Dressing Your Ears

It was Anthony Powell in ‘Dance to the Music of Time’ who said: ‘Books do furnish a room.’ Well, I feel much the same way about earrings! I never go out without a pair of earrings adorning my ears because I feel ‘unfinished’ (as opposed to unfurnished) without them.

More than almost any other accessory I see earrings as the perfect way to add some interest, colour, style, fun and quirkiness to whatever I’ve chosen to wear.

My love of hanging bits of metal or plastic from my earlobes goes back to my childhood dressing up box in which I had a huge selection of clip-ons purloined from my mother’s jewellery box and sought for pennies in jumble sales. As you can see from the photograph here little has changed! I have just counted all my current collection and the total comes to 75 pairs of what some of you may see as worthless tat and what I see as the perfect addition to every conceivable outfit.

Tricia Cusdens earring collection

I am sure that there’ll be those of you reading this who will immediately think of blowsy barmaids or even Pat Butcher, an Eastenders soap star who was famous for her huge and somewhat vulgar earrings, however my purpose here is just to persuade you to rethink the subject and also to introduce you to a brand that I have come to love which I think produces some really interestingly different earrings which I think you might like. So, let’s look at the options:

Small Neat Studs

I’d suggest that these are the default for most older women. Aware of the stricture that as we age we should stop frightening the horses with our appearance, the obvious choice is a pair of neat pearl studs. I have three pairs of varying sizes in my own collection and there are times when they are perfect for the occasion or to complete my outfit. Just make sure that your teeth are whiter than the pearls and you’ll be fine. Other studs may be diamante (or real diamonds if you’re lucky) or a tiny dot of interesting colour. I have a pair of bright pink ones in the shape of a small flower which are very sweet and which I bought in the V&A gift shop. Actually I have a few pairs from the V&A which are a good source of unusual earrings.

Tricia Cusden wearing small flower earrings from the V&A


I am not overly keen on those massive ones which almost reach the shoulders and they can fight with your hair, but if you have shortish hair or wear it long and pulled back, then hooped earrings can look very elegant. I have three pairs. One pair are from Georgiana Scott who specialises in hoops and sells an enormous range and variety of good quality hooped earrings. They aren’t cheap but they’re worth the investment if you love that look. Mine are silver and are quite unusual and I love that they are light and comfortable to wear. I have another nice pair of pale grey plastic hoops I bought in John Lewis for £10 - so you don’t have to pay a fortune. And in this photo I am wearing a pair of bright turquoise metallic hoops I bought in France.

Tricia Cusden wearing turquoise metallic hoops brought in France.

Glamour and Glitz

Nothing like a bit of sparkle on your ears to lift your look for a special occasion. I am assuming that you don’t have family diamonds in a vault somewhere, so like me you resort to nice looking fake ones which are widely available in department stores. I bought the ones in the Christmas photo here on a trip to Dublin in Brown Thomas (which is the Harvey Nicks of Ireland) and also treated myself to the matching necklace. I have worn these on a number of special occasions and like the fact that they are reasonably understated for obviously paste jewellery. A brand to look at for a huge range of very reasonably priced evening or maybe wedding earrings is Jon Richards.

Tricia Cusden wearing drop down earrings.

Colourful Earrings

As you can see from my treasure trove of earrings I have a large number in blues and purples and also reds and pinks. As a cool-toned winter these are the colours that work best with much of my wardrobe, some mainly for summertime and others more appropriate to the winter. All the other earrings in my collection are either silver, grey, perspex (clear), pearls or black which effectively means that they are ‘neutral’ and will literally go with everything. One of the main considerations for me is how well they tone with my lippie - mainly because I always wear quite a bright lipstick colour (like Fuschia, Cherry Red or Monroe Red) and as my earrings sit either side of my mouth (if you see what i mean), it’s important that they tone well. I’ve mentioned before when talking about fashion and age about the importance of developing your own ‘signature style’ and I’d say that my signature is a really definite lip colour teamed with interesting earrings. I chose red for both lips and ears at my book launch.

Tricia Cusden wearing red earrings to match her red lipstick.

Which brings me to Toolally. I first discovered Toolally earrings when I read a fashion blog and loved the Diane Von Furstenburg dress they’d teamed with some very fetching and unusual earrings. I immediately went online and was excited to see the range of bright and colourful geometric shapes featured there. Since then I have bought several pairs and they have all quickly become favourites because they are reasonably priced (about £45), unusual in style and, as they are made from plastic, even the largest ones are very lightweight and comfortable to wear. When I counted my haul of earrings, no less that seven pairs were from Toolally and they are the ones I wear most days. As I was planning this blog I contacted Mags the founder at Toolally and asked her to send me a few pairs from her latest collection to show you. I was excited to receive the ones you can see in the photos below, all of which I love, teamed with one of their bold quirky necklaces - which some of you may prefer to the earrings. 

Tricia Cusden wearing Toolally Bolt Earrings and Kite Necklace

Bolts Earrings - Purple royal and Kite Necklace - Blue. If you like smaller styles these 'lightening bolt' shapes are neat and quirky.

Tricia Cusden wearing Toolally Blue Pebble Earrings

Pebbles Earrings - Blue royal. These very neat ovals would brighten any outfit as they come in 5 colours.

Tricia Cusden wearing Toolally Crescent Orbs Earrings

Crescent Orbs Earrings - Iridescent (these look green in the picture but are pinky iridescent with a pink glittery centre and are really unusual. I love them!)

What I love about earrings is that you don’t need to be any particular size, shape or age to wear them. In my view they add the finishing touch to any and every outfit and it’s probably fair to say that, like makeup, I have worn earrings every day of my life for about 50 years. With my red lipsticked mouth I now see my more outlandish earrings as a tiny act of provocation in a world that expects me to eschew self decoration and fade into the background. However I take daily pleasure in perusing my collection and selecting the perfect pair to complement and complete my look.

How about you? Do you also love earrings (or other interesting jewelry) for embellishment? Do share your thoughts and any sources of unusual or interesting pieces.

We Have Two Great Toolally Offers For You:

Toolally is offering all of you 15% off any Toolally purchase with code fab15 which you can redeem only via the Toolally website. This code is valid until 30th April 2020 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers or coupons. Toolally earrings are also available from John Lewis Stores, however the code is not valid for these stores. 

We've also partnered with Toolally, to give one lucky winner the chance to win a £250 gift voucher to spend on on the Toolally website and one of our LFF Warm or Cool Toned Makeup Collections. Click here to enter, competition closes 29th February.