plugs and tunnels

Oh man, I remember when stretching your ears first entered mainstream culture – that chick from Paramore was rocking some fiery hair, belting it out on Fuse, tripp pants were slowly making their way out, and everyone was digging their heels deep into punk culture, with faux hawks, and big colorful acrylic plugs from Hot Topic.

Ah, the good ol’ days.

Well, not really I guess – one thing that definitely comes to mind is some seriously sketchy stretching did back in those days. Oh, just stretched my ears to a 4g two days ago? Think I’ll go ahead and shoot for a 0g now.

Yep, I was one of those.

If you haven’t been down the twisty, stretchy road of stretching yet though, you may be wondering how big you ultimately want to go.

What’s going to look right on you?

Will they ever bounce back?

What kind of jewelry can you wear with stretched ears?

stretched-plugs-how-big-blogdaith image1safe gauging
Don’t worry, I’ve got you, newbies. Stretched ears are fun, kinky, and so versatile, and regardless of how big you want to end up, there are plenty of ways to wear them, so I’ll give you a few ways to decide how big to go.

How Cool Is Your Boss With Plugs?

Do yourself a favor, don’t make any decisions, or stretch any piercings, until you get a super clear understanding of your employer’s policy on stretched piercings – there’s nothing quite like going into work with a taper sticking through your sore, swollen ear, only to find out you’ve gotta take that sucker out.

Look over the appearance code policy carefully, and if it doesn’t specify, it may even be appropriate to ask your boss outright. No need to botch your chances of approval – bring the (tasteful) jewelry in you plan to use, and explain the personal choice you’d like to make, as well as your respect and regard you have for their stance on it. They may have safety concerns, so be prepared to defend your approach with flesh colored plugs, and promises of tasteful jewelry choices.

Then go home and rock whatever the hell you want, because they’re your damned ears.

What Kind of Jewelry Do You Like to Wear?

Stretched jewelry has gotten so diverse in recent years – gone are the days of cheap, overpriced junk from the local mall fodder stores. You can get just about any style jewelry for stretched ears now, including hangers and hoops, and even tunnels and plugs are available in more metals and natural materials than every before.

Different styles of jewelry tend to be available at different size levels, so do some shopping around for the jewelry you like, to see what size points they start and end at.

Organic Sono Wood Gong Hanger Earrings 18 Gauge

Organic Sono Wood Gong Hanger Earrings 18 Gauge

Black Star-Shaped Cut Out Flexible Silicone Tunnel Plugs

Black Star-Shaped Cut Out Flexible Silicone Tunnel Plugs

Flared Polar White Acrylic Glitter Plug

Flared Polar White Acrylic Glitter Plug

Silver Tribal Sun Organic Wood Double Flared Plug

Silver Tribal Sun Organic Wood Double Flared Plug

Are You Hung Up on Conventional Beauty Standards?

There are lots of ways to style stretched piercings in a pretty mainstream way – jewels and girly fashions, in addition to muted styles, provide a menagerie of different ways to rock your stretched ears, but the bigger you go, the harder it gets to fit that look in with a mainstream style.

girl with gauges

I’m not knockin’ the mainstream look – god knows I wear my fair share of leggings and messy buns. The real question is, how comfortable are you with shaking up your look? The bigger your piercings get, the more they’re going to stand out, so are you ready to hold your head high and rock that shit?

How Long Are You Okay with Healing?

When you stretch your ears, even if you do it very slowly and gently, a lot of times your flesh is going to break at least a little bit, and you’ll need a couple of weeks to heal up before you can really mess with that jewelry (and of course, everyone is different, and the longer the better).

If you plan to start stretching your ears, you’ll need to do it one size at a time, which means if a larger size is your goal, it’s going to take you a while to get there. Are you okay with having sore ears for a while? How long are you okay with plugging away at this process?

Please note: pun intended.

Will You Lose Your Mind if They Never Shrink Back Down?

This is a big one – stretching your piercings is by no means a permanent process, but it is likely to leave you with larger holes than when you started. Everyone’s skin elasticity is different, and for some, the point of no return could be very small sizes, but typically as you start reaching over that 3/4″ mark, you start entering may-never-shrink-back territory.

sexy tattooed guy with plugs

I had my ears stretched up to 9/16″ at one point, and then eyelets at 2g. I had them that way for at least two years, and now those holes have shrunken back down to about a 6g and 10g, respectively. They’re still bigger than they were, but substantially smaller, and all I really did was take my jewelry out one day and leave it out.

So in a nutshell – they’ll probably shrink down, but it depends on how big you go, so get comfortable with the fact that your ears may never look the same again.

Take it from me, a woman whose personal style changes like the winds – stretching your ears isn’t anything to stress about. Just be prepared for the general discomfort involved, and make sure that you’re comfortable with your ears looking a little different, should you ever change your mind.

Wanna see what’s out there? Browse our entire selection of plugs and tunnels here.

Hole-y ears don’t bother me, but what about you guys, did anyone here ever stretched their ears and regret it later?

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