A Brief History of Toggle Bracelets

gold toggle bracelet

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When most of us think of toggle bracelets, our mind jumps to the popular fashion of the early 2000s. A new millennium meant flashy charm bracelets with a toggle clasp, velour jumpsuits, and a LOT of body glitter. These bracelets with a t- shape and loop closure have been around forever; with the clasp type possibly dating back to the Bronze Age. This closure was popularized on necklaces in the early 1800s by boxing legend Jem Belcher. So while many of us may relate the toggle bracelet to millennial female fashion its roots are inherently masculine. A belcher bracelet brings this classic style an edge of luxury and catapults it into 2022.  

The Toggle Clasp 

As early as the bronze age, this t-shape and loop toggle closure was used for jewelry and clothing. This makes sense because it allows the user to dress and accessorize oneself. The toggle is a classic look used for generations before us. Today, this makes a piece easy to take off before a workout or pop on.  

This chain closure style was initially known as the Rolo chain. Jem Belcher, an English boxer with a prize fighter title during the “bare-knuckles-era” of boxing, was known to wear this chain style as a necklace. The minimalist design and toggle closure add the right edge to a classic look.  

Y2K and the Toggle Bracelet 

This bracelet was popularized in the early 2000s with a huge marketing push from Tiffany’s. Every girl had a toggle bracelet with a heart-shaped charm. Many other brands followed suit, and we would see multiple bracelets come into popularity during this period. TJ Maxx was flooded with funky bracelets.  

Yet, we have seen a reimagining of early millennial styles in the last few years. Just as we have matured, so have the fashion trends we brought into focus during our teen years. For example, we have seen a rise in crop tops again; but instead of a low-rise jean, we pair them with high-waisted pant for a more tailored and sophisticated look. The fashion world is embracing these millennial styles again with a more mature adult twist and a lot less body glitter.  

A Classic Look Redefined  

The belcher bracelet features an elaborate etched chain of 18k gold with a bold design on the loop; this feature brings a sense of maturity to a bracelet popularized in our youth. Plus, the design is strong and masculine with a thicker metal and loop style, allowing it to be a unisex piece. If there is one thing the fashion world is teaching us in 2022, it’s that style is fluid, and we can release our preconceived notions of gender when it comes to how we accessorize.  

We can look to the current style icons for this. For example, Harry Styles and Timothy Chalamet are both extremely masculine and yet play with femininity in the way they dress. Harry Styles rocked a dress on the cover of Vogue! Fashion, jewelry, and accessories, these items allow us to show the world who we want to be in this moment: beyond gender or what anyone may expect of us.  

Plus, even though a toggle bracelet may make you think of the gift you got your girlfriend before homecoming, the closure was popularized by a male boxer who fought with his bare hands. This look has come back into style again and again. It’s time the men took a look back and brought it back to its elegant, minimalist, and (frankly) bad-a** roots.  

Expressing Yourself through Jewelry  

If jewelry is a sign of luxury and wealth, a simple, classic, and elegant bracelet can quickly elevate your look: taking you from casual to expensive. Male, female, non-binary, a bracelet can take a casual look into a wow moment. A bracelet makes a statement: it says you are in control of your image and care about how you are presented to the world.  

Try it out. Get your man a toggle bracelet and watch him play out all your Captain Jack Sparrow fantasies with a little 18k gold on his wrist. Maybe use it to accessorize a suit. An elegant touch can add a lot to a look. In a time where we are reinventing all the kitschy things we loved from the new millennium and creating mature, elevated looks, a masculine belcher bracelet is the perfect way to rewrite history.  

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