I used to hate wearing jewelry. Actually, I still kind of do. It wasn't so much a matter of disliking it aesthetically, but when I did attempt to wear it (especially necklaces and bracelets) I would usually give up and take it off partway through the day, tucking it in my pocket in defeat. It just felt so cumbersome and uncomfortable, and I was constantly aware of it. If I did make it all day or through a special event, it would always feel so freeing when I finally removed the pieces. Like that long awaited moment of peeling off pantyhose or tights, or slipping out of high heels (yeah, still can't do those).
Earrings were the least of the offenders for me because I couldn't see them and be constantly reminded (you know, since they were on my ears and all). For a few years in my early 20s, I simply wore these little tourmaline crystal rods in my ear piercings, which I thought were actually pretty cool. I wore them day and night but eventually took them out because they were a couple millimeters thick and I didn't want my piercings to become permanently stretched out (THANK YOU FOR THIS FORESIGHT 20-SOMETHING AMY). At that point, I had started working at a garden center, where jeans/shorts and a t-shirt were my daily ensemble. Wearing jewelry that would potentially get caught on things/dirty/lost was not high on my list of priorities.
Enter ear climbers. I was still working at the greenhouse, but I had been making and selling earrings on the side. One of my co-workers asked if I could make her a replacement for an earring she had lost. She said it kind of went up the earlobe. I was intrigued, and did my best to make her a replacement. I also made myself a pair. And then another in a different shape. And then another that was beaded. I started wearing them to work, and to my amazement I truly was not bothered by them! I could completely forget I was wearing them! They didn't hang down and get caught in my hair when I was outside watering on a windy day, or get snagged on my collar when I was straining to carry 4 large pots of mums at a time. Plus, I just loved that they were so different than typical studs, but still subtle and understated. I had one of those thrilling feelings of discovering something new that just adds a little extra happiness to your life. Yes, I'm talking about earrings. But as the saying goes, it's the little things, and these little things were giving me lots of joy.
I made some more climbers for other coworkers, and also added them to the other earrings that I was selling. Once I started my online shop they took off right away, as did my other small, low profile earrings. It turns out a greater population than I realized has the same love-hate relationship with jewelry!
Although it seems contrary that a jewelry designer would actually dislike wearing jewelry, I feel that it's given me a better perspective and sense of what people actually feel good wearing. And if we're being honest here, it's one of the reasons 99% of my products are earrings. It's because that's what I like to wear. I have ring, bracelet and necklace ideas floating around in my head (as well as some prototypes on my workbench), but I still find earrings easiest and most comfortable to wear. One of my current goals (and a big reason for this blog entry…public accountability and all that) is to really push myself to test out some non-earring designs that even a jewelry-phobic person like myself can comfortably wear. I have pretty high standards as far as wearability is concerned, so I'm excited to put myself up the challenge and see what happens. I'm looking forward to coming up with some pieces that will make wearing jewelry a joy and a pleasure, which is really what it should be.
I would love to hear from others who have this love-hate relationship with jewelry. What drives you nuts about jewelry? What ultimately makes a piece wearable to you? And lastly, if you have any tips on learning to enjoy wearing heels, I'm all ears.