For as long as I can remember, I have worn practically the same jewelry every day. Of course, I've switched things up once in a blue moon, but usually only on special occasions. Old habits die hard, but one variable in the equation has recently changed: my earrings. In fact, they have become the independent variable; the rest of my outfit usually depends on what I choose to poke in my piercings each morning.

Similar to my outlook on t-shirts, I enjoy wearing earrings that both make me confident and lead others to do a double-take. I love earrings of all shapes, sizes and degrees of gaudiness. I think they are the perfect accessory for people like myself who enjoy fashion but do not have heaps to spend on designer accessories. There are so many different kinds of earrings and all of them are worthy of love and appreciation.

Hoops are a must-have. It may be a bit overkill, but my collection feels incomplete without the iconic and timeless circular earrings in every size, shape and thickness. Delicate earrings are perfect for dressier occasions or days when I do not feel like making a large statement or carrying extra weight on my ears. I find that the best way to procure earrings like these is through thrifting and small businesses. The square-shaped pressed flower earrings, for example, were a recent purchase from Depop user @7earrings, an artist I originally found on TikTok!

Funky, not-so-delicate silver earrings — like those pictured above — were my gateway to a new realm of earwear. They were the start of my love of bold earrings, marking my transition from small studs, hoops and dangle earrings to statement jewelry. I dipped my toes in with earrings like these before I started wearing more eccentric and colorful pairs.

Including an entire photograph dedicated to fruit earrings should be telling of how I feel about them. (In fact, I have cherries and grapes on the way at this very moment.) I cannot fathom why someone would not want fake fruits hanging from their lobes; they are the perfect summer accessory! They are also the quintessential earring of the resurgence in popularity of Claire’s-style earrings that has occurred in the past year or so. The other earrings pictured above are polymer clay earrings I purchased from Friends Who Earring, which is run by two amazing Northwestern students. (Read more about them here!) Discovering their earrings during Fall Quarter further fueled the fire of my earring addiction.

Like my clay earrings, the bottle caps, purchased from the amazing @bcearrings, escalated my love of earwear. However, the miniature wine bottles and beer cans signify that I have arrived at my favorite kind of earring: the random object earring. (Disclaimer: My intent in wearing these is not to glamorize drinking — I just think they’re pretty.)

In case you do not run in the same social media circles that I do, you may not be aware of the ongoing joke that lesbians will buy anything if you make it into earrings. I am forever thankful for the growth of this joke, as shopping websites and apps, particularly Depop, are now chock-full of everything you could possibly think of in the form of earrings. Not only is this trend adorable, but it is also a great way to upcycle.

The earrings pictured above are some of my favorites. Once, I was even so lucky as to receive a compliment from a doctor at Searle health center while wearing the dangling baby ones (though it may have just been because they were hard to miss while she was examining my ears). They perfectly encapsulate my firm belief that anything can and should be made into an earring. I don’t advise sporting a dinosaur or creeper on your ears at your next formal occasion, but they are the perfect accessory for everyday wear! (That being said, mad respect to anyone who wears Minecraft jewelry to black-tie events.)

Recently, I have even started making my own earrings. Both the Shrek and Superbad-inspired McLovin earrings were made by yours truly. I made the Shrek ones with some of my friends the night before leaving campus for the last time, and it was heaps of fun! (Oh, what I would give to feel my earrings dangle in the wind on a walk along the lakefill right now.) I highly recommend adding this to your quarantine craft list.

My love affair with earrings, which began with tiny flower studs in my local Claire’s at the ripe age of 11, has escalated to an obsession this past year; I can’t stop amassing them. Like a cup of coffee, they never seem that expensive at the time of purchase, but dang flabbit do they add up over time. I have no regrets, however, as we are currently witnessing a renaissance of the earring and it shows no signs of winding down any time soon.