The 5 Main Kinds of Earrings and How To Wear Them


If you’re thinking about buying a new pair of earrings, it helps to know the 5 main kinds of earrings and how to wear them best. This guide will give you a complete overview as well as some helpful tips on how to wear different kinds of earrings.

(If you like this article, you may also like our GUIDE TO NECKLACES too!)

Let’s get started!

guide to different kinds of earrings cover photo

Different Kinds of Earrings #1: Stud Earrings

You are likely familiar with this first type of earring — the stud earring. This term is used for a variety earrings that are also described as “button” or “cluster” earrings.

The things that define these earrings are the stationary post (the part the goes through your earlobe) with an adornment on the end. Like this:

image of square diamond studs

Or these:

image of stud earrings

Different Kinds of Earrings #2: Hoop Earrings

Hoop earrings are exactly what they sound like — they’re hoops. Like this:

image of hoop earrings

These include everything from classic gold hoops to “inside out” diamond hoops. They can be fat (as shown above) or thin.

Another term you may want to be familiar with is “huggie” earrings. These are small hoops that wrap around and “hug” your earlobe.

Different Kinds of Earrings #3: Drop Earrings

You will drop and dangle earrings used somewhat interchangeably, but they are worth separating into different categories. Typically, a drop earring is shorter than a dangle earring (more on these below) and often uses a teardrop shape, like this:

image of drop earrings

Different Kinds of Earrings #4: Dangle Earrings

As stated above, dangle earrings and drop earrings are terms that are often used interchangeably. But dangle earrings typically hang lower than drop earrings and, well, they dangle.

They sometimes have a more elaborate design and use chains or joints to offer dangling motion.

Here is an example of dangle earrings:

image of dangle earrings

Different Kinds of Earrings #5: Chandelier Earrings

The last main category of earrings is the chandelier. These are closely related to the dangle earrings, but are wider and often use a lattice-like design that looks very much like an elegant chandelier in a grand dining room or ball room. Like this:

image of chandelier earrings

Tips For Wearing Earrings

The most important rule of wearing earrings well is to be careful not to turn yourself into a walking chandelier. If you’re wearing chandelier earrings, consider wearing no necklace at all.

You want your jewelry to be a bold, well-chosen accessory to your look… You don’t want different pieces of jewelry to be in competition with one another.

It’s all about balance. If you’re wearing simple diamond studs, you can typically also wear a necklace without your face looking too busy.

What To Have In Your Jewelry Box

In her book Style A to Zoe, fashion expert Rachel Zoe lists three pairs of earrings as essentials to any woman’s jewelry box.

image of Style A to Zoe by Rachel Zoe

First, she recommends owning a pair of diamond studs. These go with just about everything and can be worn well on a variety of occasions.

Next, she recommends owning 2 pairs of hoop earrings, one in white metal and another in yellow. White and yellow gold hoops are classics that can be mixed and matched with a variety of outfits and other accessories.

Finally, she recommends owning a pair of “Wow earrings.” She says that “A big pair of gold earrings can glam up any outfit in a snap.” To make these a true statement piece of jewelry, consider a bold pair of dangle or chandelier earrings.

Another great point Rachel Zoe makes is that “the classics aren’t ‘It’.”

Meaning: There are the latest a greatest fads that come and go (the “it” item of the season), and then there are the classics that endure for decades.

One final tip:

When it comes to the jewelry classics that you’ll wear for years or even decades, don’t skimp on quality. When buying diamond studs or hoops, buy quality that will last your lifetime and beyond.

Many of the trendy fashion items that will be out of style by the next season aren’t worth spending a ton of money on, but a good pair of diamond studs are worth the investment.

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