The Prettiest Piercings Start With A Plan


Ear piercings just aren’t what they used to be. In the past your options were limited. Maybe you did one lobe piercing and called it a day. Or you added an extra one on top for good measure or, you got really into it and a trail of earrings, one in line after the other, lined your ear from lobe to helix. And yet there was no design aspect to it all. No pattern or shape to form with the piercings, no foresight of the bigger picture of your piercing journey. It was more like, “Eh, I want a cuff today!” Or “Hmm, I could go for something right here,” as you thumbed what you later learned is called a conch. But something changed, because the idea of an ear piercing plan started to seem prudent and necessary, if you wanted additional piercings at all. At least within the ITG team, anyway.

Three of us—Chloe, Ashley, and Ali—wanted more piercings, but we wanted to be strategic about it as well. Do ear piercing counselors/stylists exist? Because we wanted one real bad. We talked about these dang piercings for months in the ITG beauty closet. Should we just ask stylish people for advice? Find the latest cool piercer in town? Oh God, should we just go to Claire’s? And then, like an oasis suddenly in view in the desert, we heard rumblings about a piercing shop that was about to open up.

Studs calls this “ear piercing plan” we had struggled to define an “earscape.” Their catalog outlined lots to choose from. “The Bermuda Triangle,” three dainty studs that come to a point; “Constellation,” a trail up the ear that does not follow a straight line and is therefore “cool;” “Snake Bite,” two piercings close together. It helped that the jewelry was pretty too, so that whichever ones we had to wear for the next few months as our ears healed looked good. A few Fridays ago we all walked into the shop to get poked and prodded. You can’t get more than two piercings at a time at Studs, as more the shop says, could lead to potential irritation. So one (or more!) or us might be back in a few weeks. Here’s what got on our first trip.

Ashley’s Ear

Previous piercings: Two, or one for each lobe
New piercings:
A Snakebite on the left lobe—one with a simple stud, one with crown stud

I remember it so clearly. “I’m mature enough to get my ears pierced,” I told my mom when I was four, and wouldn’t you know that’s all it took? (It was my use of mature that won her over; I might as well have been wearing a monocle and a top hat.) But the trouble with giving four-year-olds what they want is that four-year-olds have four-year-old brains and rationalities. So when the doctor pierced one ear I cried, telling my mom in between snot sobs that “ONE. IS. JUST. ENOUGH! NOOOO! NOT THE OTHER EAR! MEAN MOMMY!” I got the other piercing but the memory stayed with me, and you know how vaccine shots are the scariest thing in the world when you’re a kid but seriously no big deal with you’re an adult? That’s how it felt after I got my second set of piercings at Studs. Ali coaxed me through my two “snake bite” piercings, which Studs defines as two piercings right next to each other, stacked vertically or horizontally. With my single existing lobe piercing, the snake bites formed a “right angle” and I’m in love. Well actually I’m a little obsessed now. It’s like something switched in my brain and all I want is more. On my left ear I’d like to move up next time—maybe a constellation design like this one. I usually wear a “crawler” on my right ear, so I want the next piercing on that side higher, on my helix. And then I think I’ll be done—but not with obsessing. By that point the obsession will have transferred over to jewelry. Fun!

Ali’s Ear

Previous piercings: Either seven or 11, depending on if you count the nose piercing she grew out of and the triple foward helix that never healed right
New piercings: 2/3 of a triangle constellation on the right lobe, or two lobe piercings stacked right on top of each other

ali earrings

I have a history of impulsive piercings. It’s true! It usually starts like this: I wake up one morning with the urge to get a piercing, and I go to the piercing shop by myself right that very moment. It’s because of that I have so many piercings already—four on my left ear and three, before I got to Studs, on my right ear. But I had some time to actually plan before our appointment, and found myself saving lots of photos of constellation piercings on Instagram. I already knew what I liked: odd numbers more than even, asymmetry, little studs and gold hoops I don’t ever have to take out. Since I had lots of lobe space on my right ear, I decided to get a triangle of little CZ studs—I’ll have to make another appointment for the third vertices. I’m also thinking about adding another cartilage hoop, or maybe a daith? Honestly, I’m open to suggestions—my piercer had a few. And don’t even get me started on my other ear. The floodgates are open and I’ll take any opportunity I can to be more sparkly—anyone want to go back with me next week?

Chloe’s Ear

Previous piercings: Single lobe piercings on each ear, and one closed-up second hole.
New piercings: A re-pierced second hole and a third one, too

IMG 5759

To say my piercing experience was a rollercoaster doesn’t even begin to unpack the range of emotions I went through on that Friday evening. All afternoon I was a nervous wreck. [Ed. note: Picture frantic texts and two editors huddling around Chloe in the ITG beauty closet, assuring her that “there’s nothing to be scared about” to get an idea of that Friday afternoon.] I don’t like pain and my previous piercing experiences were… not ideal. (My first piercer was a teenager at the local mall and my second was my aunt in her backyard.)

Once we got to Studs I was immediately put at ease. My piercer was super knowledgeable and helped me identify my dream lewk. I’m not going to lie, the first one hurt a lot. I wasn’t prepared for the pain and felt like I was going to throw up on the medical table. But when it came time for the second piercing, I was ready. It didn’t hurt at all and I’m so happy with the results—I love my earrings and I love Studs. They have a great collection of cool-but-not-cheap-looking earrings and the process is simple and unintimidating. I might want to go back for more someday soon, but I’ll stick with these for the time being, thank you very much.

Photos via the authors.


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