Home Accessories 23 Styles of Earrings that were soooo … 90s

23 Styles of Earrings that were soooo … 90s

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Madonna wearing 90s earrings

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The 90s was oh so famous for it’s earrings. I’ve compiled the ultimate list ear adornments this side of the last century. Enjoy!

Beaded

The wonders of nineties beadwork. The colourful plastic gems that glinted and adorned your carefree earlobes, ahh!

Such beaded earrings were all the range and came in all different shapes and sizes. It even encouraged the average person to give it a go and try to make their own personalized versions at home.  

With nimble fingers and pure concentration some even tried to make their own beaded earrings. They had to feed those pesky coloured beads onto a thin plastic thread. And then, after a few botched attempts — it was time to string it all together. Wah-lah! The ultimate DIY project.

Get your daily dose of nostalgia…

Button

The nineties really involved a rearranging of sorts. I’m thinking gloves without fingertips, purposeful rips in stockings, and that big-big dog collar your mate would always wear.

Well, this was also the time when the simple button got overhauled and transformed into a cute and kooky earring. Something as minimal and practical as the humble button, was formed into a quirky ornamental statement.

Fun fact: Koumpounophobia is the fear of buttons. It is apparently a surprisingly common phobia. Sufferers report being repulsed by the sight of buttons, even on other people. Wear them next to your closest enemies!

Chunky

It was all about that glittering chunk in the trunk! Or just basically, weight and grandiose size to pull at those ear holes and grab the attention of any passerby.

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The chunky earring was a definite statement of excess, extravagance and pure attitude. It took its cue from the hip-hop culture of the eighties and is what we might consider nowadays as ‘bling’.

Fun fact: The largest earrings in the world (that resemble mini chandeliers) are a whopping one kilogram in weight of gold!

Clip on

Okay, so it hurts to get your ears pierced. I’m not going to lie. And if that is really not your bag (pain, suffering and swelling for some) then it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fashion fun. The marvellous, multifaceted earring that is the clip-on was introduced in the 1930’s.

It came in many shapes and sizes, compressing the earlobes securely without getting too invasive. A beautiful revival of this earring happened in the 90s, allowing fashionistas to mix and match to their hearts delight.

Fun suggestion: Why not try magnet back earrings? Opposing magnets are set into the front and back of the earring to hold it onto the earlobe through magnetic force.

Cross

The bold iconic cross that every goth girl owned. Definitely not for Sunday school, but generally to be worn when moping around town to show everyone just how blasphemous you could get.

Inspired by Madonna’s rebel days and infamous crucifix wearing/devotion, the cross offered a romantic graveyard view on the victorian-cum-90’s youthful angst stupor that reigned defiantly.

Fun Fact: Madonna’s religious themes are her trademark, with notable songs ‘Like a Virgin’, ‘Like a Prayer’, and ‘Confessions on a Dance Floor.’ She recently even got crucified to a larger than life, lighted cross during the performance of “Live to Tell”. Some religious hang-ups, eh?

Dangle

Dangle — to hang or swing loosely. The dangle earring did just that! Drooping and swaying from the ear, elongating the face and creating major shimmery effects to the left and right.

These earrings were always about movement, little whimsical wind-chimes that would want to create beautiful melodies, everywhere you did step.

Door Knocker

Knock Knock.. Who’s there? The infamous door knocker earring, that’s who!

A fine specimen of an earring, typically a hoop of gold or silver (circular, or at times square, triangular, even heart-shaped), the door-knocker’s most noticeable feature is its impressive size. It certainly packs a punch.

Fun fact: The American television series Sex And The City outfitted the show’s trendsetting Carrie Bradshaw character in a pair of nameplate “Carrie” door-knockers in 1998-2001, that made large earrings enter into the mainstream.

Double Helix

A helix piercing was the very cool and radical part of the 90’s. The more piercings adorning your body, the better! A double helix itself, involved two piercings on that upper part of the ear.

Yes, that’s the cartilage part — the part where it hurts much more and takes a lot longer to heal. As such, the helix piercing communicated to others: I have been through something and have lived to wear the tale.

Fun fact: A double Helix means two piercings, a triple Helix is for three piercings, a quadruple is for four and a quintuple is for… well, fashions mantra is “no pain, no gain.”

Enamel Lizard

The exotic lizard and its reptilian features beckons far away places where the sun does shine. Such earrings offered it’s wearers a sense that they were a worldly travellers and always open to discovery and adventure.

The lizards themselves look like they have been borrowed from aboriginal art cave paintings. In fact, native cultures in Australia saw the lizard, or the goanna (a larger lizard) as a special, totemic spirit. Maybe this is why it offers the wearer it’s bohemian world-trotting wisdom.

Glow in the Dark

Dim the lights and turn-up that rave music. The glow-in-the-dark earrings were an essential if you wanted to be taken serious at the party.

It was worn with glowpaint, glowsticks and generally anything else that would glow-glow-glow. A UV sensation that involved science and disorientating colours. A fun staple!

Gold

Gold (if it’s the real deal) is certainly a great investment and something to keep onto. The gold earring is also a lot better for those who have sensitive ears and helps to alleviate any weird reactions from those non-gold wannabe earrings.

Gold comes in different colours and carats. A carat is a unit of weight referring to the percentage of pure gold, the more the carat (up to 24) the more moolah!

Grunge

I’m thinking a titanium-chained-partly-studded-pentagon-type number with plenty of irony and unbrushed hair to boot.

Grunge — the era of unwashed-chic, a haven for the misunderstood weed-smoking individual, who doused in acne and riddled with hormones, would wail into the night. Oh I miss you 90’s!

Grunge didn’t care for the mainstream and would hide from the world under oversized garments and a vacant stare.

Hoop

The hoop is a classic earring variety that ranges widely in size. The referential hoop, refers to the circular wedding ring.

A circle has no beginning or end and is therefore a symbol for infinity. Much like the hoop, it’s presence in the 90’s will be felt throughout each era, infinitely.

Read:

Lucite

Lucite is a type of plastic made from acrylic resin developed in the 1930s. In the nineties it was used in abundance and found in a wide range of colours with little fascinating things trapped inside.

Do you remember those club kid chunky bubble rings with rainbows and glitter? Compliment your overall jewellery look by pairing your fingers with your ears on this one.

Neon

Delirious neon and its bounty of saturated color. Neon can either make your mouth water, or have you gagging.  Love it or hate it, its presence in the nineties was certainly felt.

The colors — mostly neon yellow and green — play up the nostalgic feeling the most! These intense hues not only guarantee many cool “notice me” points, but also offer great safety benefits in the form of hi-vis neon jackets. Don’t forget to ride in safe style kids!

Read: How to Style Neon Pants – You Glow Girl!

Plastic

Plastic is a synthetic material that has been used for a wide range of products because of its malleability and affordability. Unfortunately, it doesn’t biodegrade easily resulting in harmful pollution.

We’re trying to avoid it as much as possible, aware of the negative impact it has on the environment, check out our friends over at Global Green Family for more how you can play your part.

That’s why upcycling the old vintage plastic earrings from the 90’s in all sorts of funky designs, is a great way to feel positive about plastic whilst keeping ethically on trend.

Smiley face

The smiley was a feel-good symbol of a nation. Acid house and the late-night-early-morning-mid-morning rave parties of the hedonist ushered in this iconic symbol. This beaming spirited face was emblazoned everywhere and was typical of the 90s.

Get quintessentially rave and dance around with these earrings. It will certainly put a smile on your face!

Shell

The shell earring has ‘sweet souvenir’ written all over it. Organic in form and full of the oceans history and power, these nostalgic numbers will echo the waves lapping up on the beaches shore.

Think fleeting holiday romance, the smell of sun lotion with ice cream and salted sea breeze on your serene face. The earrings will make you feel as powerful as a sea-goddess, free as a mermaid and seductive as a siren.

Spiky

The earring that misbehaves! This spiky number pokes itself in many directions.

Angular, bold and somewhat humorous – these earrings would shout out “alternative subculture!” and “danger!” to any person who dares walk into my path.

Statement

Everyone wants to be noticed for the right reasons, that’s why the statement earring is always such a necessary go-to accessory/essential!

Team it up with unlikely clothing garments such as the shell suit, the dog collar, the oversized tee. You’re making fashion happen! And others will follow.

Sticker

These adhesive stickers could be stuck all over the place.

Despite not looking so convincing as realistic earrings, they still sparkled with oriental wonder and could be adorned to other areas of the body, such as a makeshift bindi (this one is in ode to Gwen Stefani).

Triangle

The triangular shape shuns all the classic circular forms that often take jewellery by storm. There’s nothing organic about this shape. It stands proudly — constructed like the roof, a pyramid or freemasons badge of honour. It’s points upwards, always reaching towards the sky.

The triangle and it’s geometry nod to the 80’s and 90’s attempt to be futuristic, and makes for a chic ‘am I modern?’ look. Just don’t get too carried away with this one.

Troll

Wispy dry hair, a crooked-gargling face and a small doughy body. The loveable rogue that is the troll. An unforgettable feature of the 1990’s, these trolls could be collected en masse and congregate in one’s bedroom like a small army of miniature rainbow warriors.

When hooked on your earlobes, people will find it difficult to choose with whom to make eye contact — you, or your dearests hanging to the left and the right with their animated eyes.

What were your favourite 90s earrings? Let me know in the comments below!