April 19, 2024

How the ‘curated ear’ overtook tattoos as the fashion world’s favourite rebellious statement

Known as the ‘curated ear’, it’s ear piercing x1000. It’s an art form that consists of multiple piercings all over the ear in different formations unique to each person. Also – and crucially – unique to each ear.

You never ‘curate’ your right ear to be identical to your left. Never. That’d be like getting an exact replica tattoo on the opposite of your body. Symmetry is a big fat ‘no’ when it comes to such statements.

Tattoos have long been associated with pop cultures biggest badasses, with Cara Delevingne’s finger, Rihanna’s hand, Ariana Grande’s neck and Bella Hadid’s ankle photographed almost as much as their faces.

And while they’re by no means ‘out’ of fashion (those of you adorned with them will be pleased to hear, considering they’re, you know, permanent), tattoos have been replaced by a slightly less daunting needle-induced stamp as the fashion world’s favourite rebellious statement.

But ‘how’ to curate your ear? There are no rules, as such, but there are general trends and groupings that are proving particularly popular. Here are the 7 styles that GLAMOUR UK are into…


This style just sees piercings up the entire edge of the ear with even spacing, which sounds intense but in fact suits a simpler, more elegant aesthetic than some of the punchier, more directional combinations. Opt for single studs for every day, or a huggie hoop in each with your hair swept back for a fancier occasion.


If you’re not keen on the idea of getting your cartilage pierced, why not get a cluster in the lobe? This looks especially chic with charmed hoops such as these, as the embellishments hang so close to one another and pack a real punch.


One for those of you who favour a minimal aesthetic with statement pieces (such as a bold shoe or bag), the sporadic hoops require fewer piercings but placed strategically around the ear, with unexpected areas (such as this rook) made the real star of the show.


If you’re really not into needles and want to ‘curate’ your ear with as little piercing as possible, then opt for bigger pieces of jewellery to give the impression of a busier surface. It’s particularly effective with multiple stones aside one another, as they could easily be mistaken for multiple piercings.


Relatively self-explanatory, this style is for those who prefer to make less of a statement – or, rather, a subtler one. Best saved for those who prefer a stud to a hoop or a huggie, this look works well if you keep the metal consistent (gold or silver, not mixed) but alternate pieces with and without stones.


Perfect for those keen to experiment and not yet willing to commit, the cuff is a great addition to ears with just a couple of lobe piercings and adds a certain edge to simpler curations. It snatches in the edge of the ear (which is supple enough that it remains comfortable) and gives you a taste of what it’d be like to have a more heavily-pierced ear.


Another self-explanatory style, this look is for those whose endless creativity knows no bounds. Again, perhaps it’s better to keep your metals consistent throughout the curation, but as for piercings – you do you, honey. Five in the lobe, a few in the rook/helix/conch and perhaps another couple in the tragus? Why the hell not.

See you in that piercing chair…

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