Pretty, Pretty Ears

My sistar showed me this Into The Gloss article back in July about J. Colby Smith, a piercer at New York Adorned.  It’s a great article (you should read it) and what left an impression with me was Colby’s aim of making piercings look “delicate and pretty.”

The difference between what I do and the industry standard is—I think piercing is in a lot of ways meant to look intimidating or extreme. A lot of it is about ‘how big that ring in her ear is.’ I try to do things to look more delicate and pretty, and I feel like a lot of other people focus more on extremes. And honestly—and this is going to sound funny to say—for me, less is more, aesthetically. I’ve become quite famous for saying ‘no.’

One look at his website, portfolio, and Instagram and we were hooked.  My sister and I have always had a love affair with tattoos and piercings (to Mrs. Phi’s dismay), but also, a love affair with being “pretty” – HAIR CAPES, SHORT SKIRTS, SWEEPING BANGS, WINGED EYELINER. The notion of making piercings into something feminine and pretty seemed so obvious!

As we had a trip to New York planned for late October, we immediately made plans to obtain said pretty jewelry at New York Adorned on our trip. Knowing that when you initially get pierced, you often have to use a certain type of (thicker/bigger/wider) jewelry and that you can’t change out your jewelry right away, we decided to get our piercings done separately at our respective cities in Houston and Seattle first, wait 3 months for them to heal, then change out the jewelry in New York.

And so the painstaking and time consuming process of researching, planning, and piercing began.  I created my I NEED HOLES Pinterest board to help collect photos and inspiration.  It’s REALLY HARD planning out multiple piercings while also planning out future jewelry, especially when piercers sometimes don’t let you do multiple piercings at the same time and then you have to go to a different piercing place who WILL pierce you (just kidding not really).  I ended up getting 6 new piercings spread out over 3 piercings trips.  The healing process has been a huge annoying bitch and I still can’t sleep comfortably on either side of my head, but luckily, by the time we went to New York Adorned, Colby said they had healed enough to change the jewelry.


It’s still a work in progress and I have some more tweaks I want to make, but I’m absolutely in love.

[images from]

15 comments Write a comment

  1. The two tiny triangles on your R ear are so delicate and feminine looking! I’m not brave enough to do what you’ve done, but I have always admired those who could wear multiple piercings without looking all punk rocker to the power of 9745. I love the idea of delicate piercings!

  2. I love the tri-dot stud on your tragus! Now I feel like I have to find that stud for mines. Too bad you found it in NY 🙁

    • You can email the store and they’ll ship it to you! I’m actually waiting for some jewelry I wanted to come back in stock (they were out when I was there) and they said they could mail it to you.

    • DO IT. I see it as the grown up version of body piercing. FANCY, PRETTY [EXPENSIVE] GOLD JEWELRY.

  3. I’ve started an “ear project” of my own, just lobes, a cartilage and horizontal lobe so far, but definitely looking to add a ton more.
    I love every single picture, they are absolutely gorgeous.
    Do you know if the jewelry is available in a variety of sizes? I see their body jewelry gallery but no sales information in that section. This is a place I will definitely keep in mind if I decide to treat myself.

    • Yay! Glad you’re inspired. =)

      Yes, their hoops and labrets come in all sizes. It’s definitely easier if you know what size you need, especially if you can’t see them in person, but you can always email then and include photos of what you like.

  4. how expensive was the jewelry? must check this place out. you’ve inspired me! now i want more holes too!!

    • When I first got my tragus piercing, it was hard to use qtips or put earbuds in, but it’s slowly getting better now that it’s not as sensitive/swollen.

  5. hey tramanh,

    i know this post is old and you’re busy with your new job but i definitely need your advice! i plan to see colby in nyc in late may – would you recommend that i get my pierced now (1.5 months) and get jewellery put in by him or should i get my ears pierced by him? i’m scared that my ears won’t heal in time for him to put in the jewellry. would you think it’s hard to put the jewellery on your own without him?


    • 1.5 months is def not enough time for healing and being able to change jewelry, especially if it’s a cartilage piercing! I was at 2+ months and it was pushing it. My sister was also at 2+ months and he couldn’t change all of her piercings. I THINK Colby will pierce with gold jewelry (based on photos he posts), but maybe call to confirm? That is prob your best bet!

      YES it is hard to put new jewelry in yourself. About a month or so ago, I had one piercing fall out and one piercing I took out b/c my ear was getting a little tender and NOW I CANNOT PUT THEM BACK IN. So annoying. I spent HOURS trying to get the piercings back in, unsuccessfully. I think I have to go to a piercer to have them put it back in for me lol.

      • you’re awesome. thank you for the advice and speedy reply 🙂 so excited to pretty up the ears!

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