Building Blocks for a Basic Earring Wardrobe

Wardrobe building. You’ve been probably been hearing about that ever since you got sight of your first crown. “It’s a wardrobe-builder.” “You’ll have it forever.” Like well cut jeans or the perfectly fitted pencil skirt, some pieces in your wardrobe transcend fashion to become style, and will earn their keep with you many, many times over.

Works the same way with jewelry.

Just like your closet, your jewelry box needs a good assortment of basics, as well as “better” pieces that you can call on for different occasions without having to go shopping. Not that we don’t love shopping, of course…

So, what does the well-dressed jewelry box need to stay au currant? Lets start with the most basic basics, and work our way up from there…

Diamond Studs. Okay, so they don’t have to be real diamonds; in fact, for purposes of a pageant wardrobe, I suggest you not use real diamonds even if you have them. A nice “faux” is fine. Cubic Zirconia or Swarovski crystal are quite inexpensive, and will serve very well. Around 6mm, about the size of a pencil eraser is perfect. I suggest a white or silver setting, so as not to introduce the distraction of a third color – gold – into the mix.

Lots of options at stores like Nordstom for quality CZ studs

Gold & Silver hoops. Ideally, have a few different sizes in your arsenal, depending upon your build and personality. For pageant purposes, from about 1 1/2″ to 3″ are great sizes. Don’t feel that they have to be plain vanilla hoops – I love the ones that are a bit flattened, or hammered, with a bit of subtle texture – makes for just a touch of sparkle and shine. I’d suggest staying away from geometric hoops, and go with something round or roughly round; irregular round can be fun, especially when coupled with that hammered texture. Geometrics like square or other angular shapes can be a little trendier, though, and won’t be quite as versatile. Assuming you have pierced ears, stick to the through-the-ear hoop style. It’s a little more casual, a little more I-didn’t-even-have-to-think-about-this. Not pierced? I strongly suggest a drop hoop. The few you’ll find that emulate a through-the-ear look for clip just never work right, and almost always look awkward. Stick to drops. Forego any stones on your hoops, and go with plain metal. Gold or silver? That depends on your skin tone and personal preference. One or the other is always trendier than the other but neither is ever wrong, so go with your gut. Having both in your wardrobe is a great option.

Hoops don’t have to be boring and super basic

Basic Black Drops. These can be Jet crystal, onyx, enamel, but make them something nice – no plastic please! If you’re not into solid black, a “tuxedo” look of black and white is good too. Smallish, 2″ or so is perfect. Think suits, cocktail, jeans and a silk shirt. Make them nice. You’ll wear these. A lot, trust me. I like silver better here, because gold adds an extra “color” while silver is more neutral, but if you have a lot of black with gold button, for instance, go with your instincts.

The perfect LBD – Little Black Drops

Crystal Linear Drops. Or AB. But I like Crystal here, as it’s a bit more basic. And I like linear because it looks fabulous on almost everyone. Also called “stiletto”. The reasoning is that you can sparkle, but with the slender silhouette it won’t overpower, so you’ll get lots of wear. We’re not looking to match anything here, we want a go-with-anything. About 3″ is good. Again, silver is important, no gold – gold on Crystal or AB adds a yellow tone, and unless you have a reason (to match something), doing so will limit its versatility. Go silver. Slender Crystal and silver, about 3″.

Linear Looks from Stefanie Somers

Champagne Chandeliers. Yes, champagne. Crystal, that is. Or “nude”. NOT gold. Here again, I suggest staying away from gold metals – you’ll get a much softer look with silver, and yes, it will look marvelous with the champagne crystals. Make these good sized, but not over-the-top, somewhere around 3 1/2″ to 4″ should be perfect. Why champagne? It looks gorgeous on everyone, it’s neutral, and it will light up your face. It’s the quietest sparkle you can get, so you can wear a larger earring in champagne or nude tones and still not have it appear overly big. You’ll grab these constantly when you want to glitz up an outfit. Why chandeliers? Again, a great shape that works on almost all faces, and super sparkly with all the movement it offers. I like the more articulated designs, where each section moves separately; this will give you the softest, sexiest look, and also the most sparkle. Remember – a moving crystal is a sparkling crystal.

Champagne, or “Nude” toned chandeliers from Collection and trifles

That’s your basic starter wardrobe: Crystal studs, Black drops, Metal hoops, Crystal liners, and Champagne chandeliers. Buy well. Treat them gently. Keep them clean. Store them securely. Quality pieces, handled with care, will last you for your entire pageant career and well beyond, giving you a foundation upon which you can build a stunning jewelry wardrobe that will be the envy of everyone who competes against you.

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