The Dos & Don’ts of Styling Your Ears & Your Earrings

By Cynthia Sliwa — March 26, 2015

In an article entitled “The Dos & Dont’s of Styling Your Ear,” the April 2015 issue of Glamour relates that “styling your ear” is “a thing now!” and  reminds us:  “Remember 2012, when earrings were simple–a pair of studs, hoops, or drops worn one on each ear?  Now everyone wants cuffs, chains, mismatched earrings.”

Styling ears earrings 0415 Glamour Emma Stone 72dpi REV

The magazine looks to “New York City piercer and ear stylist J. Colby Smith” who “explains the multiple-earring look.” He comments, “A lot of people don’t know how to wear jewelry, so I’ll try to turn them on to things.” Although Glamour suggests that Smith’s tips may be helpful “whether you want to go big with one piece, or do more with smaller earrings,” Smith  promotes piercings, and his tips reflect his perspective.

His first tip: “DO choose the right metal” – “rose gold for women with pinker skin tones, and yellow gold for darker hues.” Surprisingly, he ignores the white metals, including platinum and silver, even though his client, Emma Stone, is pictured in what appears to be white metal-based earrings. Smith also ignores that whether the skin tone is essentially warm (peach) or cool (pink) has nothing to do with the lightness or darkness of one’s skin color (e.g., dark skin can have warm or cool undertones), and that one’s hair and eye color should also enter into the equation. Image consultants and other color consultants will tell you that typically white metals work with cool skin tones, variations on yellow gold (the hue determined by the karatage of the gold) work with warmer skin tones, and rose gold can be flattering on most individuals. Copper and antiqued yellow or white metals present additional metal color options. Have your personal colors done by a qualified image consultant to ascertain which metals are most flattering for you.

Smith’s second tip: “DON’T be afraid to mix it up” — “I like to mix and match studs, rings, cuffs–if it’s all one thing, it looks boring.” He notes one exception: “If you stack pieces close together, they need to be identical rings or studs” and “spread them evenly” — “Not too heavy on one side.” Smith evidently is not a proponent of the single giant earring look that has been so popular in the fashion press these last few months.

Smith’s final tip is solid advice: “DO have fun with your jewelry.” His take on this is that “Piercings are such an easy way to tweak your look. A little edgy, a little fun. My motto is, ‘More holes, more pretty things.’” The quasi-permanent nature of the actions recommended in this advice is inherently limiting, however, in that it requires one to pick a look and stay with it once the holes have been made.

Styling ears earrings 0415 InStyle low ponytails ears Katie Holmes REV

Illustration: From the April 2015 issue of InStyle, a montage of photos of low-tied ponytails also illustrates a variety of ear shapes.

At the same time, if you are going to add piercings, an expert’s perspective on where to place the holes can be extremely helpful. Ear shapes vary greatly. For example, one may have large ear lobes or almost none at all. Earring placements that work for Rihanna might be all wrong for Katie Holmes.

As a trained image professional working with clients for over ten years, I find that jewelry is the finishing touch that takes a look from good to excellent. If you routinely spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on your handbags or shoes, let alone your clothing, consider the far more long-lasting investment in little pieces of wearable art, especially those made of precious materials, that can be enjoyed over multiple lifetimes.

The fashion magazines are full of examples of jewelry stylings, some of which are superbly coordinated and others of which look to be thrown together almost haphazardly. A qualified image consultant can help you determine the most flattering styles of jewelry for you — from the size and shape of your earrings, to the optimal length of your necklaces. She or he can provide helpful tips on such matters as how to mix designs and textures to stack necklaces or bracelets attractively or how to create an appealing cluster of brooches. An image professional can also help you find the most flattering metals and materials to suit your coloring and personality style.

Visit AICI.org for information about image consultants in your area, or contact me for an in-person or remote jewelry consultation. I find it extraordinarily satisfying and fun to help someone develop a beautiful and beautifully functional jewelry wardrobe.

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