I Tried The Curated Ear Trend & It Made Me Fall In Love With All My Old Piercings

Share
Ad failed to load

It seems like, these days, barely anyone has a single ear piercing anymore. We've moved on from lobes and auricles to forward helixes, conches, rooks, traguses... if there's part of an ear there, we'll pierce it. (Of course, plenty of these piercings have existed in various cultures throughout history — but Westerners are just starting to catch back on.) And while some people build up their collection of piercings over a period of years, there's a fairly new trend on the scene that lets you get it all over with at once: the curated ear.

Jewelry designer and piercer Maria Tash is a particularly large proponent of this method, which basically means you get a bunch of piercings all at once (or work with the piercings you already have), then pick jewelry that goes nicely together to fill all the holes. "The phrase itself first emerged in late 2015, early 2016," Tash tells me during a visit to her studio in NYC. "It describes styling of the ear with jewelry in a very deliberate and beautiful way. Something that resonates with the wearer's personal aesthetic." Often, this means all the jewelry comes from one shop — no more mixing and matching all those studs you've collected over the past decade.

Ad failed to load

On the day I went to Tash's storefront to test this curation method out for myself, it was bustling with customers looking to get their hands on some of the jewelry she's become famous for designing and chat with the expert piercer themselves. Even when we attempted to find a quieter corner to chat in, customers tracked Tash down, listening raptly as she answered my questions about the process. Clearly, this woman is someone to be trusted in giving your ear a complete makeover.

To kick off an ear curation, Tash does a quick assessment of the customer's personal style. There's plenty to take into consideration: "What are they wearing? What other types of jewelry are they wearing? What are the metal colors of the the jewelry that they're wearing, if any? Is their style sort of minimalist? Is it more avant garde? Is it boho?" Tash explains. "You take jewelry style, the metals they're already wearing, their personal aesthetic style, and their anatomy and you start making choices."

"Their anatomy" simply means the shape and size of a person's ear. While she says that it's "unusual" for a type of piercing to be totally impossible, factors like a smaller tragus or fold over the helix of the ear can make piercing in those areas difficult.

Ad failed to load

I already have seven piercings, so Tash opted against adding any new holes to my head and instead sought to find creative new ways to dress the existing ones up. She started with two piercings I have right at the start of my helix on my left ear. "You have two low piercings here... Did you do those yourself?" she asks. I tell her I hadn't self pierced, but that they were done with a gun about 10 years ago. If I went to a piercer today, she tells me, they'd say it was a terrible job — but that I shouldn't worry, because she can make them look cool anyway. And she did, by sticking a hoop through the two holes (check out the "after" in the photo on the right below).

Other than that hoop, Tash pretty much let me pick the earrings myself, giving suggestions for what would look good along the way. The key to a curated ear is going somewhere with a vast selection of jewelry — that way you can try on a bunch of different styles before deciding which to purchase. Tash even has some clip-ons, in case you want to try a piece on even before getting pierced.

Ad failed to load

Tash could tell from the earrings that I walked in wearing that I tend to opt for yellow gold, so she recommended I try some white gold jewelry just to switch it up. "When you look around [the shop], is there anything that speaks to you?" Tash asked. "Do you like any of the snakes or the rings with some skulls on them?" I did, in fact, like the snakes (pictured in the right photo above) — and Tash recommended trying one for my forward helix piercing, since it was developing one of those bumps that are fairly common for cartilage piercings. Tash said my bump seemed likely to be a sac of fluid (a little gross, but more treatable than a keloid scar) which meant the wide, flat shape of the snake earring could help squish the bump into flatness. Sick.

There were fewer holes to work with in my right ear, yet Tash managed to arrange the new jewelry in a way that felt completely unique to anything I'd tried before. I never would have thought to put a hoop through my ear sideways, but now I'm obsessed with that whole arrangement — especially paired with a dangly chain like Tash did here.

Ad failed to load

I kept the snake earring, which actually has helped the bump on my forward helix go down. As for the rest of the look, it was fun to play dress-up on my ears for a day. I tend to wear my earrings for months (or years) at a time without giving them much thought, but working with Tash on a curation got me excited about jewelry all over again. If you're also feeling a bit under-inspired by your current piercing situation, I'd highly recommend swinging by a store to that offers curation sessions with tons of options to try ASAP.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

7 Signs Your Partner Is "The One," Even If They Have Commitment Issues

There's nothing better than finding that one person you could actually see yourself spending the rest of your life with. However, realizing that your partner has commitment issues can put a damper on things. It may even have you questioning whether o…
By Kristine Fellizar

Bustle's Editors On Florida + Fergie

Welcome to a new week, Bustle readers! February is already more than halfway through, and the weather feels way more like spring than winter right now — but don't get used to it. There's a lot to recap today, from the latest on the tragic Parkland sh…
By Rachel Simon

Here's Where Your Next Trip Should Be, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

If you've been craving a vacation, now is a good time to take the plunge. According to data collected by travel site Expedia, late winters and early spring are pretty much the best times of the year to go on vacation. Based on average airfare ticket …
By Callie Tansill-Suddath

How This Quadriplegic Beauty Lover Beat Cancer & Became A Professional Makeup Artist

In 2010, one day before she was supposed to start cosmetology school, Steph Aiello was involved in a car crash that left her paralyzed from the waist down with limited ability to move her hands and one of her closest friends dead. She would spend the…
By Sara Tan

7 Common Marriage Rules That Aren't Good For Relationships

When it comes to marriage, everyone loves to give their two cents, and with all the warnings and advice floating around out there, no wonder people find marriage intimidating. Luckily, you don't always have to play by the rules, and there's some bad …
By Carina Wolff

The Infuriating Way Hollywood Movie Sets Are Designed To Make Life Harder For Women

Whitney Cummings is fed up — with the way Hollywood treats women, and in particular, the way the it treats female directors who have children. While the entertainment industry may be working hard to get more women behind the camera, Cummings wants to…
By Casey Cipriani

19 Things Your Parents Told You Were Illegal In The '90s

Kids say — and think — the darnedest things. We have overactive imaginations, adults like to mess with us, and we don't always understand everything we hear. That's why some kids call strawberries "straw babies" — a boo-boo so adorable, you don't eve…
By Megan Grant

Why Uggs Are Never Going Away, Whether You Like Them Or Not

Uggs. The word alone can conjure up memories of teenage years, regrettable outfits, and undeniable comfort. But if, like me, you thought that you've already said goodbye to those fleece-lined tan boots, you can think again. It seems fashion has adopt…
By Lauren Sharkey

I Never Want To Write This Essay Again

I don't know where you were when you heard about Wednesday's high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. I don't know what you were doing, or how you tried to process the news. I do know this: you thought to yourself, not again. And yet, again. Of cou…
By Jenny Hollander

Netflix's New Romantic Movie Will Have You Crying Like It's 'The Fault In Our Stars'

Cancer movies are a heartbreaking staple of Hollywood and have been for decades. It's almost a law of nature: new year, new cancer movie. This year, it's Netflix's Irreplaceable You, a heartbreaking original about a longtime couple who get thrown for…
By Olivia Truffaut-Wong

Here Are All The Terms You Need To Know If You’re Watching Olympic Ski Events Right Now

Every four years the Winter Olympics rolls around to remind me that A) there are so many important Winter Olympic sports, and B) I know virtually nothing any of them. And I know for a fact, I'm not alone, I bet most people don't know what the differe…
By Danielle Colin-Thome

Kate Middleton Made Sales Of This $1 Secret Accessory Spike & She'll Turn You Into A Believer

There's a royal epidemic going on, people. It's one that causes any and everyone to obsess over the royal family's wardrobe and beauty routines, even if it means breaking the bank to look like them. So a frenzy was expected when Kate Middleton report…
By Summer Arlexis

Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu Have Matching Tattoos & The Story Is So Cute

Olympic season gives people the feels. From those shipping Canadian ice dancing pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir to Shaun White's gold medal win on Tuesday, the feels are real. Now, there's another reason to get all up in your emotions. Adam Rippon a…
By Shea Simmons

A New Study Says Being In A Relationship Could Change Your Taste In Wine — Here's How

I’d be willing to bet that for many of you, a nice bottle of wine is awaiting you in your near future — and if you’re planning on sharing that bottle with a partner, there might be more to your choice than meets the eye: According to recent research,…
By Lucia Peters

Carrie Brownstein On Why Even The Obama Era Should Have Enraged You

An icy January morning soon after Hollywood's show of solidarity for the #MeToo movement at the Golden Globes and almost exactly one year into the Trump Administration feels like a momentous time to be sitting across from Carrie Brownstein. The Sleat…
By Samantha Rollins

Here’s What The Upcoming Year Of The Dog Means For Your Chinese Zodiac Sign

On Feb. 16 the world will celebrate the Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the Dog in like the good doggo it is — we hope. A new year means new zodiac predictions for the 365 days ahead. So, what does the Year of the Dog mean for your Chinese zo…
By Brittany Bennett

7 Signs You're Ready To Get Into A Relationship, According To Experts

It can be difficult to tell when you're ready to start dating again. Maybe you're coming off of a bad breakup, maybe you've just been focused on other things. And, ironically, one of the signs that you're ready to be in a relationship is that you're …
By Lea Rose Emery

I Got A Breast Reduction & It Was About So Much More Than The Size Of My Boobs

As a young teenager, I pretty much reached peak physical maturity overnight. One day I was wearing my first training bra a la Lizzie McGuire, and the next I was sweatily fumbling around a Victoria’s Secret with 32DD boobs, trying to summon up the cou…
By Sierra Taylor Horton

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
via Romper

The 15 Best Fiction Books Of February Feature Tons Of Extraordinary Women

When the cold winds of February blow in, there's nothing I want more than to hide under my covers with a good book. Luckily, there's more than a few fantastic new fiction books coming out this month, so the only tough decision you'll have to make is …
By Melissa Ragsdale

17 Moms Reveal The Most Disgusting Part Of Their Pregnancy

Pregnant bodies do weird-ass things. Weird-ass, gross things. I mean, my pregnant body did (twice), and I have long-suspected I'm not alone. So I asked other moms to share the most disgusting part of their pregnancy and I learned that, not only am I …
via Romper