Secrets to Curating the Perfect Ear Stack



Published September 13, 2022


Updated May 4, 2024

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When it comes to earrings, there’s no doubt that stacking is definitely in. More than ever, it’s incredibly popular to have multiple piercings in both ears and to feature an assortment of earrings—sometimes matched and other times wildly different—rather than wearing just a single pair.

Why wear only a pair of earrings when you could turn your ears into a veritable canvas for showcasing your personality? Curating the perfect ear stack doesn’t happen accidentally—it takes a bit of planning. Some fine jewelry shops like Porter Lyons even offer consultations with new piercings.

The goal is to create a look that’s uniquely yours. It might look a bit left of center or like you’ve arranged everything flawlessly down to the last detail. The goal is to create a look that’s truly your own.

Here are some tips that can help you get started if all of the different options have left you feeling in over your head:

Start with the Centerpiece

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The ultimate rule to curating an ear stack is no rules. If you’re unsure where to begin choosing a theme, try starting with the centerpiece. The earrings that you display in your lobe piercings will often be the main items in your ear stack, and you may find that after you’ve selected the earrings to wear in your lobe piercings, everything else will come together naturally.

Simply look for other pieces that complement the main pieces, either because they match or contrast in an appealing way.

Think About the Locations of Your Earrings

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As you work to curate your ear stack, you’ll likely want to select a piece to display in each piercing location. As you work on this, remember that you don’t necessarily need to wear an earring in each piercing, and your ears don’t have to match.

Although the earrings worn in your lobe piercings will typically match one another, you may find that you can create a unique and appealing look by wearing different earrings in the secondary piercings of both ears.

The best location for ear piercings generally starts with the ear lobe, the perfect place for studs, hoops, huggies, hooks, and labrets. The helix, or the outer part of the ear, needs to be shaped, commonly used for industrial piercing and labrets and style rings.

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On the other hand, straight barbells and labrets are widely used in the conch or the innermost ear section. A curved barbell or circulars (small hoops) is recommended for snug piercing. Snug is the small, inner cartilage ridge that surrounds the conch.

Other ear-piercing sites include the daith, rook, tragus, anti-tragus, and the flat. Another thing to remember when curating your ear stack is that not all earrings require piercings. If you want to experiment with wearing a piece in a location that isn’t pierced yet, try a clip-on earring.

Developing your personal ear stack is more than choosing a group of earrings that go together just so—it’s also about making choices that mesh well with your unique anatomy. The fact that a particular stack works perfectly on a model’s ear doesn’t necessarily mean you should rush out and get your ears pierced in the same locations because your ears may not have the same shape.

Wearing clip-on earrings is a great way to try a new look before committing to something permanent.

Mix & Match Earring Types

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When you visit a finer jewelry shop, you’ll find an almost endless variety of earrings—maybe you’ll even find the perfect item for completing your ear stack. Mixing and matching earring types is an important part of creating a look that’s truly your own.

There are hoops and studs, along with dangling centerpiece earrings. You can find earrings with flat backs, screw-on backs, clipping backs, and many more. You can go with several different themes regarding mixing and matching earring types.

A big centerpiece earring flanked by studs always looks great, as does a collection of different-sized hoops. The real magic happens when you mix earrings of different types. Don’t forget that mixing and matching your ear stack isn’t just a matter of choosing the earring types themselves but also deciding what goes where.

There’s no rule saying that you need to wear the same type of earring in the same location in each ear.

Choose Your Theme

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There’s a fine line between an ear stack that looks delightfully left of center and one that looks completely random. Often, a central theme can be the thing that ties the ear stack together and makes it look complete, even when the individual pieces are unmatched. What makes for a perfect theme?

Here are a few ideas that can help you get started:

  • Choose pieces that present similar or related ideas. For example, you can wear earrings with skulls or hearts. You can choose earrings that represent the different signs of the zodiac. 
  • Choose pieces with similar shapes, lines, or angles. You can create interesting looks with bar-shaped earrings displayed in different orientations.
  • Choose pieces with matching stones. An all-diamond ear stack, for instance, is always classic. You could also choose your stones to match your clothes that day. If an all-matching ear stack isn’t what you’re looking for, try mixing colors instead.

Ideas for the Perfect Ear Stack: Practical Examples

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Now that we’ve explored some of the different possibilities that you can explore as you curate your ear stack, we’d like to leave you with some practical examples that you can use as a starting point in coming up with your own ideas. Try one of these examples if you’re feeling stuck in a rut.

  • Never be afraid to play with colors. The classic jewel tones of ruby, emerald, and sapphire always look great together, or you can try a mix of pastel-colored semiprecious stones instead. If you have several piercings, try an ear stack that alternates between diamonds and colored stones.
  • Get creative when choosing a theme. Playing further on the zodiac theme mentioned above, you could try an ear stack that uses diamonds to represent the stars and a pearl symbolizing the moon. Use the smaller pieces to flank a larger centerpiece representing your star sign.
  • Try an all-hoop ear stack with a large hoop as the centerpiece and smaller hoops in the flanking positions. Remember that there’s no need for all of the earrings to match, although an all-gold ear stack always looks nice. If you’d like to make things a little less monotone, you might enjoy a three-color arrangement featuring yellow, rose, and white gold.

Curating the perfect ear stack is about knowing the best piercing areas, compatible jewelry, and your personality and style. Nothing should stop you from expressing yourself, whether you want to look cool, hippie, chic, modern, or iconic.

Consider applying the practical tips above to create the ear stack you’ll be most comfortable wearing. Moreover, consider your regular wardrobe style, social events, and routines to choose the perfect jewelry for your ear piercing.

Most importantly, consult an ear-piercing professional if you have doubts or concerns for your peace of mind. Only deal with qualified ear piercers with a good portfolio and track record.

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