Reader Request: Highlighting Your Face Without Earrings

Reader Jenni threw this one into the suggestion box:

the next time you post about jewelry, could you share some thoughts for drawing attention to the face for those of us who can’t wear earrings? i may be in the minority here, but my ears have been terribly allergic for years (i’ve tried it all).

So I’m gonna assume that Jenni’s ears are sensitive enough that clip-ons won’t work either. So we’re going 100% earring-free here, friends. Let’s see what we can come up with.

Printed scarves

Yes, I am totally wearing earrings in the photo above. YOU CAUGHT ME. However, the main attraction is that floral infinity scarf, isn’t it? The busy but regular pattern, its proximity to my face, and the fact that it’s being worn with a solid dress in a darker hue all mean that the eye will be drawn upward toward my face. Printed scarves worn relatively close to the neck provide a great way to bring the observing eye into the facial realm.

Bold makeup

My guess is that Jenni was mostly thinking of accessories and clothes, but there are loads of other ways to keep the focus on your face. Bright or dark lipstick, smoky eye makeup, and flattering blush all help attract attention to your complexion. If bright eyeliner and false lashes feel too bold, stick to lip color. Find a shade that’s flattering but noticeable, and wear it proudly.

Hairstyles and hair ornaments

Another non-accessory option! Intricate braids, eye-catching updos, fun or colorful barrettes, fascinators, and headbands all grab attention. Especially if the rest of your outfit is relatively plain, any of these options will bring the observing eye upward.

Statement necklaces

Now, obviously a giant, funky necklace is going to bring attention to your neck and collarbone … but that’s within range of your face. (Right? Double checking … yep. Mere inches away.) Don’t feel like you need to go choker in order to bring the party up higher on your frame. In my opinion, any statement necklace will do the trick.

Chic eyeglasses

Naturally, this suggestion only applies to those of you who WEAR glasses, but a great pair of specs is one of the best ways to show off your gorgeous visage. I’m a fan of colorful frames myself, since they appear modern and bold, but even neutrals and metallics in interesting and modern shapes. (Here’s an older post about finding great glasses, with a link to advice from Angie at You Look Fab.)

What other suggestions do you have for Jenni? How would you draw the observing eye to your face if earrings were simply not an option?

  • Anna

    I’m hooked on Criminal Minds (pause to chuckle or guffaw) and am always entertained by Garcia’s getups. She may be over the top, but her accessories can still provide some inspiration.

  • http://butaneanvil.blogspot.ca/ Amber of Butane Anvil

    What one is starting with depends on the luck of the draw, but slightly darkening and not over-grooming eyebrows might be an option. I second your mention of hairstyle.

  • Anonymous

    The following is kind of specific to my coloring, but maybe it’ll help someone. I naturally have fair skin and dark brows, eyes, and lips. If I wear a light, solid colored top that works well with my skin tone, my face naturally stands out. In my case (pale, cool toned skin with a lot of pink), good colors are pale pink, pale bluish purple, and white.

    A patterned shirt or scarf would actually draw attention away from my face. As long as I stick to light colored solids, my face is the most contrasty thing in view.

  • @R

    There are some places online now where you can get very affordable glasses (you’ll want to get your prescription and sizing done be a local store, and I’d recommend getting your base pair of glasses from them). But then get a few fun pairs for cheap online!

  • Natalie

    Along with intricate updos and adding hair ornaments of all kinds, sleeking your hair back (as in a French twist or other sophisticated do where all of your hair is pulled away from your face and not attracting attention) really puts the focus on your face, especially your jawline & cheekbones. So if you like those aspects of your face, really highlight them by trying various dos that take the attention away from the hair.

    Other ways to draw the eye up to your face – scarves worn on your head or in your hair in some way. These go along with elaborate hairstyles and ornaments, but tend to draw even more attention. If you’ve got long hair, try braiding a scarf into it (google “scarf braid” all you’ll get all kinds of ideas). Or simply tie a scarf or ribbon around your head as a headband and let the ends hang down your back.

  • T.

    I find that if someone is wearing a solid-color turtleneck or even a crew neck I notice their hair and face more.

    • Andrea

      I agree. I feel like a higher neckline, especially with strong vertical or diagonal lines near the top, really pulls the focus up to my face. (Like a sleeveless mock-T, or a high halter, or a button-up with a mandarin collar, or a turtleneck sweater with cables, etc.) Lower cut tops remove the contrast between above the neck and below the neck.
      Also, if drawing attention to your face is a primary style goal for you, consider a haircut that will frame your face and add volume, like a bob or a short shag. Those tend to cover up your ears anyway, so earrings are pointless!

  • Gwen

    I am also allergic to earrings, and maybe it’s simply because it has been so many years since I’ve worn them, but I have never thought them to be “necessary” in any way. And most earrings–while fun–usually distract me from someone’s face rather than highlight it.

    A great haircut and a single bold color on my face is always enough: bold lips, bold eyeshadow/liner, or fun glasses.

  • Aziraphale

    Hairstyle, glasses, and makeup are all way more important than earrings in terms of drawing attention to your face. Lots of people wear pretty but teeny tiny earrings and they are rarely noticed by anyone else. Even mid-sized hoops, or even big hoops that are delicate, add little visual impact to your face. They’re virtually invisible to anyone but you. The only earrings that do draw attention are huge dangly ones (or possibly plastic neon ones from pre-teen bling shops), but they’re often impractical for daily wear and many people never wear them anyway. If you can’t wear earrings, really, there’s no problem.

    You can wear glasses even if you don’t need them. My brother-in-law, who’s always bleeding edge, style-wise, went around for years in a cool pair of horn-rimmed glasses that just had plain glass in them. He just liked the look of the thing.

  • Lizzzzie

    Wow! I didn’t know there was anyone else out there like me. I finally gave all my earrings away and gave up on it. I think I actually have inverse psoriasis and that’s why I can’t wear them. Glad to know I’m not alone.

  • Litenarata

    I’ve never had pierced ears so I don’t wear earrings, guess you can add me to the “no earrings” group.

    I don’t think that someone’s earrings attract attention to their face either. They attract attention to themselves, the earrings!

  • Jenni

    thank you, sally and everyone, for the inspiration and the solidarity. :) as it turns out, i am about to get my first pair of glasses (ah, 40!), and i will definitely use these suggestions about frames.