Fashion Jumps for Hoops

Like Pucci-esque prints and big aviator sunglasses, hoop earrings have been reborn. Trendsetters ranging from pop icons like singer and actress Jennifer Lopez to top-name international clothes designers are defining style with hoops. Not since the 1970s have hoop earrings been so prevalent in fashion and culture. Hoop earrings portray confidence, uncluttered style, and sex appeal, the same qualities that fashion in general embodies this year. Hoops’ high profile has been reinforced on the runways of clothing designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior, in fashion spreads of magazines likeW, and in advertising campaigns by Versace.

Generally large, thin, and yellow gold, hoops often are paired with layers of chains, a hot style for necklaces right now. The look springs from the sleek and sexy lines that strode down the runway for fall and winter. But while shoulder-brushing hoops may be all the rage for the younger market or the most fashion-confident, the hoop look also translates well, a boon to the rest of the population.

A prime example of modern fashion’s blurred social and cultural lines, the hoop earring is the darling of both Old Money sophisticates-who pair modest gold hoops with preppy plaids and tweeds-and members of the trendy hip-hop culture-who favor larger sizes, either impossibly thin, or thick and textured. In major metropolitan areas like New York City, women in suits and business-casual attire are choosing hoops over classic studs and last season’s delicate drops. A major departure from the tiny hinged hoops that have made up the bulk of the hoop market in recent years, the style is larger across the board. Generally, women are choosing hoops with about one-inch diameters for both business and casual.

The trend also dresses up for more formal fashion. Clothing designers, for example, showed diamond-encrusted hoops as accessories for their eveningwear.

The boom in hoops also can be traced to the trend toward accessories overall. Like hoop earrings, accessories-hats, belts, bags, and so forth-can be classic without being demure and powerful without being overpowering.