There were many reasons why I adored Neneh Cherry when I was a teenager. The attitude. The fact she broke into the boys’ club of rapping. The defiant bouncing around in Lycra on Top Of The Pops while heavily pregnant (for these were the days when it was frowned upon for women to draw attention to their bumps). The bit in Buffalo Stance where she dismisses a cocky suitor with, “What’s he like, anyway?” But also: the hoops. God, I loved Neneh Cherry’s omnipresent, enormous, gold hoop earrings. Inspired, I bought my own pair from my beloved Elizabeth Duke at Argos, making me quite the badass at the youth-club disco, I can tell you. And it wasn’t just Neneh – all my favourite pop stars gave good hoop. Madonna, Whitney Houston and of course Sade – the smoothest hoops operator.
Although hoop earrings have arguably never not been popular, after last summer’s love-in with tassels this year is certainly focused on hoops. Online fashion search engine Lyst reports that searches for gold hoops are up 66% year on year, with Topshop and Accessorize among the most-shopped-for brands. Meanwhile, Pinterest says it’s seen an 35% increase in “saves” for hoop earring in the past six months. So, why have we gone cock-a-hoop (sorry) for hoops?
They’re cheap and cheerful
Hoop earrings are one of those brilliantly democratic trends – you’ve probably got a pair knocking around in your jewellery box already, and cheap and cheerful ones work as well as expensive ones (as long as your ears can take it). I’m currently wearing a £10 pair from John Lewis and have it on good authority that & Other Stories £13 hoops don’t leave your earlobes screaming. If you’re not sure how big is too big, you could experiment with this multipack of four gold pairs in varying sizes, just £8 from Accessorize.
They are the ultimate styling trick
I wore large gold hoops to a wedding last weekend to balance out a cutesy, floaty dress and, as soon as I’d threaded them through my lobes, I felt 85% cooler. Ditto when I wear them with a classic cotton sundress that would look a bit “meh” on its own. Hoops perform the same function as trainers when it comes to styling – they can take a prim, pulled-together outfit down a notch. Remember Lily Allen, the Myspace years? She gadded about gloriously in a ballgown and hoops (and trainers, too, actually).
They mean you don’t need to wash your hair
Hoops look best when your hair is pulled back into a ponytail or bun (see: J Lo circa the Puff Daddy years) and can give the illusion that you’ve made a bit of an effort when actually you didn’t have time to wash your hair. Which makes them perfect for summer holidays.
They are mighty morphing
Hoops don’t have to just mean silver and gold – this summer, they come in various forms and finishes. Jigsaw’s tortoiseshell resin pair give you two trends for the price of one (resin has also been popular this year). Or you can break the circle with this teensy sculptural hoop Astley Clarke. If you’re looking for a treat, head to Net-a-Porter, which has an entire section dedicated to hoops. Loren Stewart’s mini star earring is undeniably cute – pair with a plain gold hoop or a stud on the other side. & Other Stories is another great hoop destination, the wreath hoops and charm bracelet-inspired style being particularly lovely.
They go with everything
Making a statement without bellowing, “LOOK AT ME!” through a megaphone, hoops are the Cool Hand Luke of the earring worlds. And, because of their simplicity, they go with everything. You really can’t go wrong with hoops.
They’re not going anywhere
On the autumn/winter 2018 catwalks, at Louis Vuitton and Marni among others, hoops were bigger and shinier than ever before. Which, of course, means similar styles will be heading to a high street near you soon. Elizabeth Duke may have long since passed away (boo, Argos!), but the hoop truly lives on. In the meantime, if anyone wants to hear a brave, unique, truly special version of the Buffalo Stance rap – learned off by heart and finessed at numerous karaoke nights over the last three decades – I’m your woman.