Posts Categorized: jewelry

This Week I Love …


… mid-sized studs.

I’ve written before about my love for studs, and how my shift to short hair has put me in the small-earring/big-necklace camp. But I do feel like my tiny studs get lost at times and gravitate towards my mid-sized options. Truly big post-back earrings feel a little 80s to me – at least ON me – but something between an itty-bitty prong-set gem and a silver-dollar-sized half-dome feels just right. Here are a few mid-sized stud earrings that have caught my eye recently:

fox stud earrings

Gorjana Fox Studs – $30

Even if the whole fox-print trend is mostly over, I still adore these. Because I adore foxes as animals and love being told that I’m foxy. At 1/2″ long and 3/8″ wide, these are right in that mid-sized window. In fact, they hail from Piperlime, a site that is considerate enough to include mock-up images showing you how large earrings will be when worn. LOVE that.

silver pyramid stud earrings

Vince Camuto Silver-Tone Pyramid Studs – $20

I have a pair that’s almost identical to these, purchased from Urban Outfitters about five years ago, and they are among my most-worn earrings. They add just the right amount of subtle toughness to my outfits. This pair is 3/4″ in diameter and also comes in gold-tone, and here’s a similar pair in rose gold. (Also love this triangular variation.)

ombre triplet studs

Ombre Triplet Studs – $26

At 1/4″ diameter, these are the smallest of the night, but still a bit chunkier than your typical single-stone, prong-set gem stud. I often find multicolored earrings a bit tricky to style, but the two tones of teal are gorgeous together and the gray is neutral, so I think these would be quite versatile. They’re also available in a pale pink/clear/gunmetal mix. Baublebar also includes images showing how large earrings will be on an actual ear.

kendra scott dira earrings

Kendra Scott Dira Studs – $50

I’m lusting after these, friends. With that lovely openwork design, these studs strike a perfect balance between chunky and delicate. They’re spendy, but could be worn with everything from jeans and a tee to a sparkly cocktail dress. And they come in silver, too! Click through to see them on a model. SO pretty.


Crystal Varnish Studs – $24

My pave studs are also worn quite frequently, as I find them to be a little more modern and edgy than straight-up CZ studs but also incredibly versatile. This pair is 1/2″ in diameter, so pretty chunky but not gigantic. And they’re also available in gold-tone. (If the plain pyramids bore you, check out these pave pyramid studs!)

marc by marc jacobs stud earrings

Marc by Marc Jacobs Embellished Studs – $29.99

Although these aren’t mixed metal exactly, the cool tones of the silver and the warm tones of the gems give them a mixed feel. The organic, subtly sparkly design makes them eye-catching, but a perfectly mid-sized 3/8″ diameter means they’re not too over-the-top.

bonnie jonas nail head stud

Bonnie Jonas Nail Head Stud – $16

Minimalists, this one’s for you. I think these pared-down studs with their simple slash are totally gorgeous, and at 3/8″ wide they’re chunky enough to be noticeable. Can’t beat that price, too. They’d be perfect with a funky weekend outfit or sleek workweek ensemble. Also available in goldtone.

Anyone else out there prefer a non-tiny, non-gigantic, mid-sized stud? Got any sources to share? I’d be willing to bet some of you make your own. What are your favorite design tips and preferred materials?

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Stealth Personality

By Cassie, Already Pretty Contributor

Wearing an outfit that I think expresses something about who I am and what I like can make an enormous difference to my mood and self esteem. But on weekdays, I’ve long been confined to an office environment, and offices equal my least favourite dress code of all time – the dreaded “smart casual.”

Maybe “smart casual” works for you, but I’m not a “smart casual” kind of person. I’m a little bit weird, and I like geeky things, and I’m a relatively unfashionable shape – to quote Tori Amos, I’m anchovies and “smart casual” is tuna. Unfortunately, looking like tuna when you’re really anchovies is one of the things you get paid for in an office job.

Apart from the limitations my employer’s expectations put on my wardrobe, I’ve also long had a little problem with money – as in, not nearly enough of it. A bright skirt or bold patterned dress are an awesome way to spruce up your office wardrobe, but the thing about attention-grabbing pieces is that people notice if you wear them all the time. My budget for clothes often doesn’t extend beyond a couple of skirts and an assortment of shirts, so I tend to pick things I can wear over and over without it being completely obvious. Which is to say my work wardrobe has ended up very functional, but ultimately very, very dull.  I’m sure I’m not the only one to end up backed into this bland little corner of affordable plain skirts and interchangeable tops; not only is it boring, it’s actually kind of depressing after a while.

Lucky for you guys, I’ve decided to share my two favourite ways to inject some personality into my workday wardrobe easily and economically.

Indie Eye Shadow

I’m sure you’ve seen a million other places that a pop of colour in your eye shadow is a great way to lift an outfit, and I entirely agree. However, it took me a long time to figure out how to incorporate a pop of colour without making it look like I’d been popped in the eye. I’m currently nursing a deep obsession with indie loose eye shadows, a formerly tiny market that has really exploded over the last couple of years. The colours available are just incredible, and there is almost endless variety on the market. These are a very small sample of my exponentially expanding collection.

Indie Swatches

Indies in Pots

Clockwise from top right, these are Shiro Cosmetics in Nic Cage Raking Leaves on a Brisk October Afternoon; Femme Fatale Cosmetics in Wavemender; Femme Fatale Cosmetics in Dreamstate and Shiro Cosmetics in Lingered in Twilight

I’ve also found indie eye shadows to be much more pigmented than your average mainstream offerings. There are similar products available from companies like MAC, but I just don’t have the budget to throw down for a full tub of an eye shadow I might not even like in the end. Almost all the indie eye shadow makers I’ve come across offer sample sizes (Spectrum Cosmetics, Shiro Cosmetics and Femme Fatale Cosmetics all offer three different sizes), so you can try them out before you commit to a full size container. Heck, you might not ever even NEED a full size container, considering how far these products go. Because they’re so pigmented, they’re not only quite economical but also really versatile. You can use a heavy hand and create a really attention getting look, or just the merest whisper and it will still make your eyes sparkle. If you mix them with foiling medium, you can also use them as liquid eyeliner.

Blue Eye

Brown Eye

But the colours are only part of why I’m so obsessed with indie eye shadows at the moment. Companies like Geek Chic Cosmetics and Shiro Cosmetics have discovered an even more direct route to my wallet; by making beautiful products that are also inspired by some of my favourite books, TV shows, and movies. Maybe I’m a sucker, but if you make a series of eyeshadows inspired by The Neverending Story, or The Hobbit, or the infamous Windows error BSOD I AM going to buy them. I get such an illicit, childish thrill out of wearing Gollum green eyeshadow to work, where I’m supposed to be professional and bland and boring.

Handmade jewelry

If you’ve spent any time at all on Etsy, you’ll already know handmade jewellery can be a real crapshoot. For every stunning piece, there is something that looks like my cat coughed it up being sold for a ludicrous amount of money. But if you can find the good stuff, it’s so very VERY good. You would be surprised at how unusual a necklace you can get away with in the average office – people will notice that you’re wearing jewellery, but not necessarily that, for example, your pretty silver locket actually has an anatomical model of a heart on it. I get the same illicit thrill out of “getting away” with pieces like this at work as I do with fandom-inspired eye shadow. It feels like I’m sneaking a little bit of me into an environment where I’m supposed to be totally interchangeable, and that feels fantastic.

If you’re as amused by anatomical illustrations as I am, The Spangled Maker might be just your style. Their work is very heavily influenced by Victorian illustrations and surrealism, and while some of the larger pieces would probably be pushing it, I think you could get away with the brain cuff links just about anywhere.




There is also an Australian artist who trades under the name Jubly-Umph, who does some incredible rockabilly, tattoo inspired jewellery. They’re all resin on stainless steel, so while they look fragile they’re actually very durable and totally waterproof.




The thing I really love about Jubly-Umph’s pieces is that they’re all created from her own original drawings. She sells prints of these drawings, as well as cardigan clips, handbags, and earrings all based on her artworks. I have the anatomical heart and the Dia Dos Muertos fox head pendant, and I get compliments every single time I wear them.

If your taste runs a little more conservative, there is another Australian creator I like a lot who sells from a shop called Planet Pickle. They do hand-crafted sterling silver and gold jewellery, and their designs are small and simple enough to pass unnoticed most of the time. While less bold than some of the larger pieces from The Spangled Maker or Jubly-Umph,  they are definitely unique and have a lot of personality. There are also pieces available in silver plated versions, for those of us not on a sterling silver budget.




 What’s your favourite way of sneaking a little personality into your work wardrobe? Are you a scarf person, or the one with the cool hair clips? Are you allowed to wear whatever you want? Are you entirely confined within a strict uniform? I’d love to hear how you express yourselves in the workplace.

Image credits: Author’s own photos of Femme Fatale Cosmetics and Shiro Cosmetics loose eyeshadows, promotional product images courtesy of The Spangled Maker Etsy Store, promotional product images sourced from the Jubly-Umph website, promotional product images sourced from the Planet Pickle Etsy store

_ _ _ _ _

The author of Reluctant Femme, Cassie is a queer thirty something Australian who thinks too much, reads too much, talks too much, and has way too many pretty things. Her writing revolves around an exploration of femme concepts, beauty products, feminism, and how they intersect with being a queer, poly, cisgender woman with fantastic nails. You can catch up with her in shorter bursts on Twitter as @anwyn, and see endless pictures of her nails on Instagram as @anwynincognito. She lives for comments, so if you’re reading by all means speak up! Even if you think she’s full of crap, she always likes to hear feedback.

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Accessory Scale and Personal Style

accessory_scale_with text

Accessorization is challenging. I know it is. And adding yet another consideration to the outfit-construction pile might make you want to say, “Forget it. I shall wear the same stud earrings until they become one with my lobes, refuse to swap out my necklace, and ignore the existence of belts and scarves.” But I’m hoping this particular discussion will be more intuitively helpful than irritatingly overwhelming.

So we’ve talked about belting, and the practice of determining which belt width will work for your height, figure, and torso length. (Links below.) But accessory scale goes beyond belts, and understanding it will help your outfit accents work harmoniously with your overall look.

There are two ways in which scale affects accessory balance:

Within an outfit

In an ideal world, the sizes and shapes of your accessories will mirror the sizes and shapes of your garments and shoes. If you’re wearing bright colors in broad swaths, big chunky shoes, or other bold elements, adding tiny, delicate jewelry might feel wrong. And, on the flip side, if you’re doing a floaty slip dress and heels, gobs of heavy metal jewelry and a huge belt might not work. There is always juxtaposition to be considered, and sometimes throwing huge accessories into a delicate mix works beautifully. But generally speaking, the scale of your accessories should complement the overall feel and look of your outfit.

Relating to your figure

Over the summer I worked with a client who is nearly six feet tall. Almost everything in her jewelry box was lightweight, light-colored, and delicate. Her only scarves were tiny silk squares, and her belts were all skinny. When I touched base with her after our consult, I brought up the concept of accessory scale. A woman of her stature could quite easily wear large, chunky jewelry, big belts, and gigantic scarves and have it work harmoniously with her figure and proportions. In fact, some of her truly tiny pieces were virtually invisible in the context of an entire outfit. I’ve also worked with clients who are extremely petite but drawn to wide belts and chunky bangles, and I have the same conversation but in reverse. Small women can look engulfed by giant accessories, while the more lightweight and delicate stuff looks absolutely smashing on them.

If you’re somewhere in the middle like me, many of your decisions will be more outfit-based than figure-based but you may find that some of your accessories just feel too big or small once you’ve examined them more closely.

And, of course, this is NOT meant to be interpreted as a hard-and-fast rule! None of my figure flattery advice posts should be considered gospel, including this one, and I fully expect you to read them with a grain of salt. Style “rules” are merely guidelines, no matter who is dispensing them. I trust you to use your judgment. And I trust you to take what applies to you, discard the rest, and assume positive intent. In this case, that means that if you’re petite and love enormous jewelry, enjoy it. If you’re tall or plus-sized and wear nothing but skinny belts and delicate chains, that is absolutely your prerogative. And everyone should feel free to mix things up on an outfit-by-outfit basis. But if you’ve noticed that the jewelry and accessories you’re choosing aren’t quite working within the context of your outfits, consider scale. It might be the factor that’s throwing off your looks.

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