Updos and Big Earrings

A low-effort way to mix up your holiday party look.
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A low-effort way to mix up your holiday party look.
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There's a corner of my closet dedicated to a few pieces I reach for every holiday season—glittery jackets, festive knits, and bold red dresses. Unfortunately, they don't work quite as well for other parts of the year, so I try to get as much use out of them as I can November through early January. As a result, I'm always looking for ways to make each piece look fresh—and not like it's the exact same dress I wore last Christmas Eve (which is sometimes the case). This season, I've been relying on bold earrings and updos. The hairstyle is a more formal way to embrace the festivity of the season and, paired with dramatic earrings, it's a customizable and affordable way to extend the life of an outfit. Here are some of my favorite bold earrings and updo combinations to inspire you to refresh your own closet:

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Earrings: Gold, feathered hoops
Updo: Low, messy chignon
Bold earrings are the easiest to style because it's your best way to wear simple pieces that don't compete with the earrings. If you have a black jumpsuit, cocktail dress, or blouse that you love but you've worn for years on end, bold earrings are an affordable way to completely change the look. Because the earrings are so out-there, you want to balance them with a simple, sleek hairstyle. I just pulled my hair into a low ponytail at the nape of my neck, then twisted the ponytail around the base and secured stray strands with bobby pins, resulting in a sort of messy chignon.

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Earrings: Dangly gold earrings
Updo: Twisted bun with braid
To create this updo, I took a one-inch portion of hair on the left side of my head, just above the ear and braided it back, then swooped the top portion of unbraided hair into a sort-of undone victory swoop, and pinned both the braid and swoop together at the center-back of my head. What remained was the whole bottom-half of my hair, which I twisted into a low bun underneath the braid-swoop intersection. The braids and slight messiness of the updo played into the punk-rock vibe of the dangly earrings. The obvious move here would be to wear a sleek dress and dark lip, but to avoid coming off like a caricature of a 1940's starlet, I offset the glam with a cozy sweater and neutral pink lip.

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Earrings: Floral Crystal Earrings
Updo: High messy bun
With a prim and proper earring like a jewel or oversized pearl, it's critical to have a messy updo to avoid looking old-fashioned, which I created here by pulling my hair into a haphazard bun and securing it with an elastic. For the outfit, I leaned into the glittery kitsch of the earrings with a sequined top. This wouldn't work for the other two pairs of earrings since they're dangly, but because this pair is moderate in size, it almost calms the jacket down—where a simple, black top would make the earrings seem gaudy.