The best accessories are like magic tricks: A little misdirection here, a silk scarf there, and one can present the illusion of being put-together. (Bad accessories are also like magic tricks: gimmicky and heavy-handed.) Plus, like most magical things, there’s often a catch. A stellar pair of sky-high heels, for example, will give you legs for days — and blisters. Perhaps worse are statement earrings: Bigger may be better, but it’s also heavier and decidedly more painful.
By that measure, jewelry designer Annie Costello Brown is truly a master. From her studio perched atop Los Angeles’s Mount Washington, she turns out oversize earrings in hand-cut geometric and puzzle-piece-like shapes that look comfortingly familiar in their abstractness, like an elementary-school art project your mom might dig out of the depths of your childhood home.
My favorites, the Matisse Chandelier ($179) and Arc Drop ($219), run three-and-a-half and four inches from lobe to shoulder, and come rendered in hammered gold and silver, or oxidized blue and black. These earrings are not subtle. They take up space. They look huge! And yet, that’s just one of their tricks: how light they are. Palm to palm, they weigh less than a matchbook, two quarters, or a handful of bobby pins. They’re so light that when people ask me how much they weigh, I simply take them off and hand them over. It has to be felt to be believed.
The real allure of these earrings, however, is the way they render other imperfections invisible. The right flash of light, and no one can see that your skin’s a little wan or the small soy-sauce stain on your shirt. They’re too distracted by the glint of gold (or silver or blue or black) aside your neck! I wear them almost daily, with ripped-up overalls, cocktail dresses, menswear-inspired trousers, jean shorts in the summer. (For extra outfit security, I add red lipstick.)
Perhaps best of all, they make this beautiful little tinkly sound every time I move, which makes me feel like I’m wearing my own personal pair of wind chimes. Sometimes, when I’m particularly unimpressed by my circumstances or surroundings, I just give my head a tiny wiggle. And with that, they offer one final flourish: the ability to tune out the thrum of everyday life.
Annie Costello Brown earrings, from $92, at anniecostellobrown.com