GQ’s Fashion Editor Unravels His Re-introduction To The Male Earring

24 March 2020
Fashion, Accessories, Earrings, Jewellery, Alexander McQueen, Versace, Vivienne Westwood, Alan Crocetti
Image: Illustration by Michael Hoeweler
Keanoush Zargham on micro-accessories and a new world of masculinity

When I was 16 and a self-proclaimed skater boy, I decided to try nose and lip piercings in a bid to appear more ‘cool’. I got them (don’t ask to see the photos), but let’s just say this: one year later I vowed to never try the experiment again. Quite frankly, I looked ridiculous.

Read More: The season’s blingiest accessory

But time is a great healer, right? Ten years later and with a new decade came a new attitude. On January 1 this year, I made a promise to take more risks with my appearance. Things I wouldn’t have dared try in 2019 were going to happen in 2020. The list was long and complex, but first up was how to find a way of adding new accessories to my look. Now, if the SS20 catwalks had taught me anything, it was that there was only one place to start. I would open old wounds (literally) and attempt to embrace earrings once again.

Of course, miniature investments in menswear aren’t anything new. Cast your eye towards Will Smith’s look in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (now streaming on Netflix), for example. Earrings, chains, the hat collection, the out-turned blazer with colour-pop lining... the Prince may well have been Philadelphia born and raised, but his style choices were strictly New York, London, Paris and Milan. And while you were less likely to see that look on the High Street in the 1990s, the new wave of softer masculinity we’re enjoying in 2020 means that nothing is off-limits anymore. I wanted earrings. I was going to have them. That’s a mindset you can follow, too.

This season, the runways of Dior, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen and more have pushed the male earring with gusto. This ranged from classic silver hoops with pearls to monogram motifs that were just so fetching. Never mind my former self, this type of jewellery instantly spoke to me.

Read More: Jewellery for men - show your metal

Four earrings for a bold, brash style reboot

Earrings, $425, Alexander McQueen

Earrings, $220, Versace at Farfetch

Earrings, $70, Vivienne Westwood

Earrings, $395, Alan Crocetti at SSENSE

But while the style choice was the easy part, getting the piercing in the first place was less so. All I knew for certain was this: if you’re going to do something, do it with intention. With that in mind, there was only one viable option: I resolved to head to Maria Tash at The Dubai Mall.

Read More: 17 of the season’s must-have accessories

Cards on the table: I was nervous. Really nervous. The team there put me at ease, but in all honesty I was more afraid of how it would go down with my father (not well). Sidenote: if you’re wondering just why parental approval might still bother a 26-year-old man, well it’s all about geography. As part of a Middle Eastern family, I shall forever been seen as my family’s representative… and piercing is quietly frowned upon in local culture. But I was in too deep. I wasn’t about to back down. I resolved to endure the journey, wherever it took me. Unwanted opinions could come later.

Okay, there’s a chance I’ve gone off on a tangent. The piercing itself? Not as painful as I thought. In line with my true self, I went a little maximalist with the purchase… but hey, I’m sure lots of people have a first piercing made with diamonds, rubies and white gold. I was also told that I needed to disinfect my ear for five minutes each day, which was a bit of a chore, but all part of the experience, right?

Of course, things don’t begin and end with the piercing. You may have the hoop, but how do you build your look from there? Well, here’s the part where I offer a masterclass on how to brilliantly match your new earrings with your outfit. You might want to sit down for this. Actually, scratch that. The best idea is pretty simple: don’t overthink it. The key to perfecting your new earring-included look can be found within. So, for example, if you’re more minimal and tend to go for clean Jill Sander-esque tailoring, just dress that up with some Ambush earrings (the amazing Japanese designer that creates all of Dior Men’s jewellery). However, if you – like me – are a brash maximalist and love to sport Gucci head-to-toe, then don’t stop there! Keep turning up the heat, and add on some multi-coloured bejewelled earrings with extra pearls.

Read More: Best men’s jewellery to enhance your outfit

All things considered, you could say that my first style experiment for 2020 was a lesson in life, and not just where and when to style-out a classic stud.

Here’s the top line: don’t agonise over it. Have fun, take chances and remember, there are no rules in fashion anymore... it’s time to embrace whatever type of man you wish to be.