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I was a latecomer to earrings. The idea of a needle punching through my delicate lobe wasn’t appealing to me as a child, and the longer I waited, the more intimidating it seemed. But finally, in my freshman year of high school, I decided I needed another outlet for my fashion desires. My frosted pink lipglosses and blue mascaras were no longer cutting it! And with a quick trip to Claire’s (if you don’t know Claire’s, you were clearly not a tween in the 90s) I joined the ranks of the aurally mutilated. It was only a little traumatic, and now I can’t IMAGINE living without earrings. I’m only overstating my love of earrings a little.

One of the things I love about earrings is that they are, on the whole, affordable, and a rad enough pair can transform an outfit. Shoes are both of those things, too, but they take up a helluva lot more closet space. Earrings, on the other hand, take very well to being the object of obsession. There’s always room for one more pair!

But if you’re not into earrings like I am, that’s ok. All I ask is that you have a well-curated selection for whatever your lifestyle. Ok? Here are the 6 kinds of earrings you really need:

1) A Simple Stud

I can hear you already: “Studs? No DUH, Liz!”  First of all, I appreciate your loyalty to catchphrases of the 90s. Second, sometimes you just have to state the obvious: doy! Studs are the workhorses of the earring world. (All you really need in this world is a stud, amirite, str8 ladies and not-so-str8 gents? ) I favor pearls for my studs, but gold or silver are a solid choice too. I just like pearls because I’m secretly a little bit Betty Draper, a little bit rock ‘n roll.


2) Hoops
silver gold hoop earrings
Right after getting my ears pierced, I spent a lot of time pondering hoops and their socio-cultural significance. It’s almost like I didn’t have enough extra-curriculars or something. I remember thinking I wasn’t sufficiently “urban/cool” enough to pull them off. Was my younger self a cultural isolationist, or simply rabidly anti-appropriation? Either way, I have completely turned around on this issue. Hoops 4 Lyfe!


3) Showboats
Everyone needs a pair of big, attention-whoring earrings. I don’t care what they look like but they’ve gotta be BIG. These golden leaves make me feel like a showy forest nymph.


4) Danglies
At least in my family, “danglies” was the proper terminology for earrings like this. Chandelier earrings fall into this category too. These heavy-ass ones make me feel like my ears are burlesque stars. Make those tassels twirl, honey! You gotta work for the money!


5) Grandma Earrings
jeweled costume jewelry
“Grandma” is not an insult. Grandmas have some seriously sassy earrings! In my family, Great-Aunt Mary was the fashion icon, the one who always wore perfume and coral lips and festive cardigans. She lived like it was 1968 to the end of her days, and I like to think I got some of my love of glamor from her example. So run, don’t walk, to your local thrift store and head for the costume jewelry! (I shouldn’t really tell you this since it’s in SF, not Oakland, but I recommend Thrift Town in the Mission. Let’s keep it between the two of us, ok?)


6) Freaks and Geeks
My tiny menagerie.

My tiny menagerie.

Did you know that the original meaning of “geek” is a sideshow or circus performer who eats live animals? The more you know! Anyway, everyone should have at least one pair of kooky, freaky earrings. For me, I choose to accessorize like a “fun aunt” with ANIMALS! My favorite sentient beings. (Sorry, humans. You kind of suck most of the time.)

Here’s a bonus for those of you who read all the way to the end: a crafty way to organize those earrings!

earrings frame craft

And before you even ask, NO I DID NOT SEE THIS ON PINTEREST. Gee, you’re judgemental! Nope, I found this on a craft website, the old-fashioned way. It’s honestly easy as pie to make. I did this on a sick days from work, when I was actually sick! That’s how little physical and mental exertion it took. Just buy an old frame from a thrift store, and some lace ribbon from a craft store. Throw some hot glue or super glue into the mix (or a staple gun! Wait, why do you even own a staple gun?) and you’re already done!