Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

September 22, 2011

How To Wear It: Statement Earrings

Filed under: Accessories,Advanced Fashion,How To Wear It,Jewelry,You Asked For It — Miss Plumcake @ 3:13 pm

I absolutely depend on my vast collection of mid-century earbobs to achieve the signature Miss Plumcake look.

Weekdays I pair them with simple cotton or knit dresses and during Proper Football season I traipse myself down to the local ex-pat bar in jeans, well-fitted jersey of my preferred team, with my hair pulled back babushka-style in a coordinating Hermes scarf and always always always, eye-catching earrings.

Astute readers will spot this immediately as a high-low look. When it comes to accessorizing, especially with jewelry, you’ll have the most success with capital F Fashion if you pair high –something more appropriate for evening or more formal occasions– with pieces that clock in on the casual side.

The problem with pretty day shoes and pretty day earrings and pretty day dress is it’s like talking in monotone.

Not bad, but boring and rarely chic.


A good pair of earrings is the easiest –and often least expensive– way to glam up an outfit.

First let’s talk about why earrings are great.

My love for big jewelry is as well-documented as my affection for muscular Latin thighs and easily concealed hip flasks but earrings are my favorite.

They act as spotlights, drawing the attention to where I want it to be; my eyes and face. It’s easy for people, particularly of the male persuasion, to get lost in the visual Bermuda Triangle that is my chestal area so great earring work as lighthouses to rescue those potentially lost at sea (or double D).

You’ve got a few basic shapes when it comes to big earrings.

Clip earrings –not to be confused with clip-ons — are like larger versions of studs, they sit on the earlobe.

Pendant earrings, or dangles, may have a clip element to them, but are usually en tremblant (not like I need to explain to you what dangle earrings are.)

Hoops are well, hoops. Still hate ’em.

Cuffs are clip earrings that hug the earlobe and ascend past the lobe onto the rim of your ear.

I know we mostly think of cuff earrings as something one buys at the head shop that grips the rim of the ear like a hoop, but since presumably none of you  just got back from the Phish concert in 1995, we’ll skip that usage.

Clip Earrings:

Far and away my most often used style, partially because it was the mid-century trend but also because they’re almost universally flattering. Round faces, square faces, long necks, short necks, a clip always works. It’s like champagne and potato chips. There’s never a bad time for champagne and potato chips.

Well, possibly DURING a funeral, but maybe you could just chew quietly.

Oval and heart-shaped faces can pretty much wear whatever sort of clip their hearts desire, while round faces might do well to avoid button earrings. Not that buttons earrings are bad, but it’s just the least flattering shape.

You won’t have to worry about people gasping in horror if you’re of the spheroid persuasion and decide to don some perfectly round earbobs. Go for a figural –maybe flower shaped– instead. They’re more fun anyway.

Pendant Earrings:

I like a good pendant earring, and usually wear them with more casual outfits.

Here you want to be a little more thoughtful about the shape and the length of the earring as it pertains to your face shape and neck length.

My face is heart-shaped so I try to avoid earrings that are wider on top than at the bottom for the sake of balance. An elongated teardrop shape looks especially nice and balances out my pointy pointy chin.

Reese Witherspoon, honey? You should listen to me on this.

Extremely round faces should look for pieces significantly longer than they are wide, and you gals with the strong jaws but not so strong foreheads take the advice I gave about heart-shaped faces and flip it.

I generally recommend earrings end no longer than the middle of the neck.

All others are to be approached with fear and trembling.  It can be done, but it requires a good deal of Advanced Fashion know-how. (Aha, you think I’m totally going to complain about my short neck here, aren’t you? Well I’m NOT. So there!)

Cuffs Earrings:

I LOVE cuff earrings like the House of Harlow 1960 ones I’ve featured on this page. 

You get the ease of a clip, the drama of a pendant and it’s so unexpected and fresh. These are often clip-ons.

Speaking of clip-ons. I highly recommend converting your big earrings from pierced to clip. If you’re the handy sort you can do it yourself, but if not get a jeweler to do it. Worth every penny on earhole wear and tear.

Obviously it’s most important to have your hair away from the face when rocking the cuffs. There’s no point in wearing fabulous earrings if they’re going to be obscured by your silken tresses and since these climb up the ear, there’s a higher chance of them being hidden.

Hoop Earrings:

Nope, still hate ’em. I’m not going to show you how to shoot up heroin either. It’s just socially irresponsible. I know that’ll get a bunch of you to start grabbing your shouty pitchforks. Don’t care. Put it on your own blog. I don’t often deploy the Orson Welles method of group management but since this will be our third or fourth go ’round on the hoops thing, I am putting my stompy foot down in the I’m-the-editor-and-I-said-so position from whence it shall not be moved.

Okay lambkins, remember to clicky click on the images for links to the earrings. You can also see how big they are in proportion to an “average” face and neck. Enjoy and be sure to tell me about your favorite earrings. Either from this group or your private collection. If you’ve got a question on how to deploy a particular pair, put it in the comments and I’ll do my darndest to answer.



  1. I’m LOVING this series – the necklace stuff was great. My question with earrings, though is this: I wear glasses. Always. Contacts don’t work for me. I’ve therefore eschewed the big earrings, much though I love them. So tell me, oh fashion savant, am I doomed to sensible hoops? And do you have suggestions for great glasses for the plump-of-face-and-neck?

    Comment by Sarah — September 22, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

  2. @Sarah: I wear glasses too sometimes and it’s never stopped me! Throw away the hoops and get some big earrings! Just follow the same guidelines for the heart-shaped faces and you’ll be golden.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — September 22, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

  3. @Sarah: I wear glasses, and I also wear statement jewelry pretty much exclusively (my response to “how to wear statement earrings” is “um, with everything?”). The only potential issue I can think of is if you have frames that are themselves a whole lot of look (i.e. some rhinestoned cat-eye number), in which case you’d just need to be careful about what you choose so you don’t overdo it.

    @Plumcake: I need those House of Harlow earrings. NEED.

    Comment by Emily — September 22, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

  4. Emily: You’re my kind of girl. I don’t wear non-statement jewelry because why bother? The only exception is if I need something to balance out a look that just needs a period, not an exclamation mark. Good advice about the lot-of-look glasses too.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — September 22, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

  5. I am SO ENJOYING this series on jewelry! I love me some baubles – the bigger the better! I’m so glad you’re here, Plumcake…you are the bomb!

    Comment by Sarah — September 22, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

  6. Plumcake:

    Love the comment about “needs a period, not an exclamation mark.”

    I have a question: I have fallen in love with so many clip earrings over the years, but I can’t wear them for more than a half hour, because they start to pinch my earlobes painfully. I have nice fleshy, detached lobes, too, so it seems like they should take well to clips. Is there any sort of padding or spring-loosening that a jeweler could do to help this problem? I *love* that mid-century cluster-of-faux-jewels look, and it kills me not to be able to wear it.

    Comment by Rubygirl — September 23, 2011 @ 2:19 am

  7. I am glad someone sought advice on glasses and earrings. I always feel like Rita Skeeter when I wear specs and not-small earrings.

    I bought a pair of earrings in Vienna last spring that are modeled on an ancient Greek design. Aaaaannnd… They are hoops. I had a good time imagining what kind of thing Miss Plumcake’s ancient counterpart would say to my trashy hoop earrings and it’s pretty amusing. I do love the earrings, though.

    Comment by AnthroK8 — September 23, 2011 @ 2:22 am

  8. Great post. Would love to see a post on how to wear a fabulous Hermes scarf on my noggin. Everytime I try to do the Liz Taylor scarf thing, I end up looking like Velma from Scooby Doo. :

    Comment by MrsBug — September 23, 2011 @ 9:25 am

  9. @MrsBug: check out the How-To’s section on MaiTai’s PictureBook ( – lots of ways to wear an Hermes scarf.

    Miss Plumcake, I would love to see a photo of how the Harlow earrings actually look ON someone’s ears. I just can’t seem to picture it.

    Comment by EmmyS — September 23, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

  10. @EmmyS: There’s an illustration if you click the link. Not exactly the same as seeing on person, but not a bad way to start.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — September 23, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  11. @MrsBug: When you say Liz Taylor Scarf Thing do you mean with it wrapped over your head/under your chin/around your neck? Because that is seriously advanced fashion and pretty much impossible to pull off in the states without sixteen tons of personality. The only time I wear it like that is if it’s raining or I’m driving the convertible. I want to do some video or photo-intensive tutorials on how to wear scarves for big girls, but I probably won’t get to it until the beginning of next year.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — September 23, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

  12. @Rubygirl: Here’s a great youtube tutorial on how to do just this very thing. I also add additionally padding if I feel I need it. I just cut out bits of adhesive foam used to treat corns. Classy AND effective.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — September 23, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

  13. I have a poofy jawline these days, so I tend to stay away from dangles for fear of drawing too much attention to the poofage. But I still love them dearly. So Ms. Plumcake, any suggestions for flattering dangles for the double- or doublish-chinned among us?

    (As an aside, I gave up hoop earrings some years ago when I began wearing glasses full-time, since the first time I put on big gold hoops with my gold-wire-framed glasses, I looked like a salute to the Olympics.)

    Comment by catrandom — September 23, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

  14. @Catrandom: I dare say most of us have double chins here, so just go with the guidelines in the post, but if you’re rocking the lantern jaw a bit more than usual think long and lean. Either something that uniformly narrow or wider on the top than at the bottom.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — September 23, 2011 @ 4:25 pm

  15. Two questions:

    Firstly, I love statement earrings but anything too heavy hurts my ears. Are their any good, lightweight earrings that really pack a punch out there?

    Secondly, I have multiple piercings in both ears (and elsewhere). What’s your stance on statement earrings with other, less noticeable earrings? I suspect it would be overkill, but some of them are too new to take out.

    Comment by Liz — September 23, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

  16. @Liz:I think you’ll have to go on a case by case basis, a lot of these danglers that are made of shell or chains are much lighter than the ones with faceted crystals etc. I also highly suggest if you fall in love with an earring that’s just too heavy convert it to a clip on. Much less painful, especially if you follow the youtube tutorial on how to loosen a too-tight clip-on here in the comments.

    As for multiple earrings, I don’t think it will come as an earth-shattering surprise that my feelings on multiple piercings are not warm, but if you’ve got more than the usual numbers of holes in your head and still want to go for the big earring, I’d say take out as many as you can from the other holes and put the tiniest studs (like little girls get when they’re just pierced) in the others if you’re afraid of them closing up.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — September 23, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

  17. OMG PLUMCAKE! I just watched that “how to loosen clip earrings” and it has CHANGED MY LIFE. No more (unsuccessful) attempts to change clip earrings to pierced (the backing always falls off: SADNESS). I am so excited! Thanks so much. :-)

    Comment by Rubygirl — September 23, 2011 @ 10:59 pm

  18. I’ve got a bit of a stumper: I have a badge I’m required to wear at work, and it’s supposed to be on my upper body. I’ve upgraded the standard ugly nylon lanyard for a gold-tone chain, but still – my “statement” accessory is 2″x3″ plastic card with an unflattering picture of me on it.

    Can I still get away with rocking statement earrings with that?

    Comment by TeleriB — September 24, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  19. Cool post! The sky blue earrings are my favorite.

    I forgot–what was the problem with hoop earrings?

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — September 25, 2011 @ 3:01 am

  20. @dcsurfergirl:

    Comment by TeleriB — September 25, 2011 @ 10:50 am

  21. Love this! I am feeling all warm and proud for having planted this seed! I am currently obsessed with necklaces that play on a simple chain–like this one from J.Crew or this one from Kate Spade They feel like there’s a sense of humour in them, which I realize is key for me…I like jewelry that is either straight up classic, or that winks at you! And here’s where I shockingly differ from you Miss P. I love a good hoop–especially one that is a variation on the theme like these I think that a hoop done right can channel Angela Davis circa 1976 while avoiding a gum-crackin ’round the way girl situation. Anyway, I love these ; and covet these ; and am currently trying to decide if I am woman enough for these . But in the meantime, I am inspired by many of your picks, and will continue to try to channel my inner plumcake…hoop earrings notwithstanding! Thanks!

    Comment by JennaB — September 25, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

  22. TeleriB: Thanks.

    Uh-oh. I am glad that original bigotry is gone. I just keep my hoops to the thin, delicate variety. I just wear them when I pull my hair back.

    Hey, those green earrings are also cool….

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — September 25, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

  23. Your stance on hoop earrings is particularly funny because hoop earrings are such a “must” according to several other style blogs (many of which I enjoy very much). Anyway, I love all the jewelry suggestions in this series – keep them coming!

    Comment by Gauss — September 26, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

  24. I too love the “Bigger” the better. The look is so amazing and I get such great comments.

    Comment by Clip On Earrings — October 17, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

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