one symbol while others link several of the horizontal figure eight to create a stunning accessory. Infinity bracelets represent hope, empowerment, and everlasting love or affection.

3. Leather Bracelets 

From rock stars to bikers to hippies and everyone in between, leather bracelets make a statement. You can slap a clasp on a basic leather strap and wrap it around your wrist for a simple accessory. Or, get a little creative and add on studs or charms to dress it up a bit. 

Technically, any bracelet made of leather falls under this classification, but don’t let the broad term fool you. Leather bracelets could be a single, plain piece or multiple pieces in different colors stacked or braided together.

4. Chain Bracelets 

Chain bracelets come in various sizes, but all have clasp closures. They involve metal loops linked together to form a chain. Since they are usually made with some type of metal, they tend to be gold or silver in color.  Some jewelry crafters experiment with variations on the chain bracelets that echo some of the other types on this list. Using different kinds of metal, sizes or shapes of links, or attaching decorative pieces, a simple chain bracelet becomes something more.

5. Charm Bracelets 

Charm bracelets, also known as keepsake bracelets, are basic chains with multiple charms attached. The charms can represent places, hobbies, careers, or even personality traits. They serve as a memory and showcase the wearer’s personal style and preferences. One of the most popular charm bracelets is the highly coveted Pandora collection.

6. Bangle Bracelets 

You can hear these bracelets from a mile away when they’re stacked together. There is no mistaking that tinkling sound, especially if you stack a collection of thin metal bangles!  

These bracelets skip the clasp because they are larger and loose enough to slide over your hand. Bangles have a rigid shape, so they click and clink against each other and everything near you. They may not be the best option for a quiet office or library, but you’ll attract plenty of attention in the town.

7. Braided Bracelets 

Braided or woven bracelets create a unique look by weaving strands together to form a bracelet. You can use almost anything from fabric to leather to pliable metals. Braiding the materials together provides texture to the bracelet, and you can even incorporate different colors or materials.

8. Kada Bracelets 

Kada bracelets are bangles with special significance to Indian women. These ornate accessories represent Indian heritage and serve as symbols of grace and femininity.  

Historically, crafters used natural materials to create the Kada, which were gifted to women at important events, like marriage. Some ceremonies called for different types of materials, but gold is a popular choice. Of course, the traditions vary slightly across India.

9. African Bracelets 

African bracelets represent the colors, craftsmanship, and culture of the continent. The handmade creations, like those in the Ubuntu bracelet collection, showcase bright colors and powerful messages of love and hope. African beaded bracelets are among the most colorful in the world and can be worn anywhere as solo accessories or stacked together.

10. Link Bracelets 

It’s easy to confuse link bracelets and chain bracelets because they do look and feel similar. Link bracelets also use clasp closures and feature pieces linked together like a chain, but they often involve more variety. For example, the links may connect figures or stones set in casings. Some crafters use links to connect a selection of seemingly random pieces.

11. Slap Bracelets 

You may recognize slap bracelets as a popular party favor because they are fun and festive accessories. Kids love the bright colors, fun characters, and silly messages that normally adorn slap bracelets. However, most of the fun comes from putting them on and taking them off. Straighten out the bracelet, slap it against your arm, and it wraps around your wrist.

12. Sports Bracelets 

Most sports don’t permit athletes to wear jewelry for safety reasons, but sports bracelets remain an exception. Since they are usually made of silicone and fit around the wrist, athletes can wear sports bracelets at many sporting events. It’s one way for athletes to show support for brands or causes.

13. Love Bracelets 

Love bracelets make wonderful gifts to people you care about. They often incorporate the word love in some way, like these Ubuntu bracelets. Love bead bracelets spell out the word in many forms and languages because saying “I love you” in any language is special. Of course, any bracelet you give or receive out of love and affection could classify as a love bracelet.

14. Cuffs 

These pieces are rigid like bangles but don’t slide over your hand. Instead, cuffs wrap around your wrist because of an opening on the underside. Typically, crafters make cuffs out of metal, though wood and plastic occasionally work.

15. Medical Alert and Identification Bracelets 

Medical alert and identification bracelets help people in case of an emergency. Alert bracelets feature buttons that allow the user to contact assistance, while identification bracelets notify emergency responders of medical conditions that could affect treatment, like diabetes, hemophilia, or allergies.

16. Health Bracelets 

Some bracelets, like magnetic bracelets and copper bracelets, may have health benefits. For example, some people believe that wearing magnetic bracelets improves circulation. Other sources suggest that copper bracelets can ease some arthritis symptoms.

17. Beaded Bracelets 

Beaded bracelets add color, texture, and flare to any outfit. They can represent a cause, memory, or emotion, like love. Some crafters incorporate games, feathers, or charms to enhance the message or appeal of the beaded bracelet.

Though we tend to associate beaded bracelets with affordable accessorizing, the style is timeless and classic. You can even find versions of beaded bracelets in high-end collections.

18. Multi-Layer or Multi-Strand Bracelets 

Stacking slimmer bracelets is a popular strategy, especially during warmer months. It creates an attractive, fun aesthetic that allows you to mix and match colors, textures, and materials to create a unique look. While it’s generally a summer trend, you can see the style emerging in more formal situations.

19. Slider Bracelets 

If you don’t like clasps, can’t stand bangles flopping around, and don’t want an opening, you may like slider bracelets. Overlapping strings can loosen to fit over your hand and then tighten to find a comfortable, secure fit around your wrist. You can find one for every style, from classy chic to boho.

20. Statement Bracelets 

In short, statement bracelets represent your unique personality. They may be custom made or simply a piece that speaks to the wearer. Statement pieces are bold, unique, and not only stand out but also tie your ensemble together.

21. Wooden Bracelets 

Wooden bracelets may be one of the most distinctive options on the list. While they can overlap with many other styles, wooden bracelets tend to come from a single piece of wood. It can mean one solid bangle or several pieces carved from the piece to create a uniform look. Some crafters can even blend multiple pieces of wood together to resemble a single piece.

22. Designer Bracelets 

The epitome of luxury, designer bracelets represent all things fancy and chic. Imagine jewels and high-end materials, like precious metals, arranged in elaborate and decorative patterns. These pieces are unique, generally one of a kind, custom creations that often become family heirlooms.

23. Tennis Bracelets 

Possibly the most classic bracelet style on the list, the tennis bracelet was known as an eternity bracelet until a fateful tennis match starring Chris Evert. The 18-time tennis champion frequently wore the accessory during matches as part of her signature style. During one fateful match, Evert’s bracelet flew across the court and created a memorable moment. 

These dainty, sophisticated bracelets have been a staple for generations of women, but one tennis match changed their name forever. The slender bracelet almost always features small diamonds but could house other gemstones if you prefer.

24. Bands Bracelets 

Who has ever used a Rainbow Loom and plastic bands? With shockingly bright colors, these bracelets feature dozens of plastic bands joined together in unique patterns. While you’re unlikely to spot a bands bracelet at an office or black-tie affair, they create a casual splash of color on any child’s wrist.

25. Pearl Bracelets 

Pearls are another timeless option, though many people associate them with necklaces more than bracelets. However, pearl bracelets remain a classic, elegant option, especially in combination with a fine metal clasp. White is the most common color, but you can find black, pink, and even coral pearls.

26. Friendship Bracelets 

From summer camps to sleepovers, friendship bracelets remain popular among kids and teens. Not to say that the colorful, braided bracelets that you tie around your best friend’s wrist are the only form of friendship bracelets; it’s just the most commonly associated version.

If you prefer something a little more mature or stylish, or even one you can remove, you have other options. You could purchase matching bracelets or sets with charms that match up to create a full heart when you’re together.

27. Hololiths

Hololiths are like wooden bracelets because crafters carve each one from a single piece of stone. Jade is the most common stone used for hololiths, but since it’s an extremely costly material, some people crafters opt for glass or plastic.

28. Affirmation Bracelets 

Do you need a regular reminder of something to keep going? When you don’t want to tattoo the message on your arm, try an affirmation bracelet. You can choose nearly any bracelet style, but it’s usually a thin metal band with a special word, quote, or phrase that conjures the reminder you need.

29. Stretch Bracelets 

Stretch bracelets are another alternative to clasps and bangles. It’s a common hobby accessory that uses a stretchy material, like elastic. String beads or charms onto the elastic and tie it off to create your bracelet. The elastic piece should stretch enough to go over your hand but then disappear behind the beads to create a seamless look.

30. Memory Wire Bracelets 

Another DIY classic is the memory wire bracelet. Choose a thin wire, or multiple colors of thin wire, to shape and mold into words or designs and then bend them into a bracelet. Either attach a clasp, make it a cuff or connect the wires to a slide to complete the piece.

31. Identification Bracelets 

As the name implies, identification bracelets use your name or the name of somebody special to you. These bracelets are often found in souvenir shops and are synonymous with vacations and travel because they often create memories of special trips. Some even bear cheesy messages or landmarks on one side of the bracelet.

32. Sailing Bracelets  

Sailing bracelets or anchor bracelets have a sea-inspired vibe. A rubber or rope band attaches to a unique metal clasp for an unmistakable nautical aesthetic. Though most versions use nautical color schemes, you can occasionally find unique combinations. The most well-known sailing bracelets are the Omega line named after the popular watches.

33. Wristwatch Bracelets 

When you need to tell the time but prefer something more stylish than a traditional watch, it’s time to combine the two accessories. Wristwatch bracelets feature a watch face set in a stylish bracelet for a unique aesthetic. This bracelet style can mimic the appeal of other types on the list, including chain, leather, and beaded.

34. Shamballa Bracelets 

Shamballa bracelets combine two styles on this list, braided and beaded, to create a symbolic piece. Tibetan Buddhists believe Shamballa is the embodiment of a mythical kingdom of enlightenment, peace, and perfection. The bracelets may be a fashion statement for many, but to some, they represent spirituality.  These bracelets make thoughtful presents for spiritual people. It’s a good idea to consider the color because each color reflects a unique message, like white represents clarity or purity and red is passion or sexuality.

35. Bracelets for Charity 

Bracelets for charity allow the wearers to represent a cause they contribute to and believe in. Whether you receive the bracelet in exchange for a donation or a portion of your purchase goes to a foundation, you acquire an accessory that makes a real statement. 

Though there are multiple styles available, beaded bracelets for charity remain one of the most popular choices. Between custom color combinations and embedded messages, beaded bracelets are more aesthetically pleasing than a rubber band stamped with a word or logo.

Finding the Best Bracelet for Your Style

However you envision your style, the right bracelet can tie everything together. Braided and multi-layer bracelets set off a boho vibe, while the classy, timeless ensemble practically screams for a tennis bracelet. Even athletes can give a shout out to their favorite brand with a sports bracelet. 

With so many types of bracelets, there’s truly something for every taste. Whatever you choose, make sure it tells the world something about you. Of course, if you want to support a worthy cause in style, check out Ubuntu’s stunning bracelet collections.



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