Whether what’s in your wardrobe lives and dies by what’s happening at Fashion Week, or, quite frankly, you couldn’t care less, the truth is that trends born on the catwalk will trickle down to inform your style. Whether you like it or not.
And if fashion powerhouses like Italian label Valentino and luxury streetwear favourite Vetements are anything to go by, men’s earrings are about to have a serious moment.
For some celebrities though, earrings are less of a trend, more an evergreen style statement. Take Jamie Foxx, for example – has anyone seen the star without his signature studs? Or that self-proclaimed “pretty motherf*cker,” A$AP Rocky, whose look wouldn’t be complete without his diamond earrings.
That’s also true for the sartorially savvy men who do their shopping at London boutique Machine-A. “Our store is quite unisex, so we have always had men who wear earrings,” says business manager Mia Poirier. But what about if you’re more of a tentative shopper? Throw caution to the wind. “Accessories are not to be feared. They’re just decoration, so you shouldn’t be afraid.”
Before you take the plunge into the final frontier of men’s jewellery, here are all the practical considerations of a piercing.
Earrings For Men: What To Consider
The Piercing Itself
How and where you start your ear decoration journey depends on the type of piercing you’re looking for. High street jewellers can often do a bog-standard lobe piercing. But as you move up the ear – to where it no longer feels fleshy – it turns to cartilage, and the piercing gun will no longer cut it. Instead, you’ll need someone to pierce you with a needle.
Don’t, whatever you do, just wander into the nearest back-alley tattoo parlour you see. Ask pierced and tatted friends for trusted recommendations, and if that doesn’t help, you’ll have to sift your way through Google reviews, we’re afraid.
Age ain’t nothing but a number, wrote R.Kelly for a then underage Aaliyah to sing. Grim. But when it comes to earrings, people, unlike hummus, do not have a best before date.
Granted, there are cases when anything other than a simple stud past a certain age can come across a bit try-hard. But if you have enough swagger, you can pull anything off. Check out the hoops on London-based architect and artist Abe Odedina, who’s approaching his sixth decade, if you don’t believe us.
While a sharks tooth dangling from your ear might sit a little uneasily at a black tie event, there aren’t really any hard and fast rules when it comes to picking an earring. “It completely depends on the customer, as they all have different styles. Some might want something subtle, whereas others want something dramatic.”
Think of picking earrings as being similar to shopping for a suit or sneakers. There are styles that you’re naturally drawn to, and it’s usually wise to go with your gut. There’s nothing stopping you from wearing a dangly earring if you want to, but you’ll probably instinctively know whether it will suit your look.
The Best Types Of Earrings For Men
The simple stud is what you’ll get pierced with if it’s just your lobe staring down the barrel of the gun. You’ll have to leave it in for eight weeks while the hole heals – take the stud out any sooner and it’ll close up – so you’re going to have to embrace this style regardless of whether you see yourself as more of a hoop man.
Think David Beckham in the ’00s and Romeo Beckham in the here and now, who looks suspiciously like he might have been raiding his dear old dad’s jewellery box. Hoops might be a little bit more adventurous than the simple stud, but they’re also the comfortable option. Get a pair of aptly named ‘sleeper’ earrings (designed so they can be worn at night), and you never have to take them out.
The punchiest of the men’s earring options, this one requires the most sartorial bravery or inclination to peacock. Take Johnny Depp, who has worn dangly earrings since way before it was necessary to add the prefix ‘problematic’ to his name. Or look to an ’80s Rob Lowe and, more recently, Snoop Dogg for inspiration.
The Best Materials For Men’s Earrings
If you’re reading a guide to men’s earrings, chances are this isn’t your first foray into the world of metal accessories (a simple bracelet or watch is a much easier place to start). However, if you’re still not sure whether you suit gold or silver, use your body as a guide.
As a general rule, warm skin tones suit gold, while silver works better with cooler skin. An easy way to determine which category you fall into is to look at the veins on the underside of your wrist or the inside of your elbow. If they appear blue, your skin is cool; if they’re more of a green shade, you have warm tones.
Silver – along with platinum and white gold – jewellery works well for all kinds of earrings. It can look sleek, punky and also lend itself to a hippyish aesthetic. Fun fact, sailors traditionally wore silver earrings as a way to pay for their burial were they to die at sea and wash ashore on a strange land.
Gold earrings look far too regal to ever be punky, but they do lend themselves to a romantic, vintage look – think Lord Byron reclining on a sofa. A gold hoop also looks surprisingly good with sportswear. Don’t ask us why. We don’t make the rules.
The likes of silver screen (and style) superstar Michael B Jordan have rescued the diamond from only being the preserve of a Third Division footballer. However, a diamond stud set should probably be reserved for suited and booted days to avoid their sartorial relegation.
The Best Jewellery Brands For Men’s Earrings
Brooklyn-based Martine Ali’s unapologetic fusing of punk and 90’s hip-hop aesthetics is winning her legions of fans. Her statement heavy metal earrings are also pretty reasonably priced given the amount of silver used.
Head to everyone’s favourite behemoth of an online store for an extensive range of sterling silver and gold-plated earrings, with a particularly strong selection of simple hoops. They also have a few ear cuffs if you’re not a fan of needles.
Danish designer Maria Black offers a masterclass in sleek Scandinavian simplicity with her unique men’s jewellery. Handcrafted in London, her earrings are a failsafe option, whether you’re dipping a toe into the trend with something smaller or embracing your inner Jack Sparrow with a stonking great hoop.
Pearls Before Swine
Think earthy rather than flashy and polished from this Canadian jewellery brand. Designer Himo Martin plays around with organic and nature-inspired shapes, making use of handsomely brushed silver and raw black diamonds.
This London-based designer’s earrings have been picked up by some of the coolest shops across the globe, with the likes of Machine-A in London and Tokyo’s aptly named GR8 lining their shelves with his wares. Find flames, hooks and hoops crafted from precious metals. Not one for wallflowers.
Stolen Girlfriends Club
The earrings at Stolen Girlfriend’s Club are decidedly masc4masc, with skulls, snake bites and daggers making up some of the designs from this Kiwi surf brand’s cool collection of jewellery.