Clip It Good

Spiral clip-on earrings in hammered gold finish. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Aside from my wedding ring, the one type of jewelry I almost never leave home without is a pair of earrings. I feel naked without them.

Above: I like the insouciance of those hammered gold spirals. (Also available in a silver tone.)

I had my first earlobe piercings at 16. It took months to overcome my mother’s objections, and she insisted I have it done at a doctor’s office. (They used the same piercing gun as the jewelry store.) From the moment the piercings healed, I’ve preferred hoops, wires and dangles to diminutive studs.

Now, I find I can no longer tolerate big, heavy earrings. Or even smaller and moderately weighted ones. All but the lightest styles drag my lobes down, and are uncomfortable both physically and aesthetically. I’ve been wearing the same few light pairs over and over, and am ready for some variety. I don’t find posts comfortable either. So I’m reconsidering clip-on styles.

Clip-On Earrings for Everyday Wear

When searching current clip-on earring styles, it’s easy to find lots of Humongous. Statement. Earrings. But I’m looking for something that’s a fun option for every day. Bigger than a stud, smaller than a breadbasket. Simple, but less formal than those 80’s doorknockers and buttons. Here are a few more that have caught my eye…

White Mabe cultured pearl clip-on earrings. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I have a Thing for irregular pearls. These one-of-a-kind white Mabé pearl clips are big enough to be noticed, but small enough for daily wear.

Vince Camuto crystal clip hoop earrings. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Casual Glamour: these are a fun (and budget-friendly) take on a hoop earring.

14K gold twisted fan clip earrings. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Vintage appeal: ooh, I just love the shape and mid-century vibe of these 14K gold earrings. (Also one-of-a-kind…)

Cecile Jeanne gold dove clip earrings. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

These whimsical doves from French brand Cecile Jeanne are available in both gold and silver, and in a smaller size too. I’ve ordered these to try, stay tuned… (h/t to Annie at Red Leopard who pointed these out to me)

Not Your Mother’s Doorknockers

And keep an eye out in vintage, thrift and consignment stores for unique clip-on earrings.

What style of earrings do you wear most often?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Martina
    July 30, 2019 / 4:33 am

    I wear thin hoops and lever backs with drops. I tried clip ons, but my earlobes are thin, and if they were tight enough to stay on they were really painful. Oh well…

  2. Susan D
    July 30, 2019 / 4:52 am

    What a great post! I went through a period of having difficulty with my long pierced ears. They have recovered now, but in the interim, I found a wonderful pair of clip on earrings on Etsy. They are vintage sterling silver Mexican Taxco style earrings and I love them. While they are slightly larger than I would wear everyday, they are wonderful for out to dinner or to a party.

    Another source of very comfortable clip on earrings is Julie Vos. Peruse the Julie Vos website (which has both post and clip on earrings.)

  3. Candace Olander
    July 30, 2019 / 5:01 am

    I too have thin ear lobes and allergies to certain metals. That being said, I need to stick to gold or 925 sterling. There is a jewelry designer, Peter James, that is based in Sausalito. They make very interesting pieces and they are all light as air. I have worn them for years and never tire of the styles. They are very sturdy for their look and most often the earrings are mirrored so they frame the face. The web address is and you can order on line although they do sell is fine jewelry stores. They have a wide range of price points and styles. It might be worth a look.

    • Jeanne J
      July 30, 2019 / 9:02 am

      My husband gave me a Peter James bracelet years ago. I adore it and wear it frequently. I’ll have to have a look at the earrings!

  4. Gillian
    July 30, 2019 / 5:02 am

    Bonjour , Just like you I have moved back to clip-ons for the same reasons. It’s very difficult here in France to find smart clip-on earrings. When I do find a shop or a website that sell them, I usually buy a few pairs before they run out!! I put them on as soon as I get up, and keep them on all day, so they have to be comfortable, but often aren’t, unfortunately. Wish I could find a supplier who ticks all the boxes, I’d be their best customer. I read your blog every day and really enjoy the posts about France!!

  5. Linda M
    July 30, 2019 / 5:11 am

    Try the ear lobe support patches. They are made from a surgical fabric and stick to the back of your earlobe. Your post or wire goes right through them, they are virtually invisible, and they provide support that allows you to wear at least the lightweight to medium weight earrings without stretching your piercing hole, and with no pain. They saved my earring life! Mine are called Lobe Lockers, and I got them from Amazon, but Nordstrom has a version too. I have had zero luck with clip on earrings, no matter the weight. They hurt, and they have a tendency to fly off at inopportune times, like when crossing a busy street or sitting down to dinner.

    • Susan B
      July 30, 2019 / 5:44 am

      Hi Linda, I did try those but I seem to have allergies/sensitivities to the adhesive. They start to itch after a few hours. (have this issue with most band-aids too…)

      • Annie
        July 30, 2019 / 7:54 am

        I wonder if a tiny piece of “Press and Seal” plastic wrap would work on the back of your lobes. We sometimes use this on kids to hold a special cream in place on their skin for The adhesive sensitive. No adhesive so no problem there.

  6. Ainsivalavie
    July 30, 2019 / 5:23 am

    Hahaha, I have plump ear lobes and clips are never friendly to me. I seldom wear costume earrings so a piecing is more secure for valuable pieces. I did see this little device on Amazon that converts pierced earrings to clip so might be worth a try. I inherited some really fabulous costume jewelry with Austrian crystals and matching brooches. ( remember our mother’s and Aunts had those Coro and KJL etc.sets in back in the day?) The earrings are clips so it will all be repurposed into a statement necklace.

  7. Julie F
    July 30, 2019 / 5:56 am

    I always chuckle when I read about trying to convince mothers to let daughters get their ears pierced. My mother was the neighborhood piercer. She had no piercing gun – she used a big sewing needle & a cork! She was always trying to talk me into letting her pierce my ears, to the point I was worried she’d do it while I was sleeping (I was pretty young). When I finally decided to get pierced in my 20s, I went to Merle Norman (but took Mama with me for support). I’ve never worn heavy earrings, so still wear posts & very small wires. I’ve tried clips, but they always wind up hurting after a while.

  8. July 30, 2019 / 6:00 am

    My ex-husband used to say that I wore earrings that could double as battery cables. I still like great big colorful earrings. Things that hit my face when I shake my head, in colors that draw attention to my eyes. I’ve also started enjoying wearing ear cuffs, but they can’t hurt!

  9. July 30, 2019 / 6:06 am

    How wonderful to actually see a post about clip on earrings! I gave up my always-painful pierced ears many, many years ago. I have quite a collection of clip ons! My Mother had many Kenneth Lane which are just so so great. I collect Miriam Haskell, mostly on Etsy. And yes, any vintage store will have lots. I have also converted posts to clip on. But I do put the small round felt or sponge material (used for eyeglasses) on the back to make them more comfortable. Thanks for these ideas!

  10. Marguerite
    July 30, 2019 / 6:40 am

    Love those dove clip ones, but alas a clip on would pain me, as my lobes might be my only truly thin body part, lol. Btw, I’m having trouble with my Bloglovin feed, so had to go to the web to find your latest post. A few days go by without something from you and I know somethings wrong! Also loving your style reset posts very much. I think the majority of your readers are envious of that very productive experience!

    • Susan B
      July 30, 2019 / 7:53 am

      Hi Marguerite, the dove earrings are also available in a pierced style here. Thanks, yes I had some technical glitches with the blog feed over the weekend, but they seem to be fixed now (knock wood).

  11. Katherine C. James
    July 30, 2019 / 7:58 am

    My daily earrings are small platinum and diamond baguette hoops with a wire that goes through my ear and snaps the back of the earring to the front. They are my version of diamond studs. Sometimes I wear smaller plain platinum hoops that also close with a wire that snaps to the back of the earring after it passes through my ear. I also wear 6-8 mm (unsure of size) pearl studs, or a pair of 12 mm gray pearls on a French wire. I have to have a platinum or gold wire or post because I have an allergy to silver. If I had it to do again, I’d probably not pierce my ears, and forgo earrings most days. Because I do have the piercings—three, two in my left ear—I don’t feel comfortable without something in the holes. In the third hole I wear a tiny platinum square baguette in a classic pronged setting made for me by my jeweler. When I wear the small plain platinum hoops, I wear three of those. I also have seed pearls on a French wire and small pearl posts from my mom. Both of those had to be modified, because my mom refused to have her ears pierced despite my dad’s attempts to lure her with diamond studs. I have a collection of other earring, including drops, I’ve collected over the years, but I realized I feel comfortable in my classic few, so I go with those.

  12. Katherine C. James
    July 30, 2019 / 7:59 am

    Forgot to say: love the dove earrings.

  13. Lee B
    July 30, 2019 / 8:12 am

    I had a similar problem about 20 years ago but had problems with clip-ones as they were painful. My dermatologist sliced the pierced earlobes and stitched them, closing the holes. After about two months of healing I had new holes pierced, and have been wearing my big hoops and dangling earrings ever since. It seems like the healed areas were thicker so the holes have never stretched.
    Clip-one are an easier solution if you can tolerate them.

  14. Jeanne J
    July 30, 2019 / 9:13 am

    I really love mid-century-style clip on earrings that are mirrored to frame the face, and follow the line of the ear upwards slightly, though not as much as the modern-day ear crawlers (horrible name). I have a few vintage pairs of these, costume pieces, and I find them very flattering. However, on a daily basis I typically wear either classic, slightly wide, flat hoops, or some contemporary take on a classic hoop.

  15. Sheila-Merle Johnson
    July 30, 2019 / 9:57 am

    I too cannot wear big or heavy earrings for pierced ears. Nor can I wear clips – they pinch my ears, or fall off. I have a huge collection of lightweight pierced earrings, but some of them do lengthen my long-lived earlobes in a not-so-attractive way. I just found a product that helps this last problem: Magic Bax earring lifters from Amazon. I can’t remember where I learned about them, maybe even from you! @sheilamerle1

  16. Wendy
    July 30, 2019 / 10:21 am

    The pair I wear most often (ok, all the time!) are slender copper hoops, lightly hammered, that hang from wires. I often wear them in their natural matte and darkened state in the winter and polish them up for summer. They check all the boxes for me: lightweight, hand-made, don’t compete with my eyeglasses, and go with everything.

  17. Anon
    July 30, 2019 / 10:24 am

    I waited until I was 16 years old to have my ears pierced. At that age, ID was all that was required. I asked friends for references to a good jewelry store. I waited until my parents went on holidays, so my earlobes would be well into healing when they returned, and followed the hygiene instructions carefully. My mother decided to get her ears pierced when they returned. Foiled again by parental authority.

  18. Daniella
    July 30, 2019 / 11:19 am

    Since I generally wear rather prominent types of semiprecious stone necklaces which I design, I tend to minimize the earrings. Small studs, generally, although I started to design these also, to more or less match the necklace. Same color palette, but minuscule and light by contrast. No clip on, so far, although I may resort to that as well. Oh, the old adagio, “Il faux souffrir pour etre belle”

  19. Claudia
    July 30, 2019 / 11:46 am

    I never did pierce my ears, and rarely wear earrings ( I like to SEE my jewelry…rings and bracelets!) But I have many fab clip-ons found at thrifts, flea markets and yard sales. TIP: a dab of surgical adhesive ( false eyelash glue) on the clip and you can jitterbug all night long without worrying about an earring flying off.

  20. July 30, 2019 / 12:06 pm

    I wear pierced earrings but have never worn large or heavy ones. It took me a long time to persuade my mom to let me get my ears pierced because she associated the practice with gypsies but she finally gave in when I was 13. Then she got her ears pierced a couple of years later because she thought it would be more secure for her diamond earrings. I still tend to wear smaller earrings, both post and wire.

    • Jill Ann
      July 30, 2019 / 3:57 pm

      Ha! My mother also used to say that in her day, only gypsies had pierced ears! I didn’t get mine done till I was 21 and home from college. Went to the mall to have it done, and when I came home, my dad said to my mom, “did you tell her she could do that???” Mom pointed out that I was 21, after all, but then said, “but you had such cute ears when you were a baby!”

  21. Angela in NZ
    July 30, 2019 / 1:13 pm

    A lack of true lobes has been a blessing. I have had no noticeable change from wearing pierced earrings. Thinking back……hmm 50 years!, I must have only worn lighter weight styles. That decision probably followed on from finding clip ons too painful. Shame really as there are still some wonderful vintage ones around especially in the op shops.
    Glad to have you back on line, missed your inspiration.

  22. Heidi L.
    July 30, 2019 / 1:21 pm

    Usually I wear hoops,hooks(French or otherwise)and clip ons since I collect bakelite jewelry and most of those are clip ons. Although some have been converted to posts. My only issues with some clip ons is that, apparently, I have thick earlobes and so the clips can be extremely tight to the point where I’ve had bruised lobes. But I’m willing to suffer, somewhat for fashion. One of the most fun and unusual pairs of clip ons I have are rhinestone ear cuffs from the 40’s that came to me by way of a friend. They are giant and so ostentatious,but I love the,

  23. Jill
    July 30, 2019 / 1:34 pm

    James Avery from Texas makes light and lovely earring in silver as well as gold. I wear his small hoops every day. You can find him on line.

  24. Betty Goldberg
    July 30, 2019 / 2:18 pm

    I can’t wear heavy or clip earrings. I can only wear earrings for pierced ears. I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 40 and my friend told me she had a birthday surprise for me. I got my ears pierced and she gifted me a beautiful pair of silver earring that I still wear.

  25. Lyn
    July 30, 2019 / 3:40 pm

    Clip-ons always remind me of the old movie scenes where the women would elegantly remove the earring before answering the phone. (If you remember your mother doing that, you are certainly une femme d’un certain age.)

  26. Jill Ann
    July 30, 2019 / 4:06 pm

    I got my ears pierced at 21, and have never regretted it! I guess I never wore heavy earrings, since I don’t have any problems 40 years later. My go-to earring is a 1” gold hoop, but I have lots of other options I wear depending on the outfit. One of my favorites is a larger, twisted gold hoop my husband bought in Italy years ago. I prefer wires to posts, but wear both. I am also lucky to have several pairs of vintage clip-ons belonging to my mother & grandmother, which I seldom wear, but sometimes they are just the thing! Especially the sparkly rhinestone ones.

  27. Felicia
    July 30, 2019 / 4:17 pm

    I had my ears pierced at 13 (in the doctor’s office) and, 50 years later, had a second piercing in January (at a tattoo/piercing parlor). I have discovered that my inner rebel very much enjoys wearing two earrings. My usual combo is diamond studs and small gold hoops.

  28. Eva
    July 30, 2019 / 4:34 pm

    I noticed places selling more & more clip ons this year. I can’t wear them, I guess I have fat lobes (LOL) because they hurt like the dickens. I have some that I inherited from my Grandmother that I tried wearing but they hurt so bad, I couldn’t do it; I had my jeweler turn them into pierced earrings. I had to get mine done at the doctors office, we didn’t even have a mall yet!! I like to wear a bit of a dangle with my hair so short and I think it gives me a little glamour. I’m a pearl girl too (literally, I LIVE in Pear!!) and have inherited some beautiful ones from my mother and grandmother. Update us on how your scarves are going to fair with your new color and style evolution!

  29. Laura
    July 30, 2019 / 5:25 pm

    Hmmm…forgot about clip earrings. Thanks for the reminder. Although I have pierced ears and don’t have any problems (except with nickel-based ones), sometimes I see some amazing retro clip earrings in antiques shops but pass them by. No reason I couldn’t do both!

  30. Kathleen
    July 30, 2019 / 6:04 pm

    I have pixie short hair, so I love big earrings. I also collect vintage 50s Taxco silver. It is has screw backs as opposed to clip. The clip type hurt my ear lobes.

  31. sarah ross
    July 30, 2019 / 6:29 pm

    I have developed a sensitivity to most metals except 24 k gold (my husband thinks this is no accident!) Seriously, I am saddened that so many of my old stand-byes inflame my lobes in a matter of hours. Anyone have a secret remedy??

    • Heidi L.
      August 1, 2019 / 2:14 pm

      I have heard of people with metal allergies painting the parts that would touch your skin with clear nail polish to seal it. don’t know if this would work for everyone or if you periodically have to re-do it.


  32. Susan
    July 30, 2019 / 8:48 pm

    I wear clip-ons everyday and have a great fear of losing them. As I have a nickel allergy, I use comfort clip-jackets with a foam side that rests against the lobe and sometimes use hydrocortisone cream if I get an irritation. Simon Seebag makes some great sterling clip-ons that are light-weight and bold. But since clip-ons have been so hard to find, I have wanted to convert drop and stud pierced earring to clips. I wonder if anyone has found adapters which do that.

    Also, a post script to my questions about finding good tailors of a year ago, Nordstrom’s has now discovered that it is good marketing to provide alteration services for garments not bought at their stores as well as for garments that are theirs. So I can now go back to Nordstrom’s as I had ten or more years ago for all of my alterations. I am happy again.

  33. Stephanie G Anderson
    July 31, 2019 / 12:24 am

    I am a rare woman who has NO piercings of any kind. When I was young, my mother was of the opinion that only Catholics and “gypsies” has pierced ears! My sisters got theirs pierced in high school, but I was always leery of getting keloids so never got my ears done. Consequently I have dozens of pairs of clip earrings, 90% of which are costume jewelry. When I was a young banker in NYC in the 1970s, I used to frequent Gale Grant’s store on Madison Avenue, which was an absolute treasure trove of costume jewelry. I don’t wear the gold designs much, but my favorite every day earrings are silver clips.

    • July 31, 2019 / 3:50 am

      I’m shocked about the prejudices against pierced earrings in some circles. Catholic majority here. And there simply are not many Roma/Romani (Gypsy) people in most parts of North America.

  34. Rondi
    July 31, 2019 / 1:17 am

    What a fun post! My mother did not want her daughters to get their ears pierced either! I never felt clip ons were comfortable. I don’t remember women from that era wearing clip ons for every day just special occasions. But with pierced ears I wear some type every day. I went to Merle Norman as a few readers mentioned when I was 21. I went back to Merle Norman at around age 40 and got a second piercing in each ear. I sometimes wear a small stud in the second hole but they usually start itching for some reason. I wear lots of different types of earrings from hoops and dangles to studs. Nothing heavy. Some costume ones and some good ones. My choice also depends on whether or not I am wearing my glasses. I go smaller on days I wear my glasses. Earrings are just plain fun and I feel naked without them! I have always worn short hair and I think earrings are a must.

  35. Claudia
    July 31, 2019 / 7:57 am

    Funny, all the comments about “Catholics and gypsies”. Those under 40 would never use such non-PC descriptions today!
    When I was a freshman at Catholic high school ( 1966) I was the odd girl ( Catholic and Italian, which in those days some thought were also “gypsies” ) who did NOT pierce her ears. People pierced their ears to be different. When everyone is doing it to be different, NOT doing it is being different. I always was a bit of a rebel….

  36. Louise
    July 31, 2019 / 10:51 am

    Not pierced ever and love clip-ons.I sometimes use the comfort foam clip jackets like Susan. You can get a tool (mine was off Amazon) to adjust the tightness of the clip. Might be worthwhile for those “pinchy” pairs.

  37. Marcia
    August 4, 2019 / 4:14 pm

    Not sure if this was mentioned, but Kendra Scott and several retailers sell a backing that does not weigh your earlobes down. They actually lift up your saggy earlobes. They are on the Kenya Scott website if you want to check them out.

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