Clip art

Clip-ons make a statement.

We have a confession to make:  We never pierced our ears. But we love earrings — the bigger and bolder, the better. What to do?

Our solution has been to wear clip-ons. Yes, we know:  Like Rita Hayworth’s spirited spinster in “You Were Never Lovelier,” we’re old-fashioned. 

Face it:  Pierced ears are all the rage, with some cultures piercing a baby girl’s ears not long after she’s born. They are one with the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, although the ancients also used to loop earrings over the ears as well; one with Renaissance fashionistos — Shakespeare wore an earring; one with sailors who marked their rite of maritime passage (crossing the equator) with an earring. 

Pierced ears are so 1950s, when the trend re-emerged in the West, and yet fitting; hippie and hip; rocker and rocking. Still, they pose challenges — the possibility of infection, the inevitable droopy lobes with the passage of time, which can make even the most dazzling chandeliers less than perky.

And so the demure, ladylike clip-on, famed for being seductively removed, just one, when a woman answers the phone — so much so that it was a plot point in an episode of the syndicated series “Murder, She Wrote,” as author-sleuth Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) ferreted out the killer by the kind of earrings she wore.

Yet where to find good clip-ons? Fortunately, cultural organizations like The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store and luxe retailers still carry them. Among these is Mary Jane Denzer (MJD) in White Plains, but then the store’s stylish eponymous founder did not have pierced ears, notes Anastasia Cucinella, who now co-owns the store with Debra O’Shea. 

Who wears clip-ons? “People who want to make a big statement,” Cucinella says. And that’s because, you can add hardware when the whole lobe is supporting the earring as opposed to one delicate hole. Although O’Shea adds, “We are always careful when choosing clip-ons so that they are light and comfortable enough to wear for many hours. That’s an art.”

Clients of MJD are sure to make an artistic splash in Iradj Moini’s amethyst-citrine floral starbursts; Alexis Bittar’s sparely elegant Lucite creations; Angela Caputi’s colorful lacquered abstractions; Peracas’ organic designs; and Aurélie Bidermann’s leaves and butterflies.

Not far from MJD, Neiman Marcus Westchester has a substantial array of clip-ons, bolstered by its online inventory. Among its spectacular offerings are beaded and silk tassel delights from Oscar de la Renta, which come in a variety of colors and ombré effects; Ranjana Khan’s fruited creations, such as her Les Framboises raspberry drop earrings of glass, plastic beads and Swarovski crystals; and Jose & Maria Barrera’s coin creations, surrounded by glass pearls, red cabochons and turquoise.

Clip-ons have their issues, including tightness. You can loosen the tension by manipulating the nib, or center prong, on the back with a key-shaped tool like Clip Ease. And take care when wearing metals like nickel in the sun as their interaction can produce an ear eczema. 

With prudent selection, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t wear your clip-ons in stylish comfort — though we still like to slip one off with a toss of the head when we answer the phone. You know, for effect.

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