Men in fancy earrings: Celebrities Harry Styles, Sam Smith, and Taeyang’s trend is backed by fashion history
Hole in one
Although earrings are an essential finishing touch for many women — Caroline Issa recently shared exclusively with us that earrings are her ride-or-die jewellery — we would be hard-pressed to find a guy who takes his bling seriously, if he takes them, period.
The history books however, tell us of a long history of men in lobe danglers. Ear piercings and other body modifications were widely practised by both men and women in many cultures. The custom dates back to Ancient Egypt — evidence of ear perforations and earrings were found carved on pharaohs’s tombs and recorded on papyrus. Men in other ancient civilisations, including the Persians and Assyrians, also wore them.
After a period of poking in and out of fashion in Europe, earrings were once again in vogue during the Renaissance period. Jewellery (including earrings) was a mark of wealth and power. This era was obsessed with the excess — kings, princes, and courtiers dressed in thick, richly embroidered fabrics matched with ornately designed gold and silver bijouterie, often studded with diamonds, rubies, and other precious gems. European noblemen would likely have had collections that rivaled that of their female counterparts.
Sailors were proponent of earrings too. The gold pieces they wore were believed to serve as payment for a proper burial if death were to befall them.
It wasn't until the ‘60s that earrings for men became part of mainstream consciousness. This decade saw the rise of counterculture movements (people who held beliefs that vastly differentiated from, and went against that of, the predominant culture), the most relevant of which was the hippie movement; the hippies’s advocacy for liberalism and peace meant a disregard for social and gender norms. At the time, the gay liberation movement was in full swing, and by extension, their interpretation of fashion was too, prominent. As a result, more men began wearing earrings as a statement of identity, or of rebellion.
It was then that Elton John rose to fame. He was, and still is, one of the most striking male celebrities who isn’t afraid of a showy pair. Along with unique musicality, he made a mark with his audacious style, which was right at home with the non-conforming zeitgeist of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Elton John’s 2019 biographical musical film Rocketman showcases many of the then-outlandish looks he wore throughout his illustrious career.
Today, men in earrings are a more common sight — celebrities such as Adam Lambert, Ezra Miller, and Tyga among the many (see above for inspiration). Even “manly” guys — men who fall within limiting, traditional brackets of masculinity — such as David Beckham and Neymar Jr are partial to a little ear bling from time to time.
Because why the hell not?
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