For a country that has carved a unique fashion personality for itself, India is often slow when it comes to picking up trends. The latest look that is making waves on the runway and off it, is actually one that finds its genesis in the traditional Indian jhumka. Internationally called the ear cuff, this goth-meets-rocker accessory consists of an earring with a long decorative chain that can be clipped onto the upper ear or attached to the hair with the help of a comb. A version of it, called the ear wrap, consists of many rings or decorative embellishments that curve around the ear.
Though everyone from actor Diane Kruger to singers Rihanna and Alicia Keys have been spotted with their own interpretations of the trend, it’s only just making its presence felt in India. Online sites like Chennai-based webstore droppedin.net and asos.com have started stocking different versions of the ear cuff, while city store Bungalow 8 is one of the first to offer a high-end version, with products from A Peace Treaty. Says Pooja Sengupta, founder of droppedin, “India always takes a little more time when it comes to picking up on trends. So while it’s already a rage abroad, ear cuffs are only just generating interest here.” Still, Sengupta is hopeful, saying, “What’s surprising is that instead of the edgier designs (spikes, multiple studs), we get more requests for the delicate versions with flowers and crystals.
Indian girls are definitely beginning to experiment with their looks.” For accessories designer Nitya Arora, it’s ironic that this design has existed for many years in India, and is now coming full circle. “You see women in the trains and even vegetable vendors wearing earrings that are attached to a chain going up into the hair,” she says. “It’s practical, because in the olden days, earrings were heavy and would stretch the earlobe. It’s sad that we only begin to think it’s cool when a western celebrity starts wearing it.”
Get the style
Ear cuffs can’t be worn quite the same way as earrings. They’re usually worn as a single piece, rather than a pair, since they are already dramatic.
It’s best not to pair your ear cuff with a necklace. Too much hardware on one outfit is a bit too Bappi Lahiri to be considered stylish.
If you want to show it off, style your hair into an updo, so that the piece gets maximum visibility.
If your ear cuff has spikes or multiple chains attached to it, you need to be careful not to get it caught on your own T-shirt. Choose a thick fabric that won’t easily rip if the chain snags it.