Remember All Those Piercing Trends? Yeah, They're Basically All Back


There are a few principles in life we can confidentially rely on:

1. The sky is blue.

2. Clouds are white.

3. The sun will rise.

4. If Cara Delevingne is doing something, it must be cool. In this case: lip rings.

The 23-year-old model was seen earlier this month at a Chanel party wearing a shiny silver hoop in the middle of her bottom lip. The look was surprising enough to make headlines and invite questions: Is this a Thing now?

Whether worn as a sign of rebellion, a fashion statement or a cultural tradition, piercings have long been an idiosyncratic way to express ourselves. Certain body parts are obviously more traditional; at this point, earrings aren't trendy so much as a rite of passage (even for babies) and the nose ring has proven consistent.

But lately, numerous piercing trends we long thought dead (at least from "mainstream fashion") are back in vogue. Designers like Givenchy and Eva Fehren are peddling septum rings for hundreds of dollars, while designer Delfina Delettrez has gone as far as engagement septum rings (!). What was once stigmatized as trashy or tasteless is now apparently cool again.

Not everything is back, of course (that middle cartilage piercing your camp counselor had hasn't gotten much fanfare). So what's really back in style and worth going under the needle for (or just clipping on a fake)? Here are some that, oddly enough, are actually back.

Lip rings

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Who's wearing it? Cara Delevingne, Rihanna 

A bit of history: Lip piercings date back to ancient civilizations, with certain varieties attributed to early tribal cultures in Africa (including the "labret piercing" lip plates you've seen photos of). There's also what's called a "Monroe piercing," placed off-center in the skin above or below the lips. Hoops that go around the mid-lip? Those seem newer.

Why it's great: Lip rings are good choice for anyone interested in trying out a facial piercing without committing, because it's easy to fake with a lip cuff or even with makeup. That said, careful with kissing. Plus, while certain piercings and tattoos can be covered up for work, this is definitely less office-friendly.

OK, but is this, like, a Thing? Eh. While Cara can certainly pull off this look (and pretty much anything else), it doesn't seem to be trending quite as widely on the likes of Instagram at the moment. Yet.

Septum piercings

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Who's wearing it? FKA Twigs, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and all the cool girls on Instagram

A bit of history: Contemporary nose piercing appears to have arrived in the United States around the 1970s, brought back from India by hippies, and popped up in the early 1980s, as the punk look crept in. But they really date back much farther, to islands like Borneo and New Guinea, Meso- and South American peoples like the Mayans and Incas and Native American tribes in the U.S.

Why it's great: Septum rings are definitely an edgier look, but they can also be quite elegant. Like lip rings, you don't have to fully commit to this one either. Though we wouldn't recommend a septum ring in the board room, their subtlety makes them a bit more wearable day to day.

OK, but is this, like, a Thing? Oh yeah. The septum piercing trend has been gaining traction over the past several years, Google searches show, but really exploded in 2015. Now it's popular for anyone looking for something a teensy bit edgy — though it's getting less so by the day. If cute Chloe Moretz is rocking one...

Nipple piercings

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Who's wearing it? Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid

A bit of history: Nipple rings have been around the block before (some say as far back as Victorian times), having gained popularity among the gay BDSM-and-leather crowd in the 1970s and again in the '90s, as seen on Janet Jackson's 1997Vibe magazine cover.

Why it's great: Unlike other body piercing trends, nipple piercings feel more personal because they aren't meant for everyday viewing, which some might find empowering. This one is harder to fake, so it's likely that'll you'll have to go all in if you want a nipple ring. Be careful with loose hair!

OK, but is this, like, a Thing? Yep. It Girls are reclaiming this trend as their own, and it turns out so is everyone else. Cassi Lopez from New York Adorned, which does tattoos and piercings, told Mic that she's certainly seeing a rise in customers coming in for nipple piercings. In the age of authenticity, a nipple piercing might be the choice for anyone looking to make a (somewhat) subtle statement.  

Belly button rings

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Who's wearing it? Real people! Lopez told Mic she is "definitely see[ing] a rise in navel piercings," specifically from "the crowd that already had them in the late '90's to early 2000's." In fact, she added, "what they're doing is actually reopening their old holes with thin gold rings." Same piercing, just all grown up.  

A bit of history: Pierced navels hit the mainstream in the early '90s thanks in part to Christy Turlington. But most of us will remember Britney Spears as the most frequent celebrity wearer (even today, albeit in a more toned-down style).

Why it's great: Like the aforementioned nipple piercing, belly button rings connote the same "just for me" sentiment. On the other hand, this one makes you more likely to be mistaken for a '90s pop star and mobbed by crazed fans when you go outside.    

OK, but is this, like, a Thing? Whether you had your belly button pierced when the first Clinton was in office or not, this location is definitely on point in 2015. 

Eyebrow rings

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Who's wearing it? JoJo

A bit of history: Unlike other body and facial piercings, eyebrow rings are fairly modern and attributed to the rise of punk culture in the 1970s and 1980s.  

Why it's great: Eyebrow rings are definitely harder to pull off without looking stereotypically "trashy" or "tacky," but with the right jewelry, even this quintessential punk piercing can look toned-down and delicate while maintaining its air of rebellion.

OK, but is this, like, a Thing? "Wait, JoJo is back?" you might have been wondering. About as back as eyebrow rings. They — and she — have slowly been making reappearances, from the likes of designers like Rodarte and Brian Rowan, who are bringing the mall rat rebel look back.

Food piercings


Wait, what? Eggplants? Passion fruit? OK, so maybe this isn't an actual trend. Over the past few years, artists including Victor Barragan, Loney Abrams, Johnny Stanish and Oren Pinhassi have taken to piercing inanimate objects as a way of expressing the evolving relationship between trends and individuality.  

Speaking of which, you now have countless ways to express that individuality with all the old new piercings. Just pick your body part.