The In-Your-Face Fashion Trend to Make Your Mama Cry - OZY | A Modern Media Company

The In-Your-Face Fashion Trend to Make Your Mama Cry

British singer FKA Twigs arrives for the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition gala at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, March 12, 2015.
SourceToby Melville/Corbis Images

The In-Your-Face Fashion Trend to Make Your Mama Cry

By Melissa Pandika


Finally, nose piercings you might be able to get away with at the office.

By Melissa Pandika

Shhh, don’t tell Mom — nose piercings are having a fashion moment. Actually, it’s more a movement.

OK, a quick update. After years of being the style staple of spiky-haired emo kids and sullen Goths, nose rings hit mainstream a few years ago as haute fashion for the professional millennial. But those were on the tame side of nostril jobs. Now we’re talking about a major migration to smack in the middle of the face: in the septum. Ouch! Right through a thicker chunk of flesh. And they are everywhere. Even “it” girls Rihanna and FKA Twigs have started rocking this look.

Elegant, high-end gold pieces feel equally at home in the office cubicle as they do at Coachella.

And that’s not the only change. In their modern incarnation, elegant, high-end gold pieces have replaced the thick, titanium-steel bull rings of the past, feeling equally at home in the office cubicle as they do at Coachella. Indeed, it’s amazing what this quarter-inch trip across the nose means. And thanks to celebrity middle-of-the-nose sightings, “people started seeing it as acceptable,” says Rebecca Warwick, founder of U.K.-based Regal Rose, a large online jewelry seller. 

In the 1980s and ’90s, of course, nose piercings looked “grungy” and “aggressive,” says J. Colby Smith, a big-name jewelry designer and piercer at New York Adorned. Industrial, in-your-face steel bars then gave way to crunchy, hippie nostril piercings, inspired by the early-2000s yoga movement.

With a clientele that includes tastemakers Emma Stone, Zoe Kravitz and Candice Swanepoel, Smith has actually had a big hand in shaping today’s aesthetic. He says he designs his jewelry for “a more refined crowd” that most wouldn’t expect to sport septum piercings. He opts for gold over silver jewelry, not only to cater to his typically 25-and-up, income-earning clients, but also because it better complements their skin. “I want it to be the last thing I see,” he says.

Sound appealing? It is if you are looking to add some symmetry to your face. Among the hottest options are delicate 14-karat-gold septum chains. But barely there barbells — a petite bulb glinting from each nostril — and dainty hoops are gilding septums too. At Regal Rose, Warwick says small, “almost handmade”-looking pieces, with intricate engravings and scalloped edges, sell quickly. And while the piercings remain most common among the female set, more men are sporting them as well, as the trend grows in popularity.

Of course, with every fashion statement comes a potential fashion faux pas. And in this case, it’s the challenge of blowing your now lovingly adorned nose properly. Alberto Lovell, a 30-year-old San Carlos, California, resident with a recently pierced septum, barely gives it a thought. He feels “no pain whatsoever,” he says. “Nothing at all.”


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