Earrings: the key part of any teacher wardrobe?

For Lauran Hampshire-Dell, earrings are the key part of any teacher attire. Whatever the weather, class you're teaching or mindset you're in, earrings are always on your side

Lauran Hampshire-Dell

Classic 1950s image of a woman wearing large earrings

In search of work outfits, I love to trawl eBay for vintage bag offerings and a power blazer or a flowy scarf. It brings me happiness. 

But these items are nothing in comparison to the absolute joy that earrings bring. A strong statement pair of earrings aren’t just the icing on the cake, they are the cake.

Our work uniform isn’t always the most glamorous because, at any given moment, it could be subjected to whiteboard markers, green marking ink, purple progress ink, glue sticks, vomit, spilled Pot Noodle sauce from your speedy lunch…the list goes on.

A pair of earrings, though, allow you a flash of personality with a very low chance of them being ruined.

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But their immunity to school accidents is not all. Earrings are amazing for motivating you on a grey November morning, and they don’t even need to be big to make an impact. 

A pair of gorgeous studs can turn heads and change your mood: having a day where your skin is bad because you’re mainlining caffeine? Some little pearls or diamantes will give you an instant Grace Kelly glow. Pretending to be excited about Friday night when secretly you’re just going to go home and order pizza? Some fun little pineapples or flamingos will spread the illusion you know where the party is at.

While they are blissfully independent of the British weather and its whims, you can also get incredibly seasonal: spring can see your ears decked in pastel-hued tiny feathers; in summer, you can work some mismatched geometric studs to introduce a Coachella vibe to your classroom; autumn is time to bring back all those metallic tones… but Christmas is where earrings come into their own. A different pair of festive earrings for each day of Advent? Count me in!

Lend me your ears

Still not convinced? Look back in time: Ancient Egyptian and Roman women adorned themselves in handcrafted golden jewellery, and earrings were a key part of any classical civilisation fashionista’s outfit (especially if you model yourself on Liz Taylor’s Cleopatra ­– those were some serious accessories). 

Vermeer thought them so important that he named an entire painting after a perfectly elegant pearl drop…and that’s now one of the most famous paintings in the world.

Skip ahead to the 1940s and you can see how Katharine Hepburn took the power studs and made them a feminist symbol of strength. Just a little later, Marilyn coated herself in sparkles and told us they’re our best friend. 

Even now, every Oscar season we are treated to celebrity ear lobes dripping in Tiffany and Harry Winston’s finest offerings. If a strong earring is good enough for some of the most amazing, strong women in history, then it’s good enough for us.

Aural adornments 

For thousands of years, women have worn earrings as a symbol of power and I’m no different. Often the bigger or more tassell-y they are, the more powerful I’m feeling (or at least want to pretend I feel). I will plan whole outfits around my signature pairs: my blazer, bag and watch will all be perfectly matched to my earrings.

I feel like they do all the work for me: I’m not worried about yet another black jumper/skirt/tights combo if I’m striding around with some bright pink and rose gold small drop earrings on. On one of those six lessons/after school meeting/parents evening days where I start to forget who I am, they help me retain just a little bit of myself.

They’re not just for women either: often, male ear piercings are associated with a misspent youth filled with listening to Iron Maiden, but young men today embrace ear jewellery as part of their own style too and I’m all for it. Compared to other forms of personal expression, something as small as a tragus or cartilage piercing is another subtle, inoffensive way of expressing your true, non-teacher self. With so many choices available, there’s no reason for us all not to indulge!

With a new term just around the corner, why not ignore the back-to-school stationery haul (you’ve probably got enough pens anyway) and go and treat yourself to a gorgeous set of ear adornments instead?

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Lauran Hampshire-Dell

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