WORDS BY LUCY HARDY
Whether you’re a seasoned jewellery connoisseur wanting to shake up your collection or a newbie looking to dip your toe into the world of earrings before making the commitment to a piercing, ear cuffs are an excellent option for everyone. Whilst simple studs and drop styles will always be classics, you can’t beat the creativity and versatility of an ear cuff — plus there’s an undeniable edginess to a look styled with just one chunky cuff.
Designers — within both fashion and fine jewellery, have become increasingly experimental with their pieces. There are endless options for both men and women. From industrial styles crafted from thick metals to lavish dangling crystals; 18kt gold and diamond-encrusted designs to simpler options, there’s something for every taste and occasion.
But whilst ear cuffs look incredibly cool and add a unique edge to any look, they pose some questions — how do you wear ear cuffs? Are they comfortable? Do I need an ear piercing? And will they fall off?
To help answer these all important queries, we’ve asked four influencers to pick their favourite ear cuff designs from the FARFETCH selection. Read on for their advice on how to style ear cuffs, as well as their tips on sizing and fit so you can make your choice with confidence.
Claire Most (@claire_most)
Based in Portland
I was looking for a piece of jewellery that would be classy and simple but noticeable. I wanted to wear something that would catch the eye and that I could wear by itself. I also love gold as I think it looks better on my skin tone, so the D’heygere ear cuff was exactly the item I was looking for. I love the design, the fact that there are two spheres on it brings something really elegant. It almost feels like I am wearing pearls.
I wanted the ear cuff to be the centre of attention, so I decided to wear it by itself with no other earring, with my hair in cornrows to avoid having anything hiding it. And finally, I decided to wear a mockneck as I think this silhouette makes you focus even more on the earring. I’m a big partisan of the ‘less is more’ mantra. With such a strong and interesting piece of jewellery, focus on wearing rings, some necklaces layered, and let the ear cuff work its magic.
Depending on the ear cuff you choose, you can definitely wear other earrings, for example, hoops or a piece in the same aesthetic as the ear cuff, to create a row of earrings. However, with the one I am wearing, I would opt for something more subtle and discreet, such as studs, if you really want to wear additional earrings with it.
Piercing or no Piercing?
The amazing thing about ear cuffs is that when you wear one, it creates the same aesthetic as wearing a piercing without having to endure the pain and the long healing process. They are really comfortable to wear and it’s really easy to remove, so you won’t experience any discomfort when you’re laying down or when you’re sleeping. Since it’s super easy to change, you can wear different styles of ear cuff too, so it’s also way more versatile than having a conch piercing, for example. Most of them are statement pieces so you don’t necessarily need to wear other earrings with them, but I still think it can look really cute with your existing piercings or some subtle pieces.
Sizing & Fit:
I am really careful about the type of ear cuff I choose and try to avoid pieces that could potentially fall off. If you don’t want to be stressed out and think about it all day and all night, I would recommend going for the type of ear cuff I am wearing. The fact that it’s wrapped around your ear is great because you can be sure your ear cuff will be secured!
Claire’s FARFETCH Picks:
The Completedworks Bend in the River style feels like you are wearing lots of mini hoops which I love. It is a strong piece that you can wear alone that will bring an edgy vibe to your outfit. This Mirage design by Charlotte Chesnais is lovely, it creates the illusion of having a really elevated conch piercing and it’s definitely something that will take your jewellery to another level. What I love about this Saskia Diez ear cuff is that it’s really versatile. You can wear both on one ear or you can wear them on each lobe and in a way, reinvent your style. Finally, I am obsessed with this FENTY ear cuff! It’s a true statement piece, and you can be sure you’ll have a lot of compliments on it.
Jadon Grundy (@jadongrundy)
Based in Los Angeles
My choice of ear cuff is the silver Fendi FF Engraved cuff. I chose to style it along with the North Skull drop skull earring and the Chrome Hearts Baby Fat earring on the opposite side. Accompanying the accessories is my Alyx buckle necklace alongside a Hermès link-style chain. For the clothing, I paired my yellow Not of This Earth jacket with A-COLD-WALL* multi-pocket trousers. I finished off the outfit with the Rick Owens Abstract trainers in white.
Choosing the pieces of jewellery to accompany your ear cuff is a whole experience on its own because of how experimental you can get. My personal tip on styling ear cuffs is balancing the weight and silhouette with the surrounding pieces. The Fendi ear cuff I styled is a heavier style. In order to let it shine on its own, I balanced it with a drop earring that doesn’t overpower it.
Piercing or no Piercing?
I have both of my earlobes pierced and those are my only piercings. I definitely pair them with earrings. In my personal opinion though, I think ear cuffs have the strength to stand on their own as well. I would say ear cuffs are comfortable, depending on the style and weight, of course. You can go quite a while when wearing your ear cuff and not even realise it’s there.
Sizing & Fit:
My ear cuff tends to sit in the same spot. My suggestion to moving an ear cuff would be to find the area of your ear that best fits the spacing of your ear cuff clamp. There are different size cuffs, so if you plan on having it sit higher up, go with a size that has a matching fit to that portion of your ear, and vice versa.
Jadon’s FARFETCH Picks:
The ear cuffs that have caught my attention are the ones with fine detail and ones that look like piercings. They give off a very edgy aesthetic. Some examples are, the Alexander McQueen skull detail and dropped-skull cuffs, the Tom Wood thick single ear cuff and the Wooyoungmi palm tree cuff.
You can shop Jadon's FARFETCH edit here.
Diana Wang (@zhours)
Based in New York
It’s hard to miss this striking crystal-fringe ear cuff by Panconesi. 2020 has been an unusual year. With a changed dynamic for the coming holidays, I think it’s still worth dressing up as a reminder that we did not and will not give up. I’m particularly drawn to the movement of these round-cut crystal beads. This design carries a nostalgic kick — it reminds me of those beaded bracelets we used to make as kids.
This ear cuff is super versatile to style. I had in mind a light-hearted evening look, so a big chunk of this outfit features crystal-embellished black satin and a big blazer with a pair of oversized bows for some playfulness. The abstract print jeans bring out some contrasting energy to the classic black. When put together, it’s ‘evening attire 2.0,’ as I like to call it.
Ear cuffs come in a good variety of designs, ranging from sweet and subtle to statement making. Depending on the style, stacking up barely-there cuffs along the helix defines the contour and creates highly personalised looks. If you’re into DIY, connecting a chain between the cuff and your regular earring also achieves a unique earpiece.
When wearing multiple jewellery pieces, I like to gather diverse elements that serve a unified theme. A good tip to remember is to have a single emphasis — we often talk about what to wear but keeping in mind what not to can be equally useful. Taking the Panconesi crystal-fringe ear cuff I’m wearing as an example, I would consider a beaded bracelet that doesn’t steal the spotlight but reinforces the overall vibe, such as this white Emanuele Bicocchi beaded bracelet, or the Isabel Marant shell-bead bracelet.
Piercing or no Piercing?
I only have earlobe piercings, and one of the major benefits of ear cuffs is that they decorate the cartilage and helix, or even create a fake piercing effect, without the nuisance of having to actually pierce those sensitive areas. I find most ear cuffs securely hug my ear and are indeed a lot more comfortable than all my clip-on earrings. Ear cuffs even beat most of my chunky earrings when it comes to comfort and easy movement. Most importantly, most ear cuffs are light and resizable for a custom fit.
Sizing & Fit:
Even when size is an issue, ear cuffs are often built for easy resizing. I’ve tried pinching down, or outward from inside, the ends of the cuff with a pair of pliers lined with a soft cloth. It usually does the trick. Besides size, weight can also significantly affect ease of wear — especially for larger pieces such as ear crawlers. Lighter weights notably increase stability. For that purpose, I try to find out their exact weight when shopping online.
Diana’s FARFETCH Picks:
Bold and fun designs with vintage-inspired detailing catch my eye first. Besides my Panconesi crystal-fringe ear cuff, I also like the Gcds chunky ear cuff for its edgy cut and Y2K-esque pink crystals. The Alexander McQueen drop chain cuff earring and the embellished ear cuff boast rich details and are beautifully distressed for an aged look. The Versace Medusa cuff earrings feature the designer’s signature Greca and Medusa detailing in a modest size. I like how these double as earrings, and that their true gold tone really flatters most complexions and outfits. I’m saving these in my Wishlist!
Lolita Mas (@lolitamas)
Based in London
When I wear jewellery, I normally go all in or keep it very minimal. Ear cuffs are perfect for both occasions. When choosing one for this project, I instantly gravitated towards the Saskia Diezs bold ear cuffs duo — I love their brutality and masculinity and also the fact that you can stack them and wear together or separately.
Bold pieces look beautiful with simple, minimalist outfits, so I wore it with a classic dark brown suit and crisp white shirt. However, I can see how gorgeous it can also look paired with an extremely feminine look, like a little black dress or silk slip dress.
If the cuff is a little less bold, I would recommend wearing it with other pieces, it can be a perfect edgy addition to your existing piercings. If you opt for a piece that runs along your entire inner ear, I wouldn’t overload the look with more jewellery and let it steal the show completely. For the rest of the jewellery, in my case I went for the same industrial-inspired style for the necklace and rings, but it’s always fun to experiment with different metals and moods.
Piercing or no Piercing?
I wear ear cuffs without a piercing and I think this is an amazing way to try the trend and up your jewellery game without long-term commitment. The fact that you can wear this edgy style without needing needles, healing time and investment into the service is brilliant.
Sizing & Fit:
To me, most of the ear cuffs I tried were super comfortable to wear and I could wear them for hours without noticing any discomfort. But it, of course, depends on the specific ear cuff, some of them are slightly more bendable so you could adjust it to your ear shape, some aren’t bendable at all but will still fit your ear like a glove.
Normally they don’t move on my ear, but I think it’s about finding that sweet spot for it. Not all of the cuffs are meant to be worn around your cartilage, try wearing them lower on your ear and then make your way to the top and find the spot where it feels the most comfortable.
Lolita’s FARFETCH Picks:
FARFETCH has an incredible selection — from small cuffs to threaded styles and pieces that go around your whole ear, there’s a cuff for everyone at widely varying price points. I spent so long scrolling through the options. Some of my favourites are the Fendi Baguette hoop cuff, the Zoë Chicco curb chain cuff, the Anita Ko Galaxy diamond cuff and the Charlotte Chesnais Initial cuff.
Shop our designer ear cuff edit