Men's earrings are an intrinsic part of many ancient civilisations and have a cultural significance for many people around the world. There is no clear-cut evidence which definitively tells us who first introduced earrings for men, it might have been the Persians or the Egyptians, or far more likely it was a culture which predated these civilisations by many hundreds or thousands of years.
In modern times, thanks to changing tastes and opinions on acceptable men’s jewellery, earrings are more popular than ever. They are no longer exclusively relegated to punk culture or pirate wannabees, white-collar middle-income male workers can and do wear earrings, with barely a batted eyelid.
As earrings surge in popularity, so to do the styles and types available, with innovative and interesting designs coming from many established and new jewellery designers. No longer are men restricted to only hoops and stud earrings, while these are still a staple, there are uncountable variations, styles, designs and finishes available. With so many options available, different looks have been popularised by various sub-cultures and have in some ways come to represent a genre of music or group.
It’s easy and understandable to feel overwhelmed with the choices available, so with that in mind, we’ve created this article to ease the decision buying process and maybe even provide a bit of insightful information.
Earrings Associated with Musical Genres
The classic rap look nearly always includes a set of stud earrings that are made from diamonds, cubic zirconia, gold or other precious metals. This type of earring not only represents style, it will invariably be worn to indicate status as well.
An earring made from stainless steel, silver, titanium or barbells are often associated with metal or other types of alternative music. A single metal stud or gemstone can often be associated with country music.
While these statements are quite generalised and sweeping, they are only intended to provide a rough guide, and should not be taken as gospel. Someone that likes rap can, of course, wear a barbell earring and someone that likes metal can wear a pair of diamond stud earrings, there is no hard and fast rule.
Men's Stud Earrings
Stud earrings are a type of post earring which gives the impression of floating freely on the ear. The stud earrings are made from a rod that penetrates the earlobes cartilage and will often be adorned with a metal stud, gemstone or another type of decoration on the front. Recently skins have become available that are intended to cover the metal stud earring, these are quite often brightly coloured and may even glow in the dark.
Studs are one of the easiest types of men's earrings to wear. They generally look good if you’re clever about how you wear them and can be easily matched to the clothes you’re wearing. We would advise using stud earrings to enhance your overall look, rather than using them as a standalone statement piece. The available stud designs are quite substantial, so there’s likely something that’ll match your style preference. I would suggest sticking with small designs such as circles or crosses until you’re comfortable wearing earrings and you begin to develop your own earing sense of style.
Men's Hoop Earrings
Hoop earrings are traditionally circular or semi-circular in shape and are made from a hollow tube which uses a post or wire to penetrate the earlobe.
If you’re interested in wearing hoop hearings, try to stick to small hoops that don’t hang below your ear, unless of course, you’re a pirate, in which case go crazy. Hoop earrings are best suited to casual situations, paired with jeans and a t-shirt they create a great relaxed look. Stick with silver or gold colours, unless you’re looking for a more eccentric look.
Men's Barbell Earrings
Barbell earrings look exactly like you’d expect them to look, a straight bar with a ball at each end. Bent versions are also available, but are slightly less common. Barbell earrings come in a range of sizes and finishes. Longer ones are usually used to go from the top of the ear down to the bottom.
This type of earring can be quite risqué and flamboyant, which might not be the best option for a traditional office job, but might work quite well if you work in a club or bar.
Men's Novelty Earrings
A novelty earring is a broad term that applies to almost every style available. They are often an attachment or skin which applies to an earrings ball or studs and can be changed whenever you want a new look. Some of the styles you might see are cartoon characters, bright colours, pop culture references, skulls, guns etc.
Novelty earrings have their place in the world, but I wouldn’t make a habit out of wearing them every day. They are probably best kept for special occasions, festivals, nights out and any other social situation that warrants a bit of flair.
Men's Spacers or Plug Earrings
Spacers are also commonly known as plugs, gaps or flesh tunnels (gag) but they all accomplish the same thing. They are sometimes made from a solid cylinder that goes into the earlobe which will stay in place due to the flared design of the cylinder. Other varieties can include a hollow middle, these can also be called bullet holes. Wearers will typically increase the gauge of the earring over time until the desired size is reached.
There’s no denying that spacer earrings are quite popular in the alt crowd. It’s a look that has its fans and opponents, you’ll either love the look or hate it. Just be aware that you may need to have cosmetic surgery in order to return your earlobe to its original shape if you ever decide it’s not for you anymore.
Mens Magnetic Earrings
If you don’t want to have your ears pierced but still want to try out earrings, then magnetic earrings are one of the choices available. Magnetic earrings normally come in the form of a stud which is held in place by a magnet at the back of the ear.
Mens Clip On Earrings
Like magnetic earrings, clip-on earrings are an option for anyone that doesn’t want to have their ears pierced. Clip-on earrings will typically attach to the ear by way of a hinged clip and will often have a charm attached to them.
When to Wear Mens Earrings
Like almost every other accessory, there are times when it’s appropriate to wear earrings and there are times when it’s not. Depending on where you work, it’s probably not advisable to wear earrings while at the office. However, if you work somewhere that readily accepts accessories such a creative design studio, or your work for yourself, then you might get away with wearing earrings.
In terms of style, showing off a couple of diamond studded earrings while wearing smart suite might not be the best choice. It’ll likely detract and distract from the suit much in the same way a flashy belt buckle would.
If you’re playing sports or working out, then leave your earrings at home. Having a hole ripped in your ear or being hit on the ear with a ball hurts at least 10 times as much when you’re wearing an earring. Also, hygienically speaking, you probably don’t want to be sweating all over your earrings.
Despite covering scenarios when you shouldn’t wear your earrings first, there are plenty of times when you can and your outfit can positively benefit from a couple of earrings. If you’re heading out for a few drinks after work, then adding a couple of dark colour stud earrings can add a sophisticated style to your outfit. Match the colour to what you’re already wearing and the earrings will subtly add to your look, blending in and accentuating your appearance just like any good accessory should.
There are of course many smart casual situations which can benefit from wearing men's earrings. If you’re going out for dinner with friends or on a date, then you can absolutely wear earrings, if you’re going to a gig or out to the pub, then wearing earrings can positively improve your look. Basically, any setting which isn’t overly formal might be a good situation to wear your earrings.
As a rule of thumb, if you can wear trainers then you can probably wear earrings. If you need to wear smart polished shoes, then you probably shouldn’t wear earrings.
Lastly, whether you wear on earring or two is completely up to your sense of style. Just do what feels right for you.