During my 21 years on this planet, I’ve seen a lot of shit. And among that shit is a whole bunch of people wearing the wrong earrings for their straight-neck dresses. And boat-neck dresses. And sweetheart and V-neck and halter dresses.
Sorry to get aggro—I’m really passionate about my accessories. And I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about which jewelry pairs best with which silhouettes. I just want the wonderful people of planet Earth to enhance their outfits with the appropriate tools, rather than combine accessories in a way that could only be described as haphazard, confused or nonchalant (and not in a good way).
If you’re guilty of this egregious wardrobe miscalculation, don’t fret. I’m willing to leave the past behind as long as you are, too. (And let’s be real: We’ve all been there.)
In attempt to usher us all into the future (or at least, the present), I’ve crafted a guide that should help anyone navigate the intricate world of earring and neckline pairing. Complete with tips, tricks and shopping suggestions, this opus should leave us all with jewelry that perfectly complements every ensemble we’ll be wearing this season. Who knows? It might even inspire a few new looks in your fall fashion repertoire.
If you’re ready to learn but not quite ready to act, there’s a simple rule you can follow: Studs are your buds. In other words, stud earrings are your safest bet. They might not be the fashion statement of the century, but they pretty much go with everything.
But for those of you who are ready to make a change, let’s do this. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem—and I’m pretty sure pulling out your credit card is step two.
It's important to mirror the round-ish cut of a sweetheart neckline with the appropriate earrings, so you look mad cute on all your hayride adventures.
In other words: Stay away from straight-edge, geometric shapes, like triangles or squares. Instead, opt for pieces that won't create such stark contrast to your sweetheart.
The Stone dress, $349 at Free People
Sweetheart Necklines: Statement Studs
Sure, you could wear regular studs—but those are boring. Plus, these babies have rounded edges, as opposed to the 90-degree angles you'll find on a pair of classic, square-cut diamonds.
Small square studs, $38 at Kate Spade
Sweetheart Necklines: Statement Drop Earrings
These statement earrings perfectly complete the structured frame your sweetheart neckline creates by dropping down toward your shoulders.
Rianne drop earrings, $33 at Bauble Bar
Sweetheart Necklines: Earrings with Rounded Edges
Organic, round shapes (like the ones featured in this pair of earrings) perfectly complement your sweetheart neckline. Like I said: No sharp corners.
Leith sculpted drop earrings, $22 at Nordstrom
I love this neckline because it's understated enough to play nice with some fun accessories.
Big, bold statement earrings of any kind are perfect for spicing it up a little—but I don't recommend studs, unless you're trying to draw attention away from the area. They'll just disappear on a canvas of blank space.
Janelle dress, $340 at Free People
Straight Necks: Costume Jewelry
I'm obsessed with any and all playful costume jewelry, and these earrings are perfect for making a plain straight neckline just a little more exciting.
Fantasia drop earrings, $36 at Bauble Bar
Straight Necks: Statement Hoops
The unique shape of these hoops draws attention to your gorge jawline. Plus, they're a fun departure from the simplicity of the neckline.
Avani drop earrings, $26 at Bauble Bar
Straight Necks: Classic Hoops
The perfectly round shape offers a cool complement to your geometric neckline.
Samanda resin hoop earrings, $27 at Bauble Bar
Straight Necks: Tassels
Go big. That's the fun of wearing a simple neckline, after all.
Contessa tassel earrings, $29 at Bauble Bar
A super-classic neckline calls for attention-drawing baubles. Even if you're committed to your studs, opt for a pair that are a little bit unusual.
For some extra fun, choose a pair of earrings that drops well below your jawline. Those, combined with the straight neckline of your top, will frame your face perfectly.
Soft cotton boat neck, $68 at Everlane
Boat Necklines: Costumey Drop Earrings
Preppy earrings for a preppy neckline (plus a little bit of whimsy).
Life Is a Racket earrings, $34 at Melody Ehsani
Boat Necklines: Statement Shoulder Dusters
A) These are gorge. B) They're the perfect complement to a conservative, understated neckline. C) They're an amazing length for a high neckline, because they reach all the way down past your jaw.
Joan earrings, $53 at Nordstrom
New Friends Colony.
Boat Necklines: Tiny Drop Earrings
Fun colors and asymmetry bring some excitement to an otherwise classic look. So even if you're going for subtle, I highly recommend choosing these guys over a pair of plain, classic studs.
Asymmetrical drop stud earrings, $29 at Nordstrom
One of the most classic and flattering necklines around, a V-neck is pretty much universal.
Again, although studs wouldn't exactly clash with this neckline, they're definitely not my first choice for appropriately accessorizing this fit.
I recommend something a little bigger, since you'll have a lot of open chest space with this neckline. Balance, young grasshopper.
Sanna slip dress, $36 at Motel
V-Necks: Simple Hoops
It's definitely best to go chunky (as opposed to thin and wiry) when accessorizing a V-neck—especially one with thin straps. If you go too light up top, the whole look will seem disproportionate.
Cameron chunky hoop earrings, $18 at Urban Outfitters
V-Necks: Statement Studs
Not your average studs—in my opinion, a V-neck calls for earrings that move past the ends of your earlobes. They provide symmetry, geometry and balance. Plus, they create leading lines that draw the eye toward your neck.
Bidu fanned stud earrings, $54 at Soko
V-Necks: Tassel Shoulder Dusters
When you google those "leading lines" I just told you about, this is probably the picture that pops up.
Beaded tassel duster earrings, $8 at Forever 21
Who doesn't love a chunky, one-shoulder knit?
The best accessories for something this loud are definitely clean, contained earrings. You don't want any dangly things distracting from your already-busy neckline.
Off-her-shoulder cable sweater, $725 at Free People
Asymmetrical Necklines: Crawlers
These edgy crawlers keep it simple, so your neckline can take center stage. They're definitely not distracting, but when people notice them, it's like boom. (That was their mind exploding.)
Petunia ear climbers, $90 at Kendra Scott
Asymmetrical Necklines: Simple Studs
A pair of classic studs like these will ensure you're not overloading from the collarbone up. Plus, a little gold shine adds some interest to an otherwise-simple pair of earrings.
Gold bear earrings, $255 at TOUS
Halters are great for enhancing your, well, everything, because the shape is basically an arrow pointing toward your face.
A pair of chunky earrings will turn the space between your ears and chest into kind of an hourglass shape: wide on the two ends, and slimmer in the middle. Like I said before, balance is key.
Out from Under Rita bodysuit, $39 at Urban Outfitters
Out From Under.
Halters: Chunky Hoops
When you're wearing a halter, studs don't provide the balance that makes an aesthetic generally appealing. A pair of chunky hoops that won't lie entirely flat against your jaw help to create that hourglass appearance I told you about.
Tortoise statement hoop earrings, $18 at Urban Outfitters
A super-casual neckline calls for drop earrings to provide some excitement. Studs are too boring, and statements are generally too busy. But drops are just right.
Black T-shirt dress, $38 at Pretty Little Thing
Pretty Little Thing.
Crew Necks: Drop Hoops
Hoops provide some interest if you're looking for earrings on the bigger side. Instead of regular hoops, opt for drop hoops, so the shape faces front—this adds some excitement to the forward-facing part of your look.
Ring hoop earring, $26 at Bauble Bar
Crew Necks: Tiny Drop Earrings
Teeny-tiny drop earrings like these add a subtle sparkle to a casual neckline, and they don't drop down low enough to compete with whatever fabric you're wearing.
Mary coin earrings, $15 at Princess Polly
(Because it's fall. Duh.) Turtlenecks tend to look best with neat accessories, whether they're fitted or oversized. The neckline is already busy (especially if it's patterned), and no one wants cluttered accessories.
Dolly rainbow stripe cardigan, $277 at Paper London
A clean, edgy addition to your turtleneck ensemble. Specifically, one that doesn't distract from the structure of your neckline.
Permilia ear crawlers, $29 at Bauble Bar
Turtlenecks: Disc Earrings
Unique and beautiful, these flat discs draw the eye without causing clutter. (This is partially because they lay flat against your jaw, instead of facing front.)
Ettika disc earrings, $35 at Nordstrom
Turtlenecks: Simple Studs
A neat and tidy accessory that ties your whole look together without going over the top.
Gorjana Avery stud earrings, $35 at Bloomingdale's
This neckline is so trendy right now, and looks best with a pair of earrings that will draw attention to your jawline, neck and/or collarbones—because that's what it's meant to emphasize, anyway.
The Chills off-shoulder sweater, $31 at Tobi
Bardots: Classic Hoops
A pair of classic, thin hoops is a great complement to a Bardot neckline, because while they draw just enough attention to your bone structure, they aren't too bulky.
Inside out hoops, $110 at Nadri
Bardots: Shoulder Dusters
Shoulder dusters are a Bardot neckline's best friend. The length will frame your collarbones and jawline nicely against the straight cut of your top.
Bauble Bar Gabriele fringe earrings, $29 at Nordstrom
Collared shirts are pretty busy around the neck, so it's important to maintain a clean, stark contrast. We need structure, people!
Courier shirt, $65 at Madewell
Because crawlers don't dangle low enough to interfere with a collared neckline. Too many dangly things just get in the way.
Prive white pearl earrings, $2,940 at Jemma Wynne
Collars: Structured Hoops
Oblong hoops with some color and structure stand out against a collared shirt, especially if it's white.
Tabitha resin hoop earrings, $29 at Bauble Bar