Love, Adorned


There’s something in the air this summer that has all of my friends hankering for a piercing: a second earlobe hole (eighth grade-style), a cartilage loop, even a nipple ring (barbell, rather—chicer than a hoop). J. Colby Smith, the in-house needle wizard at Love, Adorned, isn’t surprised: “Piercings always come in waves—I believe that there’s a mass consciousness, that somehow people just pick up on,” he says. “There are certain weeks where there are obvious influxes of one thing. I’ve always wanted to chart it, like do a Piercing Almanac or something. [Laughs]”

A piercing almanac is just the sort of thing that might be sold at Love, Adorned, a special kind of concept store on Elizabeth Street in New York. It opened up in December but stemmed from New York Adorned, a tattoo and piercing studio on 2nd Avenue, which is temporarily closed for renovations. I’d visited the original before, and, in all honesty—the Elizabeth Street location is a whole new bag, baby. While beautiful fine jewelry from mostly-local designers has always been a focus for owner Lori Leven, she’s now expanded the offerings to home and beauty—including Embryolisse creams and Intelligent Nutrients essential oils. The curly neon sign out front lures you in to the airy, sky-lit boutique and before you know it, you’re seated on the velvet Victorian couch giddily waiting for your turn with Colby. “People wander in without knowing that piercings are even done here, they’ll look around, they look at stuff, feel comfortable, and then they realize it’s a piercing studio, and they’re like, ‘Oh, you know, I’ve always wanted that thing…’” he says. “I think piercing and tattoo shops can be really intimidating to walk into; even I get intimidated. But people don’t come in here with the same apprehensions as they might at other places.”

Case in point: Laura Vidrequin, an assistant buyer at Atrium who was perusing the cases of jewelry while her friend got his hair cut at nearby Freeman’s. She didn’t have any piercings when she moved from Paris to New York a year ago, and now she has, “like, six,” delicate gold hoops in her ears. She’s admittedly low maintenance and very French at the same time (“I don’t wear makeup ever, but anytime I have something on my skin it’s Chanel,”) and she embodies the kind of girls who are getting a little something here, or a little something there, these days. Colby sees “anyone from an opera singer, to a ballerina, to models” on a given Saturday, but maintains, “We kind of just do the classic stuff—we keep it tasteful. I think people have a perception of piercing that you have to be extreme, or heavily modified, and that’s not necessarily the case.” The trend this summer? “One nipple piercing, on girls, is really in style. There are a lot of models who have it and have been showing it in magazines—Freja Beha, Erin Wasson, Candice Swanepoel, Rosie Huntington [Whiteley], they’ve all kind of showed it.” The piercing jewelry is all the way in the back of the store, displayed on Plexiglass cubes and organized according to metal type. On the day I visited, I wanted the smallest gold hoop available for the mid-earlobe—just above a hole I’d gotten at seventeen, which I’d sworn had closed up. “No, it didn’t,” Colby said after one look. “I’ll bet you a dollar.” I took the bet then surrendered the dollar five minutes later, realizing the hole was tight but not lost. He tossed the bill into a tip jar near another George Washington, scrawled with “You were right, Asshole,” from an earlier client who was told by Mr. Smith that getting her septum (the middle of the nose) pierced wasn’t going to hurt.

None of the jewelry in the store is cheap—chalk it up to the premium value of gold at the moment—and the piercing jewelry is no exception, unless you go for surgical stainless steel, which is the most popular option for the initial round. “I think the steel comes across very college-y,” Colby admits, “So we see a lot of people transitioning from that to gold or rose gold when they’re working and finally making some money—all the surgical steel is coming out and the gold is going in. The fake CZs are coming out and the real diamonds are going in.” Do yourself a favor: don’t make bets with Colby and opt for the 18k.

Love, Adorned 269 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012 Tel: 212-431-5683

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  • Christina

    Nice. I wish there was a place like this near me in London. Nothing but stainless steel available in most places. :(

    • Smitty

      Love Adorned is formidable. ART.

      Based on this post I went to NY Adorned for my piercing this week. Excellent customer care and professionalism! Highly rec. Evan Hunter McKnight. He is sharp and creative.

      I decided on a single piercing but quickly began coveting the stylish jewelry. I added a hoop cuff to the ear cartilge in 18k. a 18k hoop w/ a 18k Indian spinner bead on my left nipple and I replaced my SS navel ring w/ 18k hoop + decorative dangling 22k Indian Captive bead. so i now have this wonderful, asymetrical adornment with one beautiful warm element. I LOVE IT! thank you,

  • marcela

    Nice post. I do think that it is a great idea to have a piercing place that does not have the hard core look, something that is inviting and not intimidating.
    I however would pass, I do not do well with any sort of piercing, even wearing normal earings is a task that I hardly ever attempt, and when I do they do not stay on for a very long time.
    love the post though it almost made me reconsider.

  • Jackie
  • LuckyD

    Great post!
    I've had several piercings over the years (ear, nose x2, tongue x3!), there's something about it that comes in waves, an urge for change and a tattoo is usually too permanent.
    Love Laura's tiny gold hoops. I'll have to consider getting a double pierce... again.

  • amarie

    i wish there was a place like this in san francisco. i got my nipple pierced last year and i've been itching for something else.

  • Ally

    I totally love this concept. I wish there were more piercing parlors like this! Too often they have a reputation for being dark, dingy
    & intimidating ... not places I'd like to go!

  • iben

    I've had one in my nose, and I had to take it out because it got infected all the time:( I want it back when I see such a shop!

    xoxo Despite color

  • yvette

    i've had my tongue done twice but it's now removed... felt like 30 was too old for a tongue piercing. the second ear hole though - very 90s, might try it.

  • Heather

    I live close to NY Adorned and have bought some great jewelry there. I have wanted a piercing on the top of my ear for years now...but I haven't done it because I have heard it can take a long time to heal and can hurt in the meantime. The reason this worries me is I sleep on my side...and can't afford to have several weeks of bad sleep while I wait for a piercing to heal. Can anyone comment on this? Thanks, and i have loved this site for a while.

    • Dazey

      I had these apprehensions also but I really wanted an upper ear piercing. Well I bit the bullet and honestly getting it done was like a pressure and then a little pinch. You don't fall asleep on that side and then if you role onto it can be uncomfortable so you just move. That discomfort lasted for a couple of months, getting better every week, but my sleep didn't greatly suffer. And it was worth it. I got a gold ring in Ireland so I don't understand the lack of availibility elsewhere. Really it is a tiny punched hole in relation to the rest of the body. Just keep it squeky clean and you should not feel pain.

      Also ...I second the 'nipple piercing does not equal chic' sentiments. Just say no! Kate Moss' multiple yet discreet earrings on the other hand = perfection

    • Lauren

      Heather, while it does hurt when something like a towel brushes by it (drying your hair etc) it's not so painful that it will keep you from sleeping on your side or disrupt your sleep patterns. They take a while to completely heal - I got one a year ago and it's still a little finnicky sometimes - but it's not that bad.

    • M

      Heather, hurt is a strong word, it's mostly just uncomfortable. For me it really helped to get the smallest size hoop. I started with a bigger one which kept oozing and wouldn't heal. I then switched to the smallest (and thinnest) hoop I could find and the pain was gone in no time and my ear healed super fast. It makes sense when you think of it. Smaller means less movement and less bumping into the open-hole-part of the skin.
      I say just try it! If it really hurts you can always take it out and the hole will close up completely, but I promise you it's not so bad!

    • Chic Noir


      It only hurts when you have it done with the "gun" you see in those mall shops like Claires. With a needle not much pain at all. I could sleep on it same night no pain.

  • hillary

    love this post. i've been debating about getting another beyond-the-lobes piercing. it definitely comes in waves! i'll have to add this shop to my list next time i'm new york. i'd love to change out my high school cartilage steel barball for something nicer. thank you so much for featuring a trend a little bit outside the norm!

  • Jane S.

    Hmmm, don't really think "nipple piercing" and "chic" belong in the same sentence, no matter how many models go for it. Now "ouch" on the other hand....

  • Chuck

    Craving more piercings now... This looks like a perfect place to get them done.

  • Dawn

    Piercing almanac? I'd love to see it. zero to six, that's a big change but not too many at all. Liked this article, a bit different, a punk vibe. I want more piercings (2 or 3 more ) but I'm too afraid of the pain, I'm a chicken I know.

  • Melanie

    I loved my naval piercing... I had it made in 24 kt gold, a smaller , thinner hoop than was normally available. I had planned a diamond next, but I felt 30 was the decade to move on. I miss it!

  • Lauren David Peden

    I've been a huge fan of New York Adorned forever (my husband and I have gotten all our piercings—and subsequent earring upgrades—there) so I was very excited to read this post as I haven't been to their new store yet. That will change this weekend - the jewelry looks amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  • sooz

    definitely need to change up my earrings, great post!

  • Lauren

    A yellow gold industrial bar seems so unexpected chic after looking at this post.

  • christine

    love this!

  • Sunny

    I've always wanted to check out New York Adorned but haven't yet, but I'm definitely going to check this place out. I'd love to find a chic alternative to my surgical steel industrial bar. Rose gold sounds like such a lovely solution.

    PS - love this site.

  • Liz

    I Did the one-nipple pierce 2 years ago and took it off last year.It was great seeing my friend's reactions when I told them, but the best reaction was from my bf, i meet him after I had just had it done, it was between shock and intrigue, priceless. Also did the cartilage piercing for a year then got bored with it.

  • Chic Noir

    Thanks for this Emily. I was wondering where I could go for a 14k or 18k a cartilage loop. My skin doesn't seem to like stainless steal much.

    Way too much of a chump to do a nipple piercing or God forbid Princess Diane( google it, but don't say I didn't warn you).

  • Question

    Hi Emily do you know what brand the gold hoops are in the picture? The ones on her earlobe and cartilage? I want to buy them:) I haven't seen any nice ones as thin as those

  • Jen

    I disagree, I think single nipple piercings are very chic, especially when they are done with a barbell and not a ring. I have one of my nipples done, but other than that I am unpierced (other than just one hole in each ear). It's very subtle--unless you choose to tell, no one will know but the lucky boys and girls that get to see you naked. It's probably one of the braver things I've done, but I don't regret it at all--it gives me a huge self esteem boost just because I know it's there and I love it and think it looks fantastic on me.

    And since I'm pretty innocent-looking when fully clothed, it's always a lovely shock when people see it when I take my shirt off -- kind of shifts their opinion of me, but in a sexy way, not a trashy way. If you like the look of it, you should go for it. It is relatively painful, but I faint from fear every time I have to get a (medical) shot, so if I can do it, anyone should be able to, with sufficient determination.

    Anyway--- this place seems fantastic! I wish there were more piercing studios like this. This would probably help alleviate the stigma that is often attached to body piercings. Maybe I'll stop by next time I'm near it to switch to a gold barbell :)

  • haikarapaprika

    I have been itching to drop by this place for ages!

    Their old location had a smattering of the lovely jewelry that you've pictured here but their new store seems to be a great mixture of jewelry, personal care items and interior decor. If I ever decide to get a tattoo or a piercing, I would definitely consult NY Adorned.

  • Amber

    I badly want to visit this store and get my ears pierced again but I am having trouble with my nose ring :( discourages me from getting more piercings but gosh I heart love adorned jewelry!

  • Yeonsoo Park

    Now I really want a nose ring

  • k80

    Does anyone happen to know of a similar studio in London? I'd like to get a second ear piercing and would love to find a studio that looks as inviting as this with beautiful delicate jewellery!