Bangle bracelets

Small Necklace Tattoos and More Dainty Tattoo Ideas to Try

Love them or hate them, tattoos are growing in popularity year after year. A Ipsos study 2019 found that 30% of Americans have at least one tattoo (a 21% increase from 2012), and the numbers are only growing. But the era of bold, colorful and classic American tattoos – though still popular among a certain sect of tattoo fans – is giving way to a new wave of styles, among them the hand poke, line fine, gradient and generally more delicate parts. Tiny collarbone tattoos, mini wrist etchings and barely visible finger designs are popping up on a wide variety of clientele, proof that tattoos (and tattoo culture) have come to an end. new in the 2020s.

Working in a creative industry like fashion means you’re more than likely to find a few people who have at least one piece of body art. The Bustle Digital Group and TZR teams are no different, with dozens of tiny tattoos popping up among our staff. Some are new to the tattoo game, while others have been collecting for over a decade. Either way, a small, delicate design is one of the easiest (and relatively painless) ways to dip a toe into the world of tattoos.

Looking for some inspiration before booking your next tattoo appointment? Allow five staff members to share some of their favorite little tattoos and the deeply personal meanings behind their designs.

Sam Rullo, Dir. Editorial operations, BDG

Sam Rullo

When did you start getting tattoos and when did you get this particular tattoo?

I got my first tattoo at the end of 2014, and I got this one on my 25th birthday, February 6, 2017!

Tell us about your tattoo.

I got an Aquarius tattoo because my 25th birthday felt like a milestone that I wanted to mark somehow, and I love astrology, so I thought my zodiac symbol would be perfect ! I originally wanted something really tiny and uninviting, so I planned to put this inside one of my fingers, until the studio told me they weren’t tattooing that spot because it tends to heal badly. Panicking, I texted a friend who has great tattoos and asked her for placement ideas (the incredibly cool Kara McGrath from Seduce), and she sent me a picture of a little tattoo she has there and I absolutely loved it. Honestly, I don’t remember the artist, I did it at Workshop 28, which was affordable and right next to my office at the time. Since it’s so small and simple, I didn’t look for any particular artist and got tattooed by one of their artists who was free that night.

How would you describe your relationship with tattoos now, and why do you love the small tattoo trend?

I still love tattoos! This was my fourth, I now have six in total, and have been working on an idea to have one for my upcoming 30th birthday – another milestone! This is my first and so far only small tattoo (the others are more in the small/medium range), but I would really like to have more. All of my tattoos are in places where they can be seen easily, but aren’t super obvious, which is always my goal, and small tattoos are the easiest way to achieve this look. I already have places in mind where I would like to have more, now I just have to find the right tattoos for them!

Kiara Brown, Photo Producer, BDG

Kiara Brown

When did you start getting tattoos and when did you get this particular tattoo?

I got my first tattoo when I was 18. Ten years later, I now have 11 tattoos in total. My smallest tattoo is actually my last and I got it on my 28th birthday.

Tell us about your tattoo.

My little tattoo is a nice stick and collarbone piece. I met a Hawaiian artist when she was a model at a modeling agency where I used to intern, and saw her post flash tattoo ideas for her last visit to New York. I wanted to get tattooed by someone I met early in my life in New York and my career in the photography/fashion world would be really cool. When I saw that most of her flashes were what she called “collarbone jewelry,” I was even more intrigued because I used to be pretty insecure about my collarbone prominence. I felt like, now that I’m older and more confident, it would be cool to show them off in a nice way so I went with it! The tattoo is so small and simple but it’s like a little accent to a part of my body that I had to learn to love.

How would you describe your relationship with tattoos now, and why do you love the small tattoo trend?

Tattoos are ultimately a form of creative expression. I always felt very outspoken or like I stood out in some way, so I preferred my tattoos to do the same. But now that I have my first little tattoo, I realize they can be just as bold and meaningful.

Hannah Baxter, Associate Beauty Editor, TZR

Hannah Baxter

When did you start getting tattoos and when did you get this particular tattoo?

I got my first tattoo on my 18th birthday and now have 15 (18 if you count the cover-ups as two), and over the past few years I’ve gravitated towards tiny, delicate designs. The tattoos on each of my elbows look like a matching set, but I actually got them separately about four years apart. The sparkle is based on the emoji, which I had with four girlfriends at Whatever Tattoo on Saint Marks in Manhattan (tequila was involved). The lightning that I received from Daniel Winter in his studio in Los Angeles in 2018, just before he tattooed Ariana Grande and exploded in popularity (you can even see the process here).

Tell us about your tattoo.

As mentioned earlier, the shard was sort of an instant tattoo with some friends in New York. One of my closest girlfriends who I worked with at Webster Hall was moving to Los Angeles, and we decided to commemorate that moment with permanent sparkles. Everyone has the design on their fingers, but I’m not a huge fan of this look (they tend to blow up after a while) and picked this spot on my elbow.

I liked the place so much that when I had the opportunity to interview Daniel, I chose the lightning to reflect it on the other side. At the time, my right arm only had nature-inspired designs, so I thought a lightning bolt would fit in perfectly and complement the minimalist, graphic style of the sparkle. These are the only tattoos I have on the top of my arms, and I love when they pop out of a shirt. Because they’re so small, people are always surprised when they find out I have relatively huge tattoos on my biceps, forearms, wrists, and ribs.

How would you describe your relationship with tattoos now, and why do you love the small tattoo trend?

I started off hot and heavy with tattoos with very big and bold designs, but the older I get and the more female artists I meet, I like to collect smaller and more delicate pieces – often at the hand, but sometimes fine lines, single needle . They look like jewelry, and it’s easier to commemorate more occasions with tiny tattoos without ending up with a full sleeve (which is very cool, but not my style). Now my mom, dad, and stepmom all got tattoos, so I’m a big fan of collecting them and celebrating tattoo culture.

Annie Blay, Associate Beauty News Editor, TZR

Annie Blay

When did you start getting tattoos and when did you get this particular tattoo?

It was my very first tattoo, and I got it on February 5, 2022

Tell us about your tattoo.

It was a super impromptu tattoo; I always wanted one but kept putting off due to the pain factor (I have a low pain tolerance). I basically used that story as an excuse to push myself to get one – I thought starting tiny was a safe bet. I did some research and went to see a local artist in my hometown of New Rochelle and booked an appointment for two days after deciding to get one. I went with a basic thin lined cross because I wanted a simple design that I would never change my mind about. My faith is something super personal to me, so the cross was the perfect signifier. I chose my left wrist because I have a bracelet that also has a cross on it so I wanted the tattoo on the same side – also this is a place I knew I would notice often and remind me of my relationship with God.

How would you describe your relationship with tattoos now, and why do you love the small tattoo trend?

I’m definitely more comfortable with tattoos after getting my first one; It didn’t hurt as bad as I thought and I’m already planning my next appointment! I love the small tattoo trend – I love how dainty and cute it looks and think it’s a great option for someone like me who may be hesitant about the pain factor or just have something standing on his body. Size and simplicity relieve pressure.

Copelyn Bengel, Associate Market Editor, BDG

Copelyn Bengel

When did you start getting tattoos and when did you get this particular tattoo?

It was my first tattoo and I got it in July 2021.

Tell us about your tattoo.

My tattoo is a Roman numeral 11 which I designed from a simple font. I wanted it to look like a stick-and-poke or hand-drawn number, so I went with something very thin and delicate. I thought about getting it for a really long time but keeping it small was important to me as I was new to the process and not used to seeing a tattoo on my body. As for the meaning, it was my family’s lucky number growing up (before my parents split), as well as my mom’s birthday and the day my dad suffered a brain hemorrhage, so it has lots of meanings to me in terms of remembering happy times, my mother and family strength.

How would you describe your relationship with tattoos now, and why do you love the small tattoo trend?

I loved having this tattoo, it definitely makes me think about getting more. I’d stay on the small side as I like not seeing it all the time and it’s a bit more of a little encore than an overbearing piece. I think I’ll get more small tattoos when I have another meaningful symbol or design in mind because I want them to relate to milestones or people in my life.