For us, the sight of a humungous ear accessory jetting from the lobe to the helix is not a new phenomenon. Most of us have seen women dress up with ornate heirloom earrings covering the entire ear. Colloquially known as kaan phool, this set is a popular adornment in Gujarat and the south, especially worn by the bride or matriarch of the family to distinguish her from the rest. Of late, the accessory has made a huge comeback with fashionistas adorning them across Hollywood, Bollywood and runway shows (Thakoon, Jason Wu and Chloé to name a few).
"Like chandeliers, studs, drops and hoops, an ear cuff is also a kind of earring. The way a handcuff clutches the wrist, an ear cuff clings on to your ear lobe and gives an illusion of clasping on to it," explains curator Divya Israni from Mumbai's designer store Sapphire. In India, this trend is simply an extension of what has existed for generations; internationally, ear cuffs are the rage, back along with the crop top, dungarees and platform slippers from the '90s.
Ad film and print stylists Urmi Daga and Hemal V feel the accessory sported by everyone -- from Sonam Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha to Emma Watson and Miley Cyrus -- works to create a punk look without having to go through piercings. "Owing to its statement-making character, an ear cuff can be used to dress everything from the LBD to denims and blouse," says Daga.
The key is to match your outfit's colour with the cuff material. "A black dress can be amplified with a gold or copper ear cuff, and dainty diamond or crystal ones for a red or white dress. Similarly, silver cuffs work stunningly with colours such as mint, teal, indigo and orange."
Not just dresses, ear cuffs can be teamed with peplum tops, grungy t-shirts and gowns as well. The trick is to create balance by matching a sturdy looking cuff with a rugged outfit; similarly a flowing, girly number needs to be supported with a delicate and non-intrusive ear cuff.
Cuffs come in different styles as well. There are push-backs that can be worn like simple earrings but have a ear jacket-like look; there are those that need to be clipped on the curve of your ear and there ones that can be chained till the back of your hair. They come in a range of colours and metals. You can pick one depending on the shape of your face. Simple rules need to be kept in mind, however. "If you have a square-shaped face, stay away from ear jackets for they will make your face look squarer. Those with a slender cut face should go for lots of chains and danglers to create volume, while an oval-shaped face can pull off anything with elan," says jewellery designer Akanksha Arora from Amrapali.
How to cuff well
While wearing a ear cuff, cut down on other accessories from your outfit. It is bold and statement-making, so don't confuse your look by adding other loud pieces.
A cuff will create lots of drama to your look, so keep your makeup simple. Stick to one feature and highlight it.
Avoid carrying an over-the-top cuff to a day event. Loud ear cuffs look best when worn for evening functions.
At all costs, avoid accessorising around the ear area. Neck pieces, loud hair bands and nose pins need to take a backstage.
If you are feeling bold, mismatch by wearing a earcuff in one ear and a simple stud in another. To start slow, a subtle ear cuff with a single chain should do.