Lately, we've been a little miffed. While we love leopard accents and ladylike satchels and hints of faux fur, there's been an annoying dearth of bauble-minded trends over the past few months. Sure, chunky chokers and bib necklaces were all the rage last year, but since then we've noticed nary a single jewelry must-have--until now! Yes, dear readers, just in time for the holidays, we have a new accessory necessity on our hands: cascading earrings. These shoulder-grazers have shimmied their way back into the limelight and are currently adorning the lovely lobes of some of our favorite tastemakers, like Kate Bosworth and Rachel Zoe. So what makes these baubles different from your chandelier earrings of yore? Well, these statement earrings are chock full of drama--often landing as low as the collarbone--which is why they're the ideal accent for wintery neutrals and party-perfect ensembles alike!
In order to shed more light on this trend, we'd like to take a moment to look at two designer collections that eschewed restraint and pulled out all the delectably decadent stops: Christian Dior and Etro. At the former, John Galliano created an elegantly equestrian vibe and sent models down the runway in enchanting lingerie-like dresses in romantic pastel hues, contrasted by tweed and leather blazers, jodhpurs, and coats. The wispy silk chiffon dresses, like the lovely princess-cut Marlett Dress ($20,000, 800.929.3467) featured today, were finished off with long, multi-strand Podium Pierced Earrings ($900, 800.929.3467) and fishtail braids, resulting in a modern, Jane Austen-worthy aesthetic. Yet delicate cascading earrings are not the only option when it comes to this jewelry trend, as evidenced at Etro's F/W 10 show where Veronica Etro produced a collection of looks for refined world-travelers via paisley or animal-print pants, colored furs, kimono gowns, and refined silky blazers. While just as impressive in length as Dior's versions, Etro's Ethnic Earrings ($1235, 212.317.9096)--which were used to accent an ensemble comprised of Silk Leopard Printed Pants ($1285, 212.317.9096), a Wool Sweater ($832, 212.317.9096) and Jacket ($2116, 212.317.9096)--have a more Cleopatra-inspired sensibility, proving the versatility of this must-have accessory.
Yet, drool-worthy runway shows aside, what really piqued our interest in cascading earrings is the number of standout stylesetters who are wearing them. For example, the recently cropped-coiffed Ashlee Simpson displayed her new pretty pixie-cut and some incredibly long vintage Chanel earrings at the Decades Denim Launch Party in Beverly Hills earlier last month. Her geometric ruby shoulder-grazers are absolutely mind-blowing and we love how she paired them with a vintage sequin Chanel dress for a high-impact, holiday ensemble. Apparently vintage Chanel is the way to go when it comes to selecting this ear-wear: Rachel Zoe also picked up an old-school pair for an event celebrating the artist at Doug Aitkin at the MOCA museum in Los Angeles this fall. She let the spotlight land on her fabulously festive earrings by wearing them with a chic, Audrey Hepburn-inspired updo. Of course, an updo is always a lovely way to display your dangly earrings as demonstrated by two top-tier members of the stylish set, Kate Bosworth and Leighton Meester. The latter achieved an understated and stylish look when she went with clean, sweptback hair and Fallon's Sound Bite Cable Tassel Earrings ($275) for a Vogue & Derek Lam Spring 2011 event at the designer's store in New York City, while the former opted for a more classical coif to attend the third season premiere of True Blood at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood earlier this year. Bosworth's Samantha Willis Midnight Nightingale Earrings ($360)--currently available in black--provided a flawless finish to her red-carpet look.
If you're ready to get festively accessorized for the holiday season yourself, we have a bevy of baubles for you to try! For those who are looking to create a cascading Dior-esque aesthetic we recommend Marlyn Schiff's Chain Drop Earrings, Nicole Romano's Tia Earrings ($324), or Forever 21's Dangling Heart & Chain Earrings ($4), all multi-strand iterations. Of course, as Leighton Meester demonstrated, Fenton/Fallon has a myriad of shoulder-grazing offerings--loaded with signature tough-girl edge--like their mismatched black and crystal Vieuphoria Weeping Earrings ($200). Looking for a couple of other favorites? Well, we happened to stumble across Sachin + Babi's Calista Earrings ($160) which are a whopping six-inches long and Miguel Ases' 3 Drop Earrings ($195) which are a little less daunting at three-and-a-half inches but just as worthy of your consideration. To add a dose of color to your ensemble try Copenhagen's Triple Drop Earrings ($175) or Kendra Scott's Ora Earrings ($100) in a lovely lemony hue. Finally, to infuse your outfit with a bit of the exotic à la Etro, reach for the Gaia Earrings ($275) from Dori Csengeri--whose entire range of mixed-media earrings are spot-on for nailing this look--or Noir Jewelry's Oversized Beaded Earrings ($132) which will surely graze your shoulders too!--Liza Kaplan
Photo of Christian Dior, courtesy of Christian Dior; photo of Etro, courtesy of Etro; photos of Kate Bosworth, Rachel Zoe, and Ashlee Simpson, courtesty of Getty Images; photo of Leighton Meester, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency.