How To Wear Different Types of Earrings

Women should never go without earrings. Passing on them is an opportunity missed - Jennifer Lopez

We have been wearing earrings for more than 7,000 years. The practice began in Ancient Egypt where they were a symbol of wealth or nobility. Elsewhere, they had a different meaning. In Ancient Greece, they were worn by prostitutes while in Ancient Rome, they were reserved for slaves and the wealthy who were particularly fond of pearl earrings.

In the Middle Ages, earrings had periods of popularity and unpopularity. At one point, church dogma forbade them but thieves, pirates, and the lower class ignored this. In another period, post-Renaissance, earrings were more symbolic for men than women.

The eldest of boys in a family whose mother had been widowed wore an earring in the right earlobe and if a man wore earrings in both pierced ears, it was an indication they were the last of their line and he was excused from war to prevent the family name from disappearing.

Earrings for men gradually fell out of favor and remained so for many, many years. When it became more acceptable, men usually stuck to one ear piercing although more recently, men will happily wear earrings in both ears.

Today we wear earrings as an adornment, a finishing touch, and a statement of personal style. There are many different types of earrings from simple to highly intricate. They are made in countless designs from many different materials and in innumerable colors. You can simply pop them into your ears or you can style them in a modern way to make a statement. Earrings are the most practical piece of jewelry to combine with every outfit.

Before we look at ways to wear them, let’s look at different types of earrings.

Types of Earrings
Hoop earrings
Stud earrings
Dangle earrings
Drop earrings
Chandelier earrings
Cluster earrings
Ear cuffs
Climber earrings (aka crawler earrings)
Threader earrings
Different Types of Earring Fastenings
You should also know that there are different ways to fasten earrings. These different types of earring backing do not usually affect how you wear earrings except for when you have multiple piercings and wear more than one pair of earrings at a time or when you are layering. Fastenings are the part of the earring that is designed for security, the part of the ear the earrings sit on, and also the aesthetic appeal of the earrings.

These fastenings are

Butterfly back (aka push back and friction backs) - the most common type and typically used for stud earrings, they simply slide onto the earring’s post behind the ear lobe
Screw back - these offer more security than butterfly backs and are used on more expensive pieces of jewelry, like diamond studs.
Latch back - used on hoop earrings, latch backs are a hinged post that goes through the ear to snap into a notch on the opposite side.
Lever back - most often used for drop or dangling earrings, this mechanism is a curved piece of metal that goes through the ear into a metal latch.
Saddlebacks - similar to latch and lever backs, they feature a hinged post and metal clasp.
Fish hook (aka French wire) - used only on drop earrings, the fish hook is a curved wire that slides through the ear with the weight of the earring keeping it in place.
La Pousette backs - providing extra security to stud earrings, these backs slot into notches on the earring post with a spring lock mechanism.
Clip-on - designed for unpierced ears, these earrings have a hinge that latches onto the earlobe.
French clips (aka Omega backs) - designed to be worn by those with or without pierced ears, an open, wire clip fits over the post and clutches the earlobe.
Creating a Look with Your Earrings
Now you know the types of different earrings and the way they fasten, there are some other considerations to take into account when styling them.

There is so much flexibility in earring designs so you need to make their versatility work for you. Styling “rules” still matter when creating an earring look. Do you want minimalistic or to make a statement? This means considering

Color - color means looking at how the earring color works with your hair color, eye color, skin tone, and the outfit you want to wear the earrings with. Can you wear white gold earrings with a yellow gold necklace, for example?
Face shape - like color, earrings should flatter your face shape. Earrings can elongate or shorten the look of the length of a face. Generally, diamond and heart-shaped faces work well with longline earrings while studs and climbers can emphasize the horizontal of long faces.
Ear Shape - you might want earrings to accentuate your ear shape, flattering your lobes or helix or you might want them to diminish the size of your lobes.
Earring shape - do you mix shapes across your jewelry suite or should there be some symmetry in the geometry of all pieces?
Hairstyle - this is important because there is little point in wearing a gorgeous pair of statement earrings if they are hidden by your hair. Also, think about whether a certain type of earring will get tangled in your hair. Earrings are meant to be fun, comfortable, and complementary. It’s not fun if you’re forever having to fiddle to set your earring free from strands of hair.
Occasion - there is no best earring for any specific occasion. Usually, the fancier the occasion, the more glamorous the style of earrings can be but if you want to wear your diamond studs to do the weekly grocery run, who says you can’t?
Matching and layering - like all jewelry, earrings are a matter of personal style and taste. Earrings are typically sold in pairs but you can also buy singles. If you want to wear mismatched earrings as a signature look - go for it. It’s also usual to balance earrings - wearing the same on both sides but you can break convention by having a layered ear and one set with just one earring. For example, one look is to wear a matching pair but add a single ear cuff or barbell earring on one side.
How to Wear Stud Earrings
Of all the popular types of earrings, studs are the most versatile. You can find them from the tiniest little droplets of gold to large ostentatious gemstones and diamond studs.

Studs are suitable for any occasion from running errands to a glamorous gala. They can be unobtrusive simple studs making them suitable for settings with restrictions on jewelry such as school or work or they can be highly ostentatious like a large carat single diamond. Many famous names have graced a red carpet or two with diamond studs including Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Will Smith, Usher, and Justin Bieber.

No matter what outfit style or color you choose, there will be a pair of studs that will match. They are a particularly good choice with high necklines (like polo necks or button-down collars because they lack length that would interfere with the look of the clothing item.

Studs are also excellent for ears with multiple piercings. It is common to see a pair of studs being worn alongside a pair of hoops, drops, or dangling earrings.

How to Wear Hoop Earrings
With hoop earrings available in sizes from small to huge, there’s a massive range of looks that can be created with hoops. Like studs, they can be simple or elaborate. Simpler designs are best suited for daywear while those set with gemstones are ideal for formal wear. You can create a boho look with what is known as gypsy-style hoops or cultivate a rock star look with oversized gold hoops (a la Rihanna!)

Hoops can be embellished in various ways. The hoop itself may have some textural feature or it could be set with pave diamonds. It might be threaded with pearls or other precious stones. IT might also be a type of hybrid of a hoop with a dangler, the dangly bit sitting in the dead space created by the hoop, as seen in these below.

14K Gold Hoop Earrings
Also, bear in mind that hoop earrings are not limited to a circular shape. They can be angular and geometric including square, diamond, and triangular.

types of earrings
14K Gold Diamond Shape Hoop Earrings
When you choose something that isn’t a pair of traditional hoop earrings, you’ll need to pay attention to the other pieces of jewelry you’ll wear with them. Non-traditional hoops will probably be defined as statement earrings and it is usually best to only wear one statement piece in an outfit. You shouldn’t pick a statement necklace to wear with statement hoops unless of course they were a matching set and designed to be worn together.

How to Wear Threader Earrings
This type of earring has seen growth in recent years and has been popularized by celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Anna Kendrick. Threader earrings consist of a long fine dangly chain usually with a smooth bar at one end (to facilitate the push/pull through the ear) and a motif at the other.

There is no limit on the design for the end motif. It can be a simple ball finial or a precious stone in a fancy setting. Threader earrings can be effortlessly glamorous or chic and sophisticated.

types of earrings
14K Gold Diamond Thread Earrings - 14k Solid White Gold
Threader earrings can be used to make very interesting and eye-catching looks when you have multiple ear piercings. They can be threaded through holes at different lengths to create dimensional interest by being wrapped, loosely wrapped, or draped and also be mixed and matched with other earring types.

How to Wear Dangle Earrings
Some might say that chandelier earrings and drop earrings are both types of dangler earrings but while they do indeed dangle, they are not strictly dangler earrings. Dangle earrings swing from side to side. The main part of the earring hangs below the earlobes and will move when the wearer speaks or moves their head.

The length of dangler earrings varies greatly - some are short while others can be so long as to brush the shoulder.

14K Gold Dangle Earrings
To make the most of dangler earrings, they are best when fully visible. They should not be entangled in hair or their length hidden by collars.

Like all earring types, designs have a great diversity - some are the ultimate in simplicity while others are intricately exquisite.

types of earrings
14K Gold Dangle Block Earrings
How to Wear Chandelier Earrings
By their very nature, chandelier-type earrings are meant to be a statement. They are showy, elaborately patterned, may be a mix of colors, set with gemstones, and have staggered lengths. Every woman should have chandelier earrings in their jewelry collection, after all the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Penelope Cruz can’t be wrong.

Chandelier earrings don’t suit every look. A pair just wouldn’t look right with a business suit. For casual looks and boho looks, cheaper, junky-looking chandeliers are perfect. For formal occasions, shiny earrings set with gemstones that sparkle like the light fitting they are named for are ideal.

Getting the look right is all about proportions. For a thin face, choose broad chandelier earrings and the opposite for broad. round faces. Also, consider hair length. If your hair is very short, do not choose earrings that drop below your jawline as this creates a disproportionate look.

How to Wear Other Types of Earrings
We haven’t covered every earring type in detail. This is because of those we haven’t, the ways of styling them pretty much fall under threader, dangler, and chandelier earrings.

For example, for drop earrings, styling tips are that they are best when fully visible (unhindered by hair). The same applies to teardrop earrings. Think of tassel earrings as being like chandelier earrings and style accordingly.

Two types not discussed are jacket earrings and climber earrings. Both these styles are to provide the look of several earrings except they are physically just one earring going through just one piercing. Climber earrings are designed to “climb” up the side of the earlobe. Jacket earrings are quite different from other types of earrings. They consist of a stud that sits on the front of the ear lobe and then there is an arrangement that sits behind and below the lobe.

A type that has grown in popularity recently is huggies. These are small hooped earrings that sit very close (even resting on) the ear lobe. Huggie earrings are usually chunkier than regular hoops.

A good jewelry collection will contain examples of different types of earrings. What you chose to have in your box is very much down to individual style and preference as are the looks you will create with them.

“Life without earrings is empty!” Elizabeth Taylor

Shop Lealor Jewelry