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Earring Essentials: The Must-Have Earring Style Staples

Everyone knows that accessories can make or break an outfit and while belts, hats and bags definitely factor into that one of the simplest ways to complete a look is by simply adding suitable earrings.

Earrings can sometimes go overlooked as many of us simply slip on the same pair daily without thinking too much about it, and understandably when you start looking, the options for earrings can seem endless and terribly overwhelming. But with only a few thoughtfully chosen basics you can have a selection of earrings that will suit almost every outfit and elevate your look.

But what basics should you invest in and how do you pick a set of earrings that will suit your wardrobe now and as it changes in the future?

Choosing Your Metal

The first step when trying to figure out what staples to keep in or add to your wardrobe is to take a hard look at what you tend to reach for. We all have preferences in what we feel best in and it’s always best to lean into those preferences, there’s nothing more stylish than feeling confident after all.

What you’ll probably notice going through your favourites is that most pieces will be the same metal, whether you lean gold, silver or something slightly rarer like copper or rose gold it’s helpful to keep this in mind when picking out your essentials.

The core of having wardrobe basics is to have a small collection of items that will almost always work, if you’re consistently wearing silver rings, pendants and bracelets then a pair of gold earrings no matter how beautiful just won’t get the same wear.

When trying to consolidate your collection try to think of your jewellery the way someone forming a capsule wardrobe might think of garments. Select a few colours, themes or a singular aesthetic so that you can be sure that all of your pieces will work together without too much thought.

The Basics

Now you know what to look for, what earring types should you actually be shopping for? Here are the 3 earring types that any complete wardrobe should have:

woman in white collared shirt

Photo by Peng Wang via Unsplash


Studs range wildly from simple to outrageous, but having a simple pair in your preferred metal means you’ll always have a simple option to either dress down an outfit or simply an option if you want to go for a more elegant restrained look. A little black dress, pearl necklace, simple pair of studs and updo is a timeless, classic and fairly simple look to pull together. 

Studs are even more essential if you have multiple piercings in each ear, it’s best to have at least one set per set of piercings so you always have the option of an all-studs look if you want.

Though many people have studs from when they initially had their ears pierced it’s worth investing in a nicer pair, or simply ones slightly more tailored to your personal taste as that bit of care towards personalisation really does come across even if it’s a simple swap.

If you find the sharp backs of studs frustrating or reach for studs daily but find taking them out for bed annoying it might be worth looking into flat-back studs which hide the post meaning you’re not at risk of pokes and pricks throughout the day or night.

a woman standing on a beach with the sun in the background

Photo by Wang Odds via Unsplash


Hoops are something that everyone has but many don’t put much thought into. There is actually wide variation in hoops not just in size but differences in texture and even shape could make you stand out among more basic hoops.

Woven hoops or concentric circles are both great options for those who find normal hoops a little boring but a simple band hoop can look incredibly elegant by itself.

Hoops are essential because they straddle the line between studs and drops. They’re more visible than studs especially if you have your hair out, but they’re such a staple they are not seen as quite as dressy as other dangling options.

It’s a good idea to have 2 pairs of hoops, one small, and one larger as they lend themselves to quite different looks, this also gives you the chance to have one pair be simpler and another pair that’s a little more daring

woman in gold diamond ring and black shirt

Photo by Sama Hosseini via Unsplash


Drops are your more dramatic option to keep at hand while still being a basic. There’s obviously a lot of variation with drops but simple pearl drops are a great staple if you’re overwhelmed by your choices. Drops are great when hoops and studs are too casual but you still want to look elegant. A staple pair of drops can get you through many a date night or wedding if you choose something neutral that matches many outfits.

Drops are also fantastic for those with multiple piercings, usually, they’ll sit in the piercing closest to your face, in the central placement, but putting them in your second piercing with a bigger hoop in that central placement can look downright decadent.

woman in white scoop neck shirt wearing silver earrings

Photo by Pure Julia via Unsplash

Making a Statement

Basics are fantastic, generally speaking, they can carry any outfit and they’ll definitely be the pairs you reach for daily, but sometimes you need to make a statement.

When you’re wearing a loud piece of clothing especially a top-heavy jacket, top or dress it can look odd to pair it with simple or small earrings that get lost in the colour, pattern or cut of your clothes. The opposite is also true with particularly plain or simple outfits, adding statement earrings is a quick way to elevate your look.

So having at least one statement pair of earrings is a must, what that means depends on your personal style.

If you don’t like wearing much colour or wear lots of different colours you’ll want to find a pair that’s bold in either size, shape or both but stays neutral in colour so they can be worn with any of your clothes. Think large silver rectangles, big bold black or white teardrops, earrings with large beads or lots of length.

If you tend towards the same colours or have a capsule wardrobe, you can look for things that suit your preferred colours. If looking through your wardrobe you’re met with a wall of reds and oranges, maybe some ceramic earrings in those colours or even a pair inspired by autumn leaves.

And if you tend towards more quirky or alternative styles have a look into some more unique pieces that become conversation starters. Cartoon-style goldfish bags or cats and the like for those on the cuter side of things or heavy metal spikes and studs for those who are a little darker. 

The point of any of the options is to have a pair in your collection that stands out rather than blends in, to make your earrings a point of interest rather than an afterthought when in doubt, go big, and simply have something large, especially for those with long hair ensures that their easy to see and pulls focus to the styling of your clothes.

These can be a bit harder to travel with but with the right storage such as a jewellery pouch or an earring box it is still doable, and even if you decide they have to stay at home, there are plenty of events they’d be the perfect choice for.

Completing the Look

So there’s your five-earring essential kit; studs, large hoops, small hoops, drops and statements. If these are all in your basic style in keeping with the look, metal and colours of your wardrobe you’ll never find yourself without a pair to wear when you’re running out the door.

Once you have that collection, play around, and see what hairstyles suit which pairs and in the case of multiple piercings which look best together in which configurations. If you’re feeling especially bold, play with mixing and matching your sets for an asymmetrical look, this is harder to pull off but is helped massively by having a selection of earrings that all fit the same style to begin with.

The best way to form a cohesive wardrobe is to think about it when you add new pieces to your collection, form an aesthetic and buy pieces that support it, if you wear all gold jewellery maybe abstain from silver rim glasses next time you go to the optometrist.

When it comes down to it, any earrings you’re reaching for regularly are essentials, your basics are the earrings that make you feel the most you. Fashion is an expression of who we are, a way to show the world what makes us who we are simply with what we wear, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or expensive, find your staples and there’s no reason you can’t feel best dressed on the daily.


Chris Pritchard is a 23-year-old Australian freelance writer working out of Melbourne, they write on a variety of topics with an emphasis on politics and video game analysis. They have a background in both design and fashion and when away from writing they pursue work as a visual artist and painter.