Capsule Wardrobe Volume 1: A Day Is Always Better When It Involves Sparkly Earrings

It’s no secret that I like to keep things as streamlined and minimal as possible. A few weeks ago I showed the sum total of what hangs in my closet and it was…not many items. Several readers asked about my process for eliminating clothes clutter and I thought I’d start with accessories because, quite honestly, I didn’t feel like drafting a post about clothing.

And, more broadly, I think my minimalistic approach to jewelry shares many parallels to how I approach clothing, too.

Growing up the daughter of a Baptist pastor I learned at an early age that the truest of beauty lies within, not without. It was what we believed and how we lived. My mother, for example, has never had her ears pierced, dyed her hair, or worn makeup and seems extremely contented with these decisions. (She does, however, have two enormous closets overflowing with clothes and several large jewelry boxes, which serve as a sort of counterbalance to any perceived asceticism.)

I spend lots of days (okay, most days) with an au natural face and I’ve only dyed my hair a handful of times (all horrible experiences that eventually left me with ombre hair long before ombre hair was an acceptable and sought-after hairstyle).

But I almost always put on earrings and it makes me feel happy every single time.

I have a small collection of earrings that I wear regularly.

And then I have a slightly bigger secondary collection that includes earrings I only wear occasionally and/or to which I have a deep sentimental attachment.

While I wear earrings 95 days out of 100, I do not leave them in. Ever. I can count on one hand the number of times I have slept with earrings over the last decade. I usually take them out when I nap, too. And always, always, always when I shower.

Aside from the discomfort of sleeping in earrings, I also really enjoy the experience of selecting my daily pair. It’s a comforting ritual that helps jump-start my day, much like a first cup of coffee.

I store my earrings in two small containers; the hand-carved wooden box I received as a teenager from someone who had visited Russia, the blue heart came from John via my mother-in-law (I think?!).

The heart contains my everyday earrings. These are almost all studs, my favourite type of earrings to wear.

Chances are if you were to bump into me on the street, I’d be wearing one of the pairs pictured below (most of which came from John; he does a great job picking out earrings to suit my style).

As for my “secondary” earrings, almost every pair has a story.

For example, in the top row of the picture below, the sets of dangling pearls were from Etsy for $.99/pair. I bought them years and years ago, and it felt like a huge deal to buy earrings online! Just to the left are the dangling silver baubles Abby picked out; she is elated whenever she sees me wearing them. They look like a collection of little disco balls and are very fun and whimsical.

The pair on the bottom left of the middle row? John got me those for my birthday and I promptly dropped one down the bathroom sink when I was getting ready one morning; the handyman at our apartment complex kindly came to rescue it for me.

The pearl studs in the middle were gifted to me by John on the day I graduated from university to replace a pair I lost…down the drain of a shower. (Hence why I don’t wear earrings in the shower – or when I’m swimming.)

The black shimmery pair on the far right of that row came from Dot (for anyone new to this blog, Dot was a very feisty 80-year-old lady I boarded with in university) from one of her annual winter trips to Jamaica.

But my favourite pair is a tiny set of Eiffel Towers, pictured in the bottom left corner. Abby discovered them at a seaside store here in Nova Scotia (#random) and bought them – in secret – days before John and I left for a trip to Paris. I was absolutely gobsmacked when she handed these over to me. So if you’ve ever wondered about my sidebar photo, the whole point of that shot was to showcase my Eiffel Tower earrings in front of the real Eiffel Tower so I could send the picture home to my 8-year-old who spent her hard-earned money to buy me this set of earrings – she’s a keeper!).

And that…is all the earrings I own/wear.

When I have a pair of earrings I no longer want to keep (e.g. I’m not going to wear them or they’re not deeply sentimental) then they don’t stay in my house. I either pass them on to someone or take them to a local consignment store that collects, sterilizes and sells earrings (4 of the sets pictured above come from this consignment store).

And if you’re wondering about other accessories, there aren’t any. I own one necklace and, aside from my wedding and engagements bands, don’t own a single ring (and got rid of all my scarves because I just wasn’t wearing them).

While daily use of earrings is pretty much a “must” for me, makeup is far more hit-and-miss. I’d categorize my makeup stash as being of the “blink and you’ll miss it” variety.

I do not own a single face cream – that little container with the black lid was an individual serving of honey from an airport lounge that is now filled with coconut oil. This is the only thing I use to remove makeup, along with special microfibre cloths, and it is my only moisturizer.

Another fun fact – I haven’t owned blush in years. Before my wedding, I set out to buy lipstick (which I never, ever wear); the woman at the Clinique counter told me that the best way to match my lipstick and blush tones for the big day was to use lipstick on my cheeks in place of blush. I did and haven’t looked back.

Here is the totality of my makeup collection:

  • Mascara (I wear this 2-3x/week).
  • Eyebrow pencil (4-5x/week)
  • Foundation/concealer stick (4-5x/week)
  • Lipstick-blush (4-5x/week)
  • Nivea lip balm (3-4x/week)

I think this qualifies as minimal? No eyeshadow. No bronzer. No under-eye brighteners or creams. No palates. No toners or BB/CC creams or liquid foundations. No brushes or Beautyblenders.

I do own one tube of eyeliner which I keep to use on the kids’ cheeks at Halloween (typically for freckles including, in recent years, for a “lion,” “Prairie girl” and “chef”).

And that’s a wrap on my accessories and makeup.

I’ll be back with a roundup of what’s hanging in my closet another day, but now it’s your turn to spill the beans – do you love your sleeper hoops and put on a full face of makeup every morning?

Header photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

22 thoughts on “Capsule Wardrobe Volume 1: A Day Is Always Better When It Involves Sparkly Earrings”

  1. Your earring collection is lovely, I enjoyed all the stories, memories, connections. It sounds like you need a mirror that is not over a sink to put your earrings in! I am glad to hear you managed to get back one that had fallen down into the pipework.

    I wear my earrings all the time, I never take them out unless I am doing something where I cannot wear them (cannot remember when I last had to do this but possibly something to do with being in hospital?) I have three sets of thin gold hoops in each ear. I am not able to wear any jewellery with nickel in so gold is about all I can wear so other than what is in my ears I do not have any others. I also do not have a single item of make up either, I wash my face with soap and water and don’t use any moisturiser or even have a lip balm. I had a really prolonged and horrible bout of hives about ten years ago and became so incredibly sensitive to anything being near my skin. I was not able to use any of the bought products I had in the house so I passed them all on to other people. It has all gone now, thankfully but I still only buy bars of soap now and everything else I make from scratch using ingredients from my kitchen. I keep meaning to make a lip balm but one of the reasons that I haven’t is I so very rarely need to use it, I used to a lot but when I couldn’t I managed without and now I just don’t need it. My lips only get dry if I spend a lot of time in outside in very sunny weather or, and this happens more often, I don’t drink enough.

    1. The irony is I STILL put my earrings on over a sink every day. You’d think I’d learn? Though, to be fair, I’ve never lost another earring down the sink (or the shower drain).

      My ears used to be very, very sensitive, but I think that since I’ve gotten rid of a lot of excess pairs of earrings, the ones I have left all work well for my ears. Also, since I take them out each night, my ears don’t have time to irritate me as much?

  2. This is so funny, I wrote all about clothes and, later this week, I’m writing about accessories, and I can tell you that we are opposites! I wear all sorts of jewelry and a face full of makeup every single day. I love that you love your earrings – I have that EXACT same pair of hoops! Right now I’m wearing my sleeper hoops, I had temporarily lost one of them and was so sad.

    I love reading about other people’s beauty regimens, we are all so different and what works with one person might not work for another. Love it! Also, those little boxes are gorgeous.

    1. I think jewelry and makeup can be such a fun form of expression and I love seeing people wearing jewelry that makes them happy! When I was younger I really enjoyed coordinating necklaces with my outfits and wore them regularly; also, I had a phase where I wore scarves a lot. I feel like maybe this stopped when I started having kids and they were hazards around my neck? I just never got back into it.
      Picking earrings as my “thing” feels liberating and elevates them as my go-to jewelry and accessory.
      Can’t wait to read about your accessories!

  3. Aha! The sidebar picture is explained! It’s funny how everyone has their thing- you’re not so into clothes and makeup but you love your earrings. I have to say I’m kind of like your mom- I never wear makeup and I’ve never had my ears pierced. I wear the same thing to work every day (I’m a massage therapist) so I don’t really think about clothes much. There was a time where I liked necklaces and bracelets, but I’ve gotten out of the habit of wearing them. I should get back into it though- it’s kind of fun to add something a little extra.
    Even though I don’t wear earrings myself, I love your collection. My daughter got her ears pierced a couple years ago and it’s been fun to find earrings for her. I’m looking forward to your closet post!

    1. I think uniforms are great (which you kinda have). I went to a private school for a while when I was a kid, and it was so, so easy to decide what to wear because it was the same thing every day.
      I do think because I don’t have very many clothes I feel like I almost have a uniform? I wear one of a handful of shirts about 90% of the time, and I have 2 pair of black pants that are the EXACT same fit + one pair of blue jeans. Everything else is exercise/comfy wear. It’s pretty boring, but I’m fine with that. And earrings are my “thing.”

      I forgot to mention braclets. Not surprisingly, I don’t own a single bracelet either. Haha!

  4. When I wear earrings I take them out at night. Always. However I don’t wear earring often, thanks to the pandemic. I never put on a full face of make-up, only tinted sunblock, but add some eyebrows and lip gloss to my pale face. Which brings me to asking you: what brand of eyebrow pencil is that? I’m always on the lookout for one that is Blonde.

    1. Mine is just a pharmacy brand (Essence from Shoppers here in Canada). It is $3.49 a tube and about as basic as it comes. But you’re 100% right – it is tough to find “blonde.”

      Oh I’m terrible about wearing sunscreen. Where we live it’s only a few months in the summer where we get much intense sunlight…but I really need to wear it a lot more than I do. A tinted sunblock sounds like it might be a good compromise…

  5. I have a pair of diamond studs that I wear pretty much exclusively. They are nice quality, real diamonds, yet small, so they are not overwhelming at all. I have some issues with my earlobes currently that kind of has ruined my earring wearing game (which was never very strong in the first place). But over the years, my earring holes have stretched out, so they are more like “slits” instead of little holes. It sucks. I literally cannot wear hoops anymore, but most studs are okay, as long as use the bigger round backs. If I wear little tiny earrings with the tiny backs, they start almost going through my ear hole! (sorry, that sounds gross. It kind of is! A little enough earring could probably slide all the way through!) I believe this is genetic, because my mom has had issues with this too. It’s like my earlobes are extra small and just don’t have much “meat” on them – the tissue seems extra friable. What I really need to do now is go to a plastic surgeon to have my earring holes sewn up/closed- and then have my ears re-pierced. But that sounds….unpleasant. So I haven’t exactly been jumping at the chance to make that happen. HA! I’ve just been dealing with it and stick with earrings that I know work. I don’t have great space for jewelry storage in my room either, so much of my jewelry is in an under the bed box. It’s not super convenient to get it out, so that’s another reason I tend to just wear the same necklace and same earrings almost every single day. (And I typically leave the simple silver necklace on all the time for weeks at a time 24/7.)

    1. That’s so frustrating about your pierced holes; I know other people this has happened to (and know of at least one person who did have surgery to correct the problem).
      I think it’s great to have a go-to and diamond studs will go with ANYTHING. My clothes are all pretty similar and I wear the same things on repeat over and over again, so my earrings are about the most “exciting” part of my wardrobe.

  6. I’m also an earrings girl! I have a nice collection of dangling ones – but I am ALSO a knitted shawl girl and these two things do not always go together. I have attached my ear to my scarf many, many times. Also since working from home started I’ve pretty much been wearing the same hoops everyday, since they are most comfortable with my headset on. Getting more use out of my accessories is probably one of the things I’m looking forward to the most as things start to open up again.

    1. Yes! Now that you mention this, maybe that was a big reason why I gave up scarf-wearing? Snagging an earring is terrible though, since I mostly wear studs, it’s not usually a big problem.
      Comfort first, for sure! I think I lean toward changing out my earrings because I dress so simply, that the earrings make me feel like I can make the same outfit slightly unique from day-to-day? Maybe that’s just wishful thinking!

  7. I have a lot more earrings than that and my necklace collection would horrify you. But I actually regularly forget to wear earrings, so it’s basically all for naught. I have two holes in each ear and my cartilage pierced in my right ear and right now only the second holes have earrings in them. I’m just too lazy for earrings. It’s a wonder I ever made it through the healing stage.

    In general, my wardrobe is quite small, but my accessories are out of control. I have dozens of scarves and refuse to get rid of any of them. Someone will have to go through them when I die. One of my friend’s mother died and my friend gave me a few of her scarves and I wear them all the time*, so I will DEMAND some friend of a friend wear these scarves when I die.

    *I asked my friend once when I saw her and I was wearing one of these scarves if it was weird for her to see someone who was not her mom wearing it and she said it made her happy. Who am I to deny her happiness? Plus, her mom had excellent taste in scarves.

    1. I can assure you a glimpse into your necklace collection would NOT horrify me.
      It sounds lovely that you have been able to showcase your friend’s mother’s scarves. Sounds like a win-win; nice scarves for you and a happiness boost for your friend. It’s such a satisfying feeling when something can be “re-homed” to someone else who will appreciate the item!

  8. I love how you have a story for every pair of earrings. I think that is indeed a part of having a minimal collection – each piece is not only a fashion statement, but a memory.
    I am not a jewelry person – I don’t even wear my wedding ring anymore because it aggravates my eczema. (The dermatologist told me that I should switch to a platinum band, but I didn’t really see that happening… He also told me that I should stop washing dishes by hand. hah!) And my ears aren’t pierced either. I have one string of pearls that someone gave me as an opening night present one time because they said I needed something and pearls would go with everything. And it does.
    But… I do have a weakness for scarves and hats. Hats, especially are my favorite accessory – I find them so fun, and shouldn’t accessories be fun?
    That Nivea lip balm is one of my favorites, but it is hard to find where I am. Whenever I happen to see it in stores, I buy five tubes so I can stock up. Love that your kids get more use out of eyeliner than you do! I think the last time I bought make-up was for my daughter’s dance recital, four years ago. But I feel like one of the benefits of working backstage in the dark is that I don’t feel like I need to put on make-up every day. Or at all. Sometimes for opening night, though.

    1. What a great point, Diane! Maybe that is one of the reasons I’m so drawn to only having my absolute favourites? That way each piece really can feel special since it has its own “story.” I consider myself to be deeply sentimental and yet a few friends have made (nice, not mean!) comments about how I must not be very sentimental because I don’t keep many things. But I think maybe, for me, the exact opposite is at work here. BECAUSE I’m so sentimental, I prefer to only be surrounded by things that I really like and have a personal story to connect with…?
      You’ve reminded me – I do have a second necklace, which happens to be a set of (faux) pearls that I wore on my wedding day. I had completely forgotten about this necklace – I just never, never wear it! But I guess that one is sentimental since I wore it to my wedding.
      Now you’ve got me worried the Nivea lip balm will become hard to find here. There are always huge stashes of it at the pharmacy, but I haven’t bought any in ages because I had a stockpile. I’ll make a note to check the next time I’m at the store!

  9. I am so not an accessory person! I very very very rarely wear earrings, but I have sensitives ears – so many earrings I’ve worn bother my ear holes. So I will wear earrings for special occasions, sometimes, but I am always desperate to get the earrings out of my ears at the end of the night! I much prefer necklaces and have a small collection of them but it’s still rare for me to wear them.

    I have barely worn make-up during the pandemic. I’ve put it on maybe 5 times, if that? Maybe 3? Pre-pandemic, I did not wear much make-up, though. I was recently thinking about how little make-up I can get away with wearing at work. My issue is that I have terrible dark circles under my eyes so I benefit from foundation, but I’m not keen to go back to wearing foundations because even though I use a very clean/light foundation, I used to get blemishes quite often and now I very rarely do. So it will be trial and error for me when I return to the office in 2 weeks. At a minimum, I will wear mascara and probably some eye liner, and maybe a little blush? I’m not a lipstick person either!

    1. It’s odd – I used to have so much trouble with sensitive ears (like they would hurt and even start to get infected and I’d had a hard time/it would hurt to get earrings through my piercing holes) but in the last 5 years that has stopped happening. I have no idea if my ears are less sensitive (that seems weird), or that I’ve ended up with the right coating on my earrings?

  10. Fascinating! I’ve never gotten my ears pierced (save for piercing of my right auricle which I got out of “rebellion” when I was maybe 22 LOL I’ve been wearing a “star-stud”, which I also NEVER take off).

    The Eiffel Tower earrings are so special, especially because Abby bought them before your trip. How thoughtful!

    I do have a little bit more makeup than you do, although I’d think myself minimalistic in that department. I do try to not buy random stuff, only to replace something.

    1. I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was almost 20, but I absolutely love having pierced ears. Maybe because I’m so minimal in other ways?
      A lot of people I know (across a broad age spectrum), though, don’t have pierced ears which I just can’t imagine!

  11. I am very boring. I wear the same pair of white gold studs every day. I do take them out – why on earth would you sleep in them?!?!? – and I have purchased a pair of small white gold hoops to wear. I just have not gotten up the courage to do so. šŸ™‚
    No rings here, either. And usually one silver necklace that I rotate periodically.
    Like I said, boring.
    I LOVE that Abby got you those earrings! Your kids are so thoughtful and caring, even if they do sometimes drive you bonkers. šŸ˜‰
    And I second the recommendation to step away from the drains. They are not your friend!

    1. I know – I can’t bear the thought of sleeping earrings (I think I actually like the process of taking them out as it helps signal it’s bedtime).
      I LOVE white gold, but don’t own any white gold earrings, ironically enough.
      The kids really can be the most thoughtful little creatures; those earrings are definitely one of my most prized possessions. I cannot stress enough how RANDOM it was for her to find these in a tiny little seaside store in the middle of nowhere in NS.
      I never, never, never wear earrings in water anymore, so I’m no longer terrified of drains šŸ™‚

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