I don't have my ears pierced. I know, weird. (According to a 2005 Chicago Tribune article, the percentage of American women without their ears pierced hovers somewhere between 10-20%. Crazy, right??) I wasn't allowed to pierce them as a child, and that combined with my fascination with vintage fashion lead me to amass a collection of clip-on earrings starting at a young age. I got them at thrift stores, or dug through bins at Claire's looking for the once-in-a-blue-moon pair of clips. When my grandma passed away my Mom even gave me a few of her vintage clips and I became utterly obsessed.
By the time I was old enough to pierce my own ears I had such a great collection of clips that I didn't feel like it. I still don't - even though clip-ons aren't easy to find. Weirdly, having the constraint of a restricted supply helps me to stay thoughtful about the earrings I already own. One of my ultimate life goals is to be a fabulous, totally bald 90 year old with huge clip-ons and orange lipstick, and you bet I'm keeping all these earrings around for the journey.
Here are my favorite places to score clips.
Many of the most glamorous, statement-y, and inexpensive earrings I own are vintage. Clip-ons were once way more prevalent than they are now, and everything from your local Goodwill to an Antiques fair will likely be stacked with them. My best advice is to look for pieces that stand out, that still have all of their gems/parts - and I generally avoid the type that screws into the back of your ear because they huuuuuurt after about 2 hours of wear. From left to right in gallery above: Elsa Schiaparelli crescent clips found at the Alameda Antiques Fair, $40. Vintage clips from Goodwill, $4. Hand-me-down vintage earrings from my best friend's Grandma. Gold circle drop-downs, Ballard Consignment store in Seattle, $10.
A current favorite: Hart Studio
I stumbled across Hart Hagerty and her gorgeous earrings while scrolling through Instagram several months back and I have become 100% obsessed. She makes silky, wiggly, shiny tassel earrings in every length and color combo under the sun, and almost every style is available in a clip!! (She also makes the necklace of my dreams: the Janus lucky coin.) I love wearing these with a simple black or white tee, vintage-feeling jeans, and minimal makeup. I have two pairs: the Long Topknot in black (which is on sale!) and the regular Topknot in a blue that's no longer available.
Believe it or not...Banana Republic!
Full disclosure: I work at Banana Republic HQ. And you may think that means I know something about our product line...but in truth, my job is pretty much as far removed from product as you can get. I found these while shopping on Black Friday for a friend and literally squeaked with joy when I realized they were clip ons! I wore them New Year's Eve and felt so delightfully Gatsby I couldn't stop playing with them all night. There are a few other pairs currently on sale that I've got my eyes on, most notably the Opulent Floral Statement Earring. To be sure, the great bulk of the earrings at BR aren't clips, but there are a few hiding in the bunch and when they're good they're GREAT.
Etsy is a magical treasure trove of discoveries to be had. It's wonderful but overwhelming - I sometimes have better luck searching for categories or sellers on Etsy through Pinterest. That's how I found Oksana and her shop My Crystal Market - she makes beautiful glass bead clip-ons in a zillion colors, shapes, and lengths. They feel very sturdy and handmade, and make any outfit (even a boring one) feel considered. Etsy is also an amazing place to score vintage clip-ons if you don't live near thrift or antique stores. I've had my eyes on these for months, and basically every pair from GiSoutache Jewelry makes my eyes pop out of my head.
Do you have any clip-on sellers you love?? Any tips for scoring great ones? I'm always all ears!!