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Beginner’s Guide to Men’s Earrings

Striking balance between showing personality and coming off like a teenage rebel isn’t as difficult as you think. Understanding a few guidelines will have you ready for that first piercing in no time.

Maybe you’re that guy – the one ready to express his individuality. Or maybe you’re the other guy – the one who knows piercings and jewelry for men is on trend and who wants to be in style. Maybe you’re a combination of both?

There are ways to wear men’s earrings no matter who you are. The most important factor to remember is that an earring (or two) must complement your look and not steal the focus.

1 Beginner’s guide to men’s earrings1.1 When to wear an earring1.2 Matching earrings to skin tone & face shape1.3 How to wear an earring with style1.4 Types of men's earrings1.5 Earring backs & fasteners1.6 You asked – we answered

When to Wear an Earring

Earrings aren’t classified as casual or formal, but this doesn’t mean you can roll up with a gold hoop to a board meeting. Or does it?

Take note of where you work and consider: Will my choice to wear an earring help me or hurt me?

Not every boss will appreciate your stylish side. In that case, show your personality with a statement tie or pocket square… something a bit more acceptable and less controversial.

Face customers all day or have an interview? People have opinions and our choices affect how they react to us. Does this mean it must stop you from being you?! No way. It means that you put thought into your choices… and what could be better than a thought-out look?

Matching Earrings to Skin Tone & Face Shape

It’s important that earrings match skin tone and face shape. Skin tone clashes with some colors, so unless you want to draw attention for the wrong reasons, take a look below:

  • Fair skin: Silver or white gold looks great on fair skin, but avoid rose gold as it brings out the pink in your skin.
  • Pale skin: Have milky skin? Steer clear of yellow golds and stick to white or silver.
  • Olive skin: Olive skin looks great with pretty much any color.
  • Dark skin: Yellow gold looks vibrant and eye-catching against dark tones. Silvers and white golds work too, but yellow will be your best friend.

Face shape also has a role in earring selection...

  1. Oblong face – Round earrings
  2. Heart-shaped face – Straight earrings without curves (like a barbell or a taper)
  3. Square face – Round or curved earrings
  4. Round face – Square earrings

How to Wear an Earring with Style

As with all accessories, earrings must work with your look. The outfit is the ice cream and the accessories are the cherries on top. Yes, you can have more than one cherry.

Match the theme of your outfit

  • Your earring should complement the outfit.
  • Match playful, colorful earrings with funky, casual clothes.
  • Wear subtle designs with business and formal attire.

Keep them small

  • Earrings should be small and proportional to your body.
  • Large or bulky earrings look off-balance – physically and stylistically.

Match metals

How Many Should I Wear

Plenty of celebrities and fashion influencers wear two earrings and plenty wear only one. How many you choose is up to you, your intention and where you’re headed.

The style of earring can dictate how many to wear. A dark colored pair looks great if you’re out for a drink, whereas one gold hoop is generally enough as its color and shape make a statement.

Types of Men's Earrings

Gone are the days when men had to carefully search women’s earrings for one they want to wear. Nowadays, earrings for men can be found in a wide range of styles to match the story you want to tell.

Magnetic Earrings

Magnetic earrings use magnets to stay in place and do not require an actual piercing. The magnets are designed to be strong enough to lock together but not too strong as to crush your lobes and send you reeling in pain.

They can be put on and taken off easily and leave no visible marks. Perfect for experimentation.

Hoop Earrings for Men

Guys can rock a hoop earring, but it has to be subtle. Anything Captain Jack Sparrow-ish, and you’ve gone too far. Look for small, thin ones that do not hang down past your chin.

Men's Dangle Earrings (Pendants & Charms)

When you're looking for something more than just a normal hoop earring, check out earrings with interchangeable charms.

Some dangle earrings come with pendants that are permanently attached, while others have charms that can be mixed and matched for whatever look or vibe you're after. You may also find this type of men's earring called drop hoop earrings because the charm drops (hangs down) from the hoop.

Stud Earrings

Studs are the safest choice for beginners as they’re easy to wear and more versatile than other styles. Studs give the edge of wearing an earring but with discretion.

Novelty Earrings

Novelty earrings are available in everything from smiley faces to skulls and in styles from studs to magnetic. Big impression? Yes. Suitable for the workplace? Um... maybe no.

Flesh Tunnels & Plugs

Tunnels sit firmly in the ‘love or hate’ zone. These are cylindrical earrings inserted into a piercing for the purpose of stretching the hole. Not every workplace will appreciate this look… so be warned.

And it takes time and commitment to stretch and go up in gauge size. Depending on your body, you’ll need to wait 2-6 months between stretches.

Clip-on Earrings

As the name implies, simply clip them on your earlobe. Clip-ons provide a perfect way to try out the look without a piercing.


These men’s earrings tend to be available in a wide range of different colors and taper to a point (as the name suggests). They fit a larger earlobe piercing but aren't as dramatic as ear tunnels or plugs.

Not ready to commit to a full-on taper yet? Take a look at our selection of fakes that fit standard pierced holes. Or maybe a magnetic taper that doesn’t require any hole at all? No need to frighten grandma if you don't have to.


Barbell earrings are mostly used for body piercings. Note that for the ears, barbells tend to be curved or horseshoe shape, whereas they’re straight for other body parts. Barbells are definitely a bolder choice than a stud and give a rock’n’roll vibe.

Gemstones & Pearls

Popular with the ladies, pearls and colored gemstones are self-explanatory. They’re incredibly eye-catching and there’s a danger of looking blingy and distracting from your face and overall look. If it’s bling you’re after, opt for a diamond stud instead.

Earring Backs & Fasteners

Here are a few of the most common earring fasteners on the market. What style you like best depends on variables such as your comfort and activity level.

  1. Chain Ear Cuff – This is a special fastener with a cuff on the top part of the ear connected by a chain to a stud in the lower lobe.
  2. Chain Ear Wire – Another special type of earring that uses a chain through the hole. Only to be used in a fully healed piercing.
  3. Clip Back – The style for those without piercings. It includes a hinged clip latching on the earlobe holding the earring in place.
  4. Fish Hook – Resembles a fish hook that goes through the ear piercing. They're easy to wear and remove.
  5. French Clip Back – French clip is a type of backing in which an open, wire clip fits over a post and against the earlobe.
  6. Latch Back – Also known as hinged earwire, the latch back has a hinged post which attaches to a metal catch. The shape of the catch varies according to the style.
  7. Screw Back – Screw backs are more secure than push backs as the backing is screwed onto a grooved post. They are secure but take longer to put on.
  8. Push Back – Push backs are also known as friction or butterfly backs and are the most common backing or fastener. The backing is a butterfly shape and is slid up the post until secure. Commonly used for stud earrings.

Deciding to get an earring is half of the battle! The rest is piercing and choosing what to stick through the hole. Easy.

Just be sure you’re getting the hole done professionally and not in an empty parking lot at four in the morning.

You Asked – We Answered

What gauge do I look for when buying an earring?

Most earlobe piercings are around 20 gauge to 18 gauge. The average stud earrings are size 20 gauge.

Gauge refers to the thickness of the barbell, post or ring that goes through the piercing. Gauge can be confusing because it works in reverse – the higher the gauge the thinner the bar. A 22 gauge is thinner than an 18 gauge.

Can I sleep with my earring in?

It depends on the size, actually. A larger earring may get caught on the pillowcase and break or rip your earlobe. No thank you.

It’s also important that you’ve cleaned the earring and hole as oils, skin cells, and dust are all over your bed and may gather around your silver stud.

Which ear should guys wear an earring in?

A lot of guys ask this in reference to one side being gay and the other being straight. Ears are ears. There is no 'gay ear' or 'straight ear'. Don’t put more thought into it than that and wear your earrings on whichever ear you prefer.

Can I wear earrings to the gym?

We don’t suggest wearing big hoops or overly complicated earrings to the gym or on the basketball court. No one wants an earring caught on their t-shirt. No one. Opt for a stud instead, stud.

Speaking of fitness… avoid swimming with earrings for the first 2–3 weeks after piercing. And be aware that your earring could rust in the water depending on the material.

What is hypoallergenic and should I care?

Hypoallergenic earrings are made for those who experience allergic reactions to certain types of metals. Most people who have an allergic reaction are reacting to nickel. Always check labels to see if the piece of jewelry you are interested in is nickel-free.

Should I remove my earring every day?

Once the piercing has healed, you can remove and change earrings as often as you like. For a new piercing, leave them in for 6-8 weeks. This gives time to heal.

What is a good ‘starter’ earring?

A good first earring is something that you don’t mind leaving in for 6+ weeks as the piercing heals. Choose something that matches your other accessories – like a silver watch – and will look good with your wardrobe.

A simple black stud is a good option and goes with everything. Make sure that the material is hypoallergenic.

How often should I change my earring?

Once the hole has healed, change it as often as you’d like. Wear that pirate feather, the one you secretly have your eye on, like a pirate boss!

Can men wear earrings that are designed for women?

It depends on what ‘designed for women’ means. A standard men’s piercing will be the same gauge as for a woman. And earrings can fit both sexes.

If the question is referencing a stereotypically feminine earring (a big hoop or a long, dangling diamond number)... then that will be up to you.

There are plenty of men’s earrings that we prefer. These are created to fit proportionally with a man’s body and are easier to style within your wardrobe.

What does it mean when a guy wears only 1 earring?

It means that he is only wearing one earring.

Maybe it had more meaning 30 years ago, but right ear, left ear, single earring or two… as long as you can pull it off, you’ll be fine.

Is it OK for guys to wear earrings to a funeral?

Subtle, tasteful studs may be acceptable. Anything that looks like you’re making a loud statement is wildly inappropriate.

Funerals are typically not about you… thank goodness.