Statement Earrings

My parents did not believe in bribery. When I told them about the kids in school who were rewarded with things for accomplishments or just doing what they were supposed to do, my parents explained to me that this was not how our family operated. They didn’t care what other people did, and it was perfectly okay —actually preferred — to not do what everyone else did. I got the point then. I still get it now.

But then, my parents bribed me.

I was in third grade, and we were at long last getting a dog. My parents had both grown up with dogs, and they recognized the joy a dog would bring to our family and so too the responsibility that it would teach my brother and me. I was ecstatic about this new dog. It was all I could think about, dream about, talk about. And then just a few weeks before we were to pick up my dream dog, my mother got cold feet. Even though the eight-year-old me promised her that I would take care of the dog, my mother knew that the ultimate responsibility would fall on her. She was also allergic to most dogs. She called an audible.

“Rach” she said to me as I wallowed in my eight-year-old I’m not getting a puppy dog tears “you can get your ears pierced instead.” I stopped crying – immediately. My second lifelong eight-year-old dream was to get my ears pierced, which I was told by my mother, would not be happening until I was 16. That seemed insane to me. So, when she offered me the pierced ears so many years ahead of schedule, I jumped at it. I accepted the bribe before it could be reneged.

And so began my lifelong love affair with earrings. I wear earrings every single day. I feel naked without them. Most days, I wear your basic stud earrings to go with my basic non-stud life. I have a pair of small triangular diamond studs my grandmother gave me a long time ago and also these small sparkly blue flower studs my friend Lauren got me in Paris which now feels like a long time ago.

When I have a special occasion to attend, which these days I’ll say is anything out of the ordinary routine of my basic regular day, I put on some version of a long, dangly, sparkly, funky, conversation piece provoking pair of statement earrings. I feel naked going out to any such type of event without a pair of statement earrings in my earlobes, which have been pierced now for 36 years.

These days I’ve been loving a whole slew of statement earrings from one of my most favorites stores, Red Clover in one of my most favorite cities, Savannah home to one of my most favorite aunts. These are the kind of earrings that can make a statement on your basic regular day, and also on your not so basic regular day. I never miss an opportunity to check out Red Clover’s earrings and other cute accessories and clothing when I visit my charming southern family and when I visit Red Clover’s charming southern web site.

I’ve had my eye on a few fancier pairs of beaded statement earrings from Sachin and Babi, the extremely talented designers who launched the Sachin and Babi Noir clothing line in 2009. I first discovered now one of my most favorite design teams in one of my most favorite stores with some of my most favorite people while shopping for a dress for my son’s Bar Mitzvah. I loved that dress so much and actually almost cried on my son’s big day when I had to take it off. I now regularly stalk the Sachin and Babi web site hoping to find the right pair of statement earrings for the right special statement occasion.

I have a good friend who believes all you have to do is wear a pair of statement earrings out to a party or event and you will look dressed up and special. My other most favorite aunt wears all black and gray clothes every day and simply changes up her funky dangly earrings which almost always get noticed and almost always make a statement.

A pair of statement earrings really can do a lot. I sometimes wish I didn’t feel the need to wear giant bits of metal or stone or enamel dangling from my pierced earlobes, but I can’t help it. Maybe it goes back to my pre-bribery roots where I was taught that it was okay – actually encouraged – to not be like everyone else? Or maybe it’s because I like the way the statement earrings frame my face and because I have been known to over-accessorize? I don’t know.

My daughter begged me to get her ears pierced for a couple of years. I managed to hold off until she was ten, and there was no bribery involved. She wears stud earrings only, and lately I’ve noticed — no earrings at all. Maybe that’s her own statement. I’m good with that. We all need to figure out our own statements, what we feel comfortable in and realize that it’s okay — it’s actually better — to not try and look and really be like everyone else. I love going out to an event in my statement earrings and looking around to see everyone else’s statements. What’s your statement? Email meat at rachel@rachellevylesser.com and let me know.

P.S. I ended up getting the dog a few years after the ears were pierced. My mother finally gave in, fell in love with the dog, and making a statement of her own, proclaimed that the dog was her favorite family member.