Front-Back Style Earrings & the New Terminology of Ear Adornment

By Cynthia Sliwa — June 02, 2014

Ear adornment has taken a new route over the past few months, with a huge variety of styles of ear cuffs and ear jackets attached to stud earrings figuring more and more prominently on celebrity stylings and  in the fashion press. The new style of ear jackets, if part of an earring set, and typically with a single drop in the back, has come to be referred to as “front-back” or “front/back” earrings.

front-back earrings Emma Watson CU Dior earrings 2014 Golden Globes REV

The groundbreaking front-back look that caught the fancy of fashion editors is Dior’s front-back faux pearl earrings, which take a classic design and give it exotic flair. The “Mise en Dior” earrings have appeared prominently in fashion editorials over the past several months. Actress Emma Watson wore the earrings to the 2014 Golden Globes, as pictured above.

I wrote about this style on October 2, 2013 in my post about stud earrings:

“One creative rethinking of stud earring design that has received a great deal of editorial attention is the Mise en Dior earring collection from Dior. The earrings are designed much like men’s cufflinks, with a small glass pearl on one end and a larger, more colorful bead on the other. The earrings are worn with the smaller of the beads in front of the ear with the larger one behind. The resulting look is fresh and unexpected.

front-back Studs 0913 HB Mise en Dior double balls REV

“The Mise en Dior earrings in white and black are pictured in this editor’s wish list in the September 2013 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

front-back earrings Mise en Dior green 0913 Elle REV

The September 2013 issue of Elle includes a larger photo of the Mise en Dior earrings.

front-back earrings 0614 People Style Watch REV

The June 2014 issue of People Style Watch confirms that front-back earrings have become a new category of ear adornment. Featuring styles from Forever 21, ASOS, Rebecca Minkoff, and GoJane, the magazine notes:  “These fun pairs add a touch of color, sparkle or cuteness–it’s a party from every angle!”

A Quick Guide to the New Terminology of Ear Adornment:

All the new ear adornment terminology can seem confusing.

  • Usually an ear cuff involves adornment of the upper portion of an ear, and is worn on only one ear. An ear cuff may be worn with traditional studs or other earrings on one or both earlobes.
  • An ear jacket (aka earring jacket), is suspended from the back of a stud earring, and often follows the shape of the ear. Like the ear cuff, it is typically worn on only one ear.
  • Front-back style earrings have a portion of the earring suspended from the back of what is essentially a stud earring, and often have a single drop design at the back of the ear, as seen in the examples in the June 2014 issue of People Style Watch. Front-back earrings are usually worn in matched pairs.

The most creative of the new designs in ear adornment defy conventional terminology.


Price Check:

  • ASOS:  “Faux Pearl Swing Earrings” in metal and plastic (6/14 People Style Watch), $10
  • Dior:  “Mise en Dior” earrings (various), $350
  • Forever 21:  “Spike Through Earrings” in metal with crystal detail  (6/14 People Style Watch), $4.80
  • GoJane:  “Dangling Heart Cursive Love Earrings” in metal (6/14 People Style Watch), $6.90
  • Rebecca Minkoff:  “Tulum” rhodium-plated brass earrings with turquoise detail (6/14 People Style Watch), $58


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