Earrings are one of the most common pieces of jewelry. With such a tremendous selection to choose from, it will help to have a few guidelines as you decide how to buy earrings. The main factors to consider are the types of earrings, the design and the occasion.
>> Who wears earrings?
Traditionally women dominate the market of earrings, but it's becoming more common for men to have pierced earrings too. If you don't want to pierce your ears, you can wear clip-on earrings.
>> Choose the types and sizes of earrings
When figuring out how to buy earrings, you have to consider which type of earrings you want. The following chart describes the three basic styles of earrings.
Studs • Studs are most common type of earrings. They have a small component fitting onto the earlobes and penetrating straight through the ear. They are attached to the ear with a post, rather than a hook.
• Studs are good if you want or need to make a subtle fashion statement.
Hoops • Hoops are circular or semi-circular in shape. They look like a ring and can vary in size from half an inch to several inches in diameter. They are attached to the ear with a post, like studs, or with a thin wire on the end of the component.
• Hoops fit into a range of social settings. Smaller hoops of precious metals or set with precious stones match a sophisticated occasion, while larger hoops go well with casual outfits and parties.
Drops and dangles • Drops and dangles allow the component to flow from the bottom of your earlobes. The difference between them is that the component of drops is fixed and stationary, while that of dangles swings as you move.
• Like hoops, drops and dangles fit into a range of social settings, depending on their design. Dangles, in particular, can be "arty" and casual, or demure and sophisticated, especially when they're narrow and set with precious stones.
>> What style will look good with your facial shape?
Your facial shape affects which types of earrings you should get. Usually, studs work for all kinds of facial shapes, but work especially well if you have a small face and for men. If you have a round face, then drops and dangles will be a great match as they add a slimming effect for your face. If you have an oval face, then hoops will work best to align with your facial shape. If you have a square face, try drops, dangles or hoops as they add a visual height to your face.
>> Choose the components
After considering what earring sizes fit you, you have to consider what components you want. Earring components can be made of many different materials. More common materials are genuine diamonds or other precious stones, synthetic stones (think cubic zirconia), pearl, plastic, glass, beads, metals (copper, nickel, etc.), ceramics (like fimo clay) or even paper. Most people have an earring "wardrobe" to match their clothing and different occasions.
>> Check for allergic reactions
Some people are allergic to certain metal components, such as nickel and copper. If you're allergic to a certain kind of metal, your skin will usually show a red rash near the site of contact. If that happens, remove your earrings and wash the area with water. Earrings alloyed with gold of 14K or higher will usually not cause metal allergic outbreak. Stainless steel earrings also don't cause allergic outbreak as the nickel is completely coated by the steel.
To determine whether you have these allergies, consult with a medical professional.
>> Match earring colors to your skin color
Consider how the color of the earrings complements your skin color. For darker skin, silver and white work well and so do neutral colors (white, black, brown). For those with paler skin, wear brighter colors, such as red and violet, but avoid white and silver.
Gold is the most versatile color for earrings -it looks attractive on almost everyone, regardless of complexion tone. The same is true for diamonds.
>> Match earrings to your eye color
Earrings can be chosen to complement your eye color in addition to your complexion. Gold earrings bring out flecks of yellow in brown eyes, but black earrings tend to make brown eyes look dull. In general, to make your eyes look lighter and brighter, you're better off with earrings in a darker shade than your eyes. If you want your eyes to look deeper and more mysterious, try earrings in a lighter shade.
>> Consider the occasion
If you're deciding how to buy earrings for a formal occasion, such as a wedding reception, earrings set with precious (like diamonds, rubies and emeralds) or semi-precious gems, like sapphire earrings, will fit right in. Of course, classic pearl earrings, in either stud or drop design, also contribute to a refined and polished look. For the workplace, you'll have to judge the general business dress expectations and the nature of the work. For casual or weekend wear, almost any material will work for studs, and most materials, except for precious stones and gems, will work for other styles. If you want to be very casual, try plastic, glass beads and stones.
If you're buying earrings as a gift for someone, make sure you know the person's preference in size, style and color. Studs will be a safe type of earrings to pick, but you can also go with drops and dangles if he or she likes something fancier. Usually, glass and plastic earrings can be great gift materials, depending on the occasion or age of the recipient. Common colors like blue and purple will be a safe choice if you don't know his or her favorite color.
When determining how to buy earrings, it's important to choose based on why and when you will be using them.