Hoop earrings: a style guide

In the world of jewellery, few items stand the test of time quite like hoop earrings. A symbol of infinity and wholeness, hoops have been adorning the ears of women and men for centuries, evolving with trends while maintaining their timeless pull. Whether you’re adding a touch of personality to your everyday look or dressing up for a night out, they will never let you down.

We asked our Jewellery team to take us through the hoop earring styles we stock at Oliver Bonas, some tips on how to wear them and explain why they can be the foundation upon which you grow your jewellery collection.

Why are hoops so popular?

Hoop earrings have a rich cultural history dating back to ancient Egypt, when both men and women wore them as a symbol of strength and individuality. Their significance continues today both as a form of self-expression and a fashion statement. From sleek, minimalist styles that add an understated finishing touch to a professional ensemble, to bold, impactful designs for special events, there’s a hoop for every style and occasion. It is this versatility that makes them so appealing.

We stock a range of different hoop styles at OB, from gold hoop earrings plated in 10k gold, to silver hoop earrings in plated, costume and sterling silver. From tiny huggie earrings to large, chunky hoops, all can be mixed and matched to suit your look, piercings and event. We also have different opening styles throughout our collections, as well as multipacks that can be used for stacking or adding variety.

Our expert says

‘I think hoop earrings have been described as “the little black dress of the jewellery world”. They can be dressed up or down, are appropriate for any occasion, are understated and discreet where needed, but a style statement in others. They project a sense of confidence – it's very hard to go wrong with a pair.’


How to wear them

Most hoop earrings have a standard post fitting with butterfly back, and many of the pairs we stock in this style come with a charm drop as part of the design. Creole-style hoops, meanwhile, have a hinge on the post so that the post flips open to be pushed through the ear before closing securely. We also sell styles that have an ear wire that simply threads through the ear like a hook.

Some have a hinge on the main part of the hoop so that you can open up the whole earring, push the post through and then close it. We call these a ‘hinged hoop’. Smaller pairs with this style of opening can be classed as huggie earrings, as they ‘hug’ the earlobe. Many of our hinged styles also come with a charm drop option.

Styling your hoop earrings

When choosing the perfect pair, you'll want to consider size and shape, as well as where your hoops will sit if you have more than one piercing. ‘With multiple piercings it can be impactful to layer a few, with bigger sizes lower down the lobe,’ recommends Jewellery Buyer Lianna Sheppard. ‘I love wearing studs in my second and third hole with a pair of simple hoops in my first.’

As well as thinking about where you’re going to be wearing yours and what suits your style and occasion, you might want to experiment with different metals, from classic gold and silver to rose gold. Make things interesting by adding charm drops and distorted hoops in a variety of shapes and silhouettes or add drama with playful costume jewellery.

Elevate the everyday

'Hoops are a great go-to, everyday style,’ says Lianna. ‘I like having some different scales and textures in my collection to style with different types of outfit, and we have 1cm, 2cm and 3cm sizes that are all great for casual looks and office-wear.’

‘Daytime styles are often smaller in scale and simpler in colour and design. You can wear your everyday hoops on their own or stacked with stud earrings or huggies if you have more than one piercing. I love the clean, expensive look of a crisp white shirt worn with a pair of hoops.’

Go big or go home

If you want to make more of an impact, bold, chunky hoop earrings are a great way to elevate your outfit. Ours come in plain styles, as well as stone-inlay, twisted silhouettes, ridged, hammered and engraved finishes to add colour and texture when you want to amp up the details. Our popular Carrie collection comes in both silver and gold finishes and small and large sizes.

If you’re ready to go large, we have styles up to 5cm, from delicately hammered finishes to decorative molten metal and cutout designs. ‘Large hoops earrings are the real statement-makers,’ says Deborah. ‘If I’m going for a curated look with stacking earrings, I like to wear a combination of smaller huggies and plain studs in my second and third piercings to allow the larger earring in my lower lobe to take centre stage.’

Charmed, I'm sure

We also carry charm hoop earrings, which add another dimension to your look. From gemstones to pearls and hammered discs to hearts and stars, there’s a charm to suit your style and your outfit. Charms add a touch of movement, swinging and catching the light as you move your head. We even have mix-and-match sets where you can switch up your charm to suit your mood. It’s a great way to get more out of your hoops.

The main event

If you really want to make them look, we have decorative hoops that bring all the colour and sparkle. Think bright shades of resin and enamel, twinkling inlaid stone, beaded finishes and clusters of pearls. These are the earrings that make a simple slip dress sing and add just the right amount of glamour to a wedding or graduation outfit.

‘Occasion styles are those that really make a statement,’ says Lianna. ‘They are larger in size and bold in colour and design. Our drop cheetah hoops are certainly a way to add some glamour to a special event - these showstoppers would look incredible with a party outfit. But we have customers who want to express their personality and love of colour at all times, so why not slip on a pair of drama-giving hoops with a plain T-shirt and jeans to transform a casual day-to-day outfit into something special?’

Whether you prefer yours classic and understated or in maximalist, eye-catching designs, hoop earrings have become part of a capsule wardrobe just as much as a trusty trench coat, a classic white shirt or your go-to denims. Match yours to your personal style, select something special for parties and occasions, or be like us and keep several different designs on rotation. Hoops will never go out of fashion.