Have you noticed more piercings recently? Like a dainty silver septum ring on your pilates instructor or someone you follow on TikTok? You’re not imagining things. Amy Robinson, President of Banter from Piercing Pagoda, has seen a shift in the piercing space over the past few years. "Post Covid, piercings have become such a mainstream thing — even nose piercings," Robinson explains. "It was taboo in the past, for people to go looking for jobs with a bunch of piercings. That was frowned upon, but it has become a lot more acceptable."
There are a few key points to explore. First is the popularity of piercing shops and even mall kiosks that offer piercings. Nationwide piercing brands like Banter by Piercing Pagoda, Studs, Rowan, and Astrid and Miyu have elevated the studio piercing experience. In the world as well as online, chic "earscapes" — lobes and cartilage lined with tiny gold hoops — have become a style choice, more permanent and identifying than a cute outfit but less so than a tattoo (you can always take out your earrings and in most cases you're left with an imperceptible pinprick).
Now, most people make the decision to work in environments where style experimentation is accepted and even encouraged. So there's less hesitation around "is this okay for work?" People are also sharing more online, making different kinds of piercings more visible and attainable. "Whether it's a TikTok or a Reel, people are seeing more piercings," Robinson explains. "Come with me to get my ear pierced," is a trendy entertainment model. But, really the thing about piercings today is that they don't require a lot of strategy or planning. "Seventy percent of piercings are impulsive — you see it, and you want to go do it," adds Robinson. "Most people don't plan it out too far in advance."
Being that piercings are very fun and low-commitment, we thought this fall a great time to explore what's been trending. Because with the change of season, there's the familiar itch for a new hole to style.
Asymmetrical ear stacks
Banter by Piercing Pagoda actually has a new mobile studio called a Banter Bus, where the brand's expert piercers and ear "stylers" pop up in different cities. Across cities, though, the top trend is what Robinson calls the asymmetrical ear stack. Basically it's purposefully different piercings on each ear. "For example, a constellation of three piercings or a snake bite — two piercings right next to each other — on one ear, and four or five that line up on the other," explains Robinson. "From a celebrity and trend perspective and from our customers, asymmetrical ear stacks are the most consistent trend."
Of course, everyone's ear anatomy is different, so what works on one ear might not work for either of yours. Let's say your lobe space is a little bit smaller, you just have less real estate to work with. That's why it helps to go see a professional to talk through the different piercings that might work best for your ears.
As with the ears, nose piercings have seen increased popularity. "If you've had your ear piercings, it's kind of like a tattoo, it can be addicting," explains Robinson. "You get one or two and then you want to create an earscape. Then once you've done some of that, most people then think about the nose."
Both septum (central placement, between the nostrils) and nostril piercings are popular. "We have definitely seen a big increase over the past year in people wanting both those piercings," says Robinson. "It seems like a response to the world and how things are changing and people being able to feel comfortable exploring their style and how they want to express and represent themselves."
If you've been extra into astrology lately, it might be your sign to consider a zodiac piercing. Now, there are a few approaches to this. There's a constellation piercing, which is a group of multiple piercings, normally three or more, that create unique patterns and shapes on the ear and can resemble a constellation of stars. Brands like Banter offer zodiac as specific ear stacks, so you can get inspired by your particular design." So if you're a Pisces, you can look at this guide and get the ear stack that denotes you as a Pisces — that's been super popular," says Robinson. If you don't want a bunch of piercings, you could also go for a stud earring in your zodiac sign.
There's been a lot of TikTok discourse around gold versus silver jewelry. According to Robinson, gold is still the preference by a landslide. However, there's a trend towards mixing metals. "There are a lot of mixed metals out there right now," says Robinson. "When we have people picking piercings, most often they're picking gold. But there is a lot of mixing white and yellow gold together and even sterling silver."
Like the asymmetrical ear stack, the huggie earring (a hoop that hugs your earlobe) is very trendy. "With huggies being so trendy, we are seeing hoops trend up, as well as those chunkier hoops," says Robinson. "People are trying to create that huggie stack up the ear, going from big [at the lobe] to small [up the cartilage]." This is a good example on influencer Vanessa Bonni: chunkier, semi-solid hoops in the lobe (semi-solid makes them lighter and cheaper than solid gold), with tinier hoops stacked up the ear. You can even use multiples (one earring with two hoop loops) to give the illusion of more earrings.
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