13 In Getting Dressed

Here’s the clear-the-collar earring advice you must know about

My clear the collar earring advice

Every woman needs an earring that will clear the collar


Today I want to address a problem that gets discovered after you’ve left the house and you’re too far from home to fix it. The solution is as easy as choosing the right earring from the start.

Let’s add this earring solution chapter to your styling lesson plan that already includes something I spoke about recently: why it’s important to combine a nothing earring with a something necklace. (Need a refresher? Here’s that accessory tutorial.)

In this lesson I’ll show you the type of earring you need to wear when you’re wearing a collared shirt, collared jacket, or anything high on the neck like a lovely scarf wrapped a couple of times and tied just so. Artful Home generously gifted me the pieces for this two-part lesson so let’s get started!


Today’s jewelry lesson: Why you need an earring that will clear the collar


Demonstrating the clear the collar earring tip

Does this earring touch my collar? No. Great!


There’s a problem-o about wearing longer earrings when you’re wearing something with a prominent collar. Long earrings and tall collars knock into each other all day long. Likewise, when you wear an oh-so-lovely scarf around your neck, a long earring can get caught on the scarf and even pull at the fibers. Have you ever been wearing a scarf and all of a sudden you feel a tug and your head tilts? You try to pull the earring away from the scarf or you ask someone to help you get unstuck. Either way it’s not graceful and it can be avoided.

It might be easier to understand if I told you a story about a longtime client of mine who had this problem but was resisting the solution.

This client LOVES long and artful earrings. She wouldn’t even look at an earring that wasn’t longer than 2-1/2 inches. She does not have a long neck and many of the earrings would hit her shoulder. She needed smaller earrings but she wouldn’t even hear of it. It took many styling sessions and some gentle proding coaching with her before I started making any headway.


Here’s what happens when I’m styling an outfit

When I style outfits for my clients I start with the clothing pieces and then do the accessorizing. If you saw me working in the closet I’d have chosen the garments and the shoes and the client has slipped into them. Then I figure out the best jewelry pieces and handbag to wear with that outfit. When the right combo of pieces comes together it’s super apparent. When the cheering and exclaiming dies down (we get excited) we write down all the details on a Wardrobe Chart so they never have to think about what to wear at a future date.

That cheering wasn’t happening when I had this client dressed in outfits that had dramatic collars. (Full disclosure: She purchased those collared garments on her own but needed my help styling them.) Her long earrings, which was pretty much all I had to choose from, were getting hung up on the collar. They never stayed put. They didn’t have a chance of hanging properly as the collar was in the way. I told her the solution but we were at an impasse. She’s a very artistic person and holds very strong opinions.

Me too. Over time, my advice was taken. What she was slow to realize was that she didn’t have to give up on artistic just because she was getting into a smaller earring!

We all have our styling sticking points and this one may not be yours. Or it could have been happening to you and you didn’t realize it was even a thing. Read on!


Create ease with a clear-the-collar earring

Wearing a clear-the-collar earring creates ease


Great style comes in small packages

I wore a white shirt with a collar so I could demonstrate the solution I shared with this client and many more. Here’s an earring by designer Karin Jacobson. Her work is sold through Artful Home. She calls this earring Medium Anise Fold. It’s hand fabricated from recycled sterling silver and then formed by hand (!!) and oxidized black. It’s 1.5 inches long. They have 18k yellow gold posts and you can see they each have a little diamond on top. Clever? Yes. Artistic? Yes. Functional? Yes, especially for this purpose today.


Medium Anise Fold Earrings

Medium Anise Fold Earrings at Artful Home


Besides being the right length, this earring has movement. They gently swing and sway every which way. And because they’re not too long, they can sway to their heart’s content without hitting my collared shirt! See how dimensional they are?


Earrings from Artful Home

I Iove how dimensional this earring is!


Are you reflecting?

Are light bulbs going off in your head? Are you realizing the problems certain loved earrings have given you when you wore collars or a scarf around your neck? Are you remembering how people came up to you and repositioned your earring for you because it was tangled up in that luscious pashmina scarf or that fascinating collar?

Are you thinking about shorter earrings you have in your jewelry drawer that you could substitute for longer ones that wouldn’t run into your collar or your beautiful scarf? Their fashion stock value has just risen!


Accessory Lesson Part Two: No earring should have to face the world alone

Once I’ve chosen the earring, the next stage of styling an outfit is to choose an auxiliary piece or two to join forces with the earring in order to bring focus, balance, and continuity to the outfit. It’s as if I’m pairing jewelry pieces together so they have someone else to talk to, someone who understands their language.

The piece I chose to fortify the impact of the earring was this cuff by artist Tana Acton. It’s called the Oxidized Corset Cuff. Get this: It’s a single piece of wire tautly wrapped around a curved frame. Try that at home!


Oxidized Corset Cuff from Artful Home

This Oxidized Corset Cuff can be shaped to fit just right


Oxidized Corset Cuff can mold to your wrist

A single piece of wire is wrapped around the curved frame


The things these two pieces share and why they’re a good match, without matching, is the metal work, their contemporary style and the fact that they’ve both gone through the oxidation process. They had instant rapport when I put them together. I mean, look at them! They’re newlyweds but they look like they could be celebrating their twenty-year anniversary already!


Teaming an earring with a cuff

This cuff and earring is an awesome couple



Corset Cuff looks great with gray

Loving the fit of this Corset Cuff


Final Outfit of the Day details

I had a great day wearing this outfit to the Village Shopping Center where Erin and I shopped with a client all afternoon. My clothing pieces were my Lafayette 148 black stretchy pant, my Chico’s white blouse, my J.Jill gray anorak jacket, and my sand colored Lucky booties. My accessory bases were covered by my Medium Anise Fold Earrings, my Corset Cuff, arty ring and gray and blue scarf.

I think I can hear Mother saying, “You look nice, Babe.” I felt nice.


Work outfit

Enjoying the harmony of my outfit


So tell me dear friends, have you had trouble with earrings clanking into collars? Do you have some just-right earrings that can cure this problem? Do you need more variety in your earrings? Do share!



Artful Home is an online resource providing artist-made handcrafted jewelry and comfortable clothing that appeals to women of style. They sponsored this post and I am most grateful! Check out more of their jewelry selections here.

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  • Reply
    Sandi Mcdougall
    April 12, 2018 at 5:45 am

    Love all your articles on accessorizing. I’m wondering if you help clients with picking their best color to wear close to their face and then work around that. I’ve been color analyzed twice but wonder why I’m steering towards navy & not browns for a base color anymore and why you live so far away 🙂 Have an amazing day!

    • Reply
      April 17, 2018 at 10:38 am

      Well, we do evolve and colors change. Like right now it’s really hard to find brown in the stores but a lot easier to find navy. So part of it is what’s being offered at the time. I find navy to be more vibrant than brown on most people. I think we have several “best colors” so I wouldn’t be tempted to focus on just one. Hope that helps, Sandi!

  • Reply
    Cathy D.
    April 12, 2018 at 10:31 am

    This article is really timely since I’m trying to buy myself a present, a new pair of earrings. I love turned up collars and scarves, and have a short neck. Usually dangling earrings drive me nuts… I can’t stand feeling them flop around when I turn my head… and earrings that are at all heavy give me a headache. Perhaps I should stick to studs or 1″ hoops.

    • Reply
      April 17, 2018 at 10:36 am

      I think you’re well on your way to a solution. The ones I’m wearing are amazingly lightweight. Just wore them again yesterday. It’s such a joy to have style and function work together!

  • Reply
    MK Craig
    April 12, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Great article, Brenda! I make most of my own earrings, and love long, dangly earrings with lots of movement. But the combination of a short-ish neck and a collar just doesn’t work, as you pointed out. I’m going to shorten some of my favorite earrings to avoid this problem. Also had a couple inches cut off my hair so now you can actually see my earrings–they aren’t hiding in my hair!

    • Reply
      April 17, 2018 at 10:35 am

      You make great points! I have been doing that with clients of mine as well, finding ways to shorten earrings. I was with a client yesterday who’d taken her earrings to her jewelry person to make one of those too long earrings shorter as per my instructions. SO MUCH BETTER! We were thrilled! Lucky you that you know how to do this on your own. Thanks, MK.

  • Reply
    La semaine d'une gourmette
    April 13, 2018 at 2:13 am

    I have loads and loads of earrings (I almost never not wear earrings, as I don’t use any makeup they are my face adornment), long and short. And you are right, unconsciously I pay attention to length vs. collar (or scarf) and wear short earrings with collars, longs ones with non-collared tops.

    • Reply
      April 17, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Isn’t it fun making something you’re doing unconsciously more conscious? It makes my synapses happy!!!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Hi Brenda,

    I recently discovered your blog and have been enjoying it greatly. I live in Florida, and it is always warm here and often HOT. This makes stylish dressing for older women a challenge. Scarves, blazers, and other layers are usually too much. So many older women show too much skin and I don’t like that look. Also it’s a very casual life here, and many people go everywhere in shorts…I like to look a little more pulled together. I’d love to have you address this topic, especially not that the weather is warming everywhere and many of your readers struggle to look good and stay cool in the summer. Many thanks!

    • Reply
      April 17, 2018 at 10:32 am

      Great topic, Linda. I’m writing it on Post-It note right this second! So happy the blog was discovered by you! Love seeing you here!

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    April 13, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Oh my goodness! Yes, you do look beautiful! Stop you in the street , gorgeous ! Love the happy, sophistication of all the colours of a stormy sky, with peeking out blue ! I really get, the fundamental message here. thank you . I am seriously considering getting my ears re- pierced, as I feel I am missing out on so much extra fun i could be having. Thank you lovely Brenda. As always, sending love from Oz. X

    • Reply
      April 17, 2018 at 10:23 am

      Thank you! Always fun to hear the bells going off at something you see, Trinnie. I concur with you. I think getting your ears re-pierced is a great idea! Love to you, my dear, from Sonoma! XO

  • Reply
    February 21, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Hi, Brenda – This is a good reminder because I simply don’t usually think of it! I really like how you solve the problem of us people who get bored with minimalism by showing how adding a different statement piece can take up the slack of having a smaller earring. Thanks for your attention to detail – Angie, http://www.yourtrueselfblog.com

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