My fashion friends wear tons of rings. Rings on their ring fingers, rings on their pointer fingers, rings on their middle fingers, rings at the top of every single finger, rings stacked and stacked. But if you're imagining Karl Lagerfeld-inspired, goth-style rings, don't. These rings are excruciatingly delicate—just a sliver of silver or gold. But together, they form a... wait for it... ring party!
"I am wholly standing behind the finger party though I'd rather call it a digital rager, puns et al.," says Leandra Medine, founder of The Man Repeller and trade-marker of the phrase arm party (the ring party's predecessor). "Based on my own experience, I find rings far easier to wear in colder months—bracelets get caught on knits and turn out savaging sweaters worse than angry cats do. Also, festooned knuckles are cool. There's a lot of layering leeway."
Elizabeth Monson, proprietor of the blog and jewelry line Move Slightly, thinks the move towards piles of delicate rings is a reaction to the larger, in-your-face statement jewelry that has aesthetically ruled for the past few years. "It's another form of a statement," says the blogger, who wears six rings a day on average. "I think they're also good for girls who aren't 'jewelry girls,' because they're so subtle."
Leah Chernikoff, Fashionista's cautiously hip editorial director, has even jumped on the ring party bandwagon. "I was having dinner a couple of years ago with [stylist] Sally Lyndley and she was wearing a ton of them—a few on each hand," she says. "And basically anything Sally wears looks cool to me. Then I noticed them on Emily Weiss. So finally I just asked for one for a Christmas present. And you can't have just one..."
Chernikoff and Monson get a lot of their rings at Catbird, a Williamsburg boutique that carries its own line of jewelry, along with several other indie designers. (Follow @Catbirdnyc on Twitter and Instagram for plenty of ring party inspiration.)
"We started making First Knuckle rings in 2008 and they became wildly popular right away," explains Catbird spokesperson Correy Law. (Catbird calls them First Knuckle rings, but they are also known as memory rings and tea rings—it all just means they're meant to be worn at the top of any finger.) "Our end goal is for customers to personalize the way they wear their jewelry, mixing metals, textures, stones while tossing older pieces that they've always loved in amongst their new dainty bands."
Fashion and beauty writer Eva Chen does exactly that. "I've always been a ring person—it started with mood rings in middle school. Lately, though, I wear them en masse, especially those of the delicate Catbird variety, on one hand and a more statement piece (hello, vintage Cartier panthers) on the other," she says. "The look is a little less visually busy than bracelets (and handily show off a nice manicure). Plus, let's be honest—it's infinitely easier to shuck off a pile of rings than remove, tediously... one by one, dainty clasp by dainty clasp... a million bracelets."
Convenience. That might be why "ear parties" have become popular as well. Lori Leven, owner of New York Adorned, a piercing and tattoo shop, and Love Adorned, a jewelry store where I've spent way too much money, says that "there has been a serious resurgence of multiple ear piercing with the fashion set." "They've been super keen on our jewelry selection," she says, which includes lots of rose gold and bar studs. "Our piercers J Colby Smith and Evan McKnight spend a lot of time studying placement and customizing pieces so that the ear never looks cluttered," Leven says.
So, the insiders have spoken: Ring parties are the new arm parties. (And ear parties are cool, too.) We figure it's only a matter of time before Tommy Ton starts focusing on digits. Are you in?