The male earring is back. Embrace it.
If you, like millions of viewers around the world, tuned into The Last Dance each week this past spring, you might’ve noticed something shiny glinting inconspicuously from Michael Jordan’s evervigilant ears.
Yes, the man who singlehandedly made basketball one of the biggest sports in the world and the NBA a global superpower—ushering in the era of the athlete-as-brand in the process—unabashedly rocked an earring. And hot damn he looked cool doing it.
Sure, it doesn’t hurt that His Airness was handsome and carried himself with a swagger befitting the generation-defining personality he was, but part of Jordan’s appeal has always been how he’s presented himself, from the brazen tongue-out drives to the basket to the sneakers that still fetch shockingly high prices on the resale market today. If you finished the series and couldn’t shake the enduring image of MJ and his earring, you’re not alone.
There’s something about the earring that’s been bubbling up in the culture for a minute now, and Jordan’s tacit endorsement of the style only adds to its appeal. Some of today’s boldest dressers, led by a group of athletes and entertainers spanning a broad range of ages and backgrounds, have embraced the accessory as an everyday go-to, lending it a casual elegance a far cry from some of the, ah, less-tasteful styles of yesteryear.
And if you’re about to hit us with some nonsensical argument about earrings being too dainty for your big, manly ears or some antiquated notions of masculinity bull, we’re really not here for it, and neither is jewellery designer Maria Tash. “I don’t design with gender in mind,” says Tash. “Each piece is unique to the wearer and it’s not about masculinity or femininity, it’s about personal style and how you resonate with each piece.”
In short, no one’s forcing you to get your ears pierced, or recommending that all men everywhere should suddenly embrace the accessory without reserve. All we’re saying is that if you’ve been considering getting your ears pierced the fickle tides of fashion—scandalized friends and family aside—are very much turning in your favour.
Esquire now has a newsletter – sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox.