The return of hoop earrings is upon us. You remember them, don’t you? The gold hoops, small or large, dangling from every 90s icon’s ears. After building up steam since their muted comeback in 2012, the revival of the hoop earring trend has entered full swing with major runway quotations.
Sported by 90s style luminaries like Julia Roberts, the Spice Girls and even Justin Timberlake, hoop earrings defined a whole era of 90s jewellery. Now worn by the likes of Selena Gomez, Angelina Jolie and appearing in collections from big-name houses like Givenchy and Marni, these accessories are set for a powerful revival – here’s a quick guide on how to style hoop earrings for right now.
Back to the future
The 90s hoop earring is itself a rebirth of one of fashion’s earliest trends. Archaeological evidence has shown that hoop earrings were one of the most popular accessories amongst ancient Greeks, Romans and even the Sumerians, one of the world’s oldest civilisations, making the hoop earring several thousand years old! Of course, the classic 90s hoop earring was inspired not by ancient history, but by hip hop and R&B musicians who have long favoured the look. Artists like Sade, who arrived on the scene in the 80s and grew to even greater prominence in the 90s, often sported hoop earrings on-stage. Sade’s classic hoop look is to pair the earrings with a rambunctious display of blocked colours. Her looks on and off the stage eschewed glamorous dresses for the dress-down style of a turtleneck, like those by Zanone. It’s not the first thing you think of when you think how to style hoop earrings, but for all that audacity, Sade’s look works.
The legacy of hoop earrings to R&B style is long and continuous. Extending well beyond the 1990s, artists like Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill have been rocking the look from the late 1990s to the present day. Throughout the early 2000s, Keys tested the versatility of the hoop earring trend. Memorably sporting an immense, jewel-encrusted version at the 2007 Grammys (where she took out two awards) Keys also showed the casual side of the hoop earring when she wore them in a Levi’s commercial, eloquently demonstrating that what looked refined and sophisticated on the red carpet could easily morph into something much more urban.
Earrings that work (work, work, work, work)
The return of hoop earrings in the 2010s again emerged via the music industry, this time in the form of Rihanna, who memorably wore hoops to the 2012 GQ Man of the Year Awards. As in the 1990s, a succession of more celebrities in hoop earrings soon followed, and it was in this 2010s iteration that the hoop earring became a must-have formalwear accessory. Wearing a simple red slip dress, Rihanna turned heads with her refined, minimal white gold earrings. Finding elegance through simplicity has spurred houses like Serpui to devote some serious design firepower to their line of starkly minimalist gold hoop earrings.
Hoops continued to hang from the ears of celebrities on the red carpet, sported by everyone from Angelina Jolie to Selena Gomez. One of the more memorable examples of how to style hoop earrings came from Blake Lively at the 2014 CFDAs. Worn with a gold Michael Kors dress featuring an elegantly scalloped hemline and salmon pumps, Lively brought a touch of 60s glamour to the CFDA red carpet, and gave observers more than a few hoop earrings fashion ideas.
The run down on the runway
Of course, the ultimate arbiter of a revival’s legitimacy is its presence on the runway. In this field, the hoop earring trend was an unmitigated success. Givenchy included embellished hoop earrings in its 2012 haute couture shows, but the house really turned heads when it sent Kendall Jenner down the runway wearing ornate, shoulder-skimming hoop earrings with a 1920s inspired lace dress during the men’s Spring/Summer 2016 show.
However, Givenchy wasn’t the only house to herald the absolute revival of the 90s hoop earring trend – Marni’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection also prominently featured the accessories. However, these Marni earrings were a stark departure from the age old trend, replacing classic golden hoops with irregular geometric designs.
The return of hoop earrings has been one of the 90s' unlikely fashion revivals. Coming first from the world of R&B and hip hop before then infiltrating the runways of Paris, hoop earrings have indeed made their mark (once again) on the international fashion scene – not bad for a trend that started 4000 years ago.