3/26/14

Risky Business

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There's one thing I buy fairly often from Express that I've avoided talking about on the blog so far: earrings. It's become the elephant in the room for me, and the main reason I've avoided it is that I find most of their earrings too heavy or too long for all day wear, so I can't really rave about them as much as other products.

But I seem to get sucked into buying them anyway because I like a certain style, and I've become pretty adept at modifying earrings (and necklaces) to meet my needs. The most recent "too long" pair to need some customization is this pair of Chevron and Chain Drop Earrings:


I saw these in store before I saw them online and I could tell they were going to be too long. I told myself to pass on them, but after Carylee got them I knew I was going to need them. So I picked them up on my next trip in store and went to work on making them work for me. I wanted them to fall just below my jawline (and they were originally almost brushing my shoulders), so I removed about three long links worth on each chain segment and then reattached them to the top. On the left is the stock photo of before, right side is my custom, shorter version after:


I never make my own jewelry and I avoid DIY anything at all costs, but if you can tweeze eyebrows you can adjust your jewelry. Obviously there's a risk that it won't turn out right, but most of the time even if you take something too short it's pretty easy to add back some links. I always save the pieces I take out...just in case!

Here are the tools I frequently use to modify my jewelry:


Two pair of (old) tweezers:  Sometimes it's easy to open and re-close the links just holding a set of tweezers in each hand and prying them apart:

Black tool - Wire Cutters (Similar via Amazon): Sometimes the links are too tiny to pry apart so I have to snip them with wire cutters. I don't like doing this because it means I'm making a permanent change and it's harder to repair if I go too short. But...sometimes I have to.

Red tool - Bent nose pliers: (Similar via Amazon):  I can't explain even when or why it's better to use these vs. tweezers, but I just know I reach for them sometimes and it's a good, cheap tool to have on hand for doing this sort of thing. If you're planning to try this at home they're nice to have.

Here are a couple of other examples of current earrings that I've adjusted to my preferences:

Draped Chain and Bead Post Drop Earrings: These were too heavy and too long for me. At the very bottom of the original pair (on the left) there were two chains segments. I removed one and it made them much more wearable. I am contemplating removing the second chain for more comfort, but haven't done it just yet because I like the current length.


Cut Out Disc Drop Earrings: These are from Forever 21, and I picked them up in store because they reminded me of this pair I liked from Express. The Forever 21 version was $4.80 vs. $22.90 at Express, and I guess my loyalty can be purchased for $18.10. At any rate, once again these were too long and too heavy. I originally removed the bottom circle only, but then they looked too small. So I removed the smaller circle, reattached the big circle to the top, and it was earring zen.


I've also shortened quite a few of my Express necklaces. Even though I really like the look of long chains and pendants, I find that they get caught on knobs and handles throughout my day, which drives me crazy. So I bust out the tweezers and wire cutters and have at it.

The Faceted Stone Necklace in gold is one that I recently altered. I really liked the look of the length before (on the left) and tried to make it work, but after it got caught on knobs three or four times the first day I wore it I knew it had to be adjusted or I would just end up breaking it anyway.


Outfit Pieces: Portofino Shirt  (Deep Teal & Glam Green) / White Jeans / Leopard Belt /  Necklace / Link Bracelet (on the left)

The Nested Bead Necklace was pretty much the same story as the Faceted Stone Necklace. You can see in the stock photo that originally the long chain was much longer than I have it now. And again, it's not really my preference in terms of the look, it's just a functional issue.

Nested Bead Necklace / Portofino Shirt (in Black) / Chevron Metal Stretch Bracelet

If you're freaked out by the thought of using tweezers and wire cutters on your jewelry, I put together a list of current Express pieces I  own and have not needed to modify at all. The earrings were lightweight and I didn't have any issues with the length of the necklaces, even the long ones.

Unmodified jewelry


Top: Sculpted Hoop Pendant Necklace / Chain and Bar Cord Necklace /Pavé Chevron Necklace
Bottom: Linked Mixed Metal Chevron Necklace / Mini Pavé Disc Drop Earrings / Faceted Teardrop Stone Pendant

I don't highly recommend my jewelry adjusting technique by any means. I really just wing it, and mostly it turns out okay. I would be more likely to say don't try this at home, but I don't even take my own advice on that, so I'll just say best of luck if you do!

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16 comments:

  1. Miss DIY! I would have never thought in a million years to do such things. Now, I have had my fair share at DIY; I've redone all my cabinets in my home, my fireplace, I've even changed the material on some chairs and made my own jewelry. But something as simple as what you have done...GENIUS!! You go girl!!

    ~Skye

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  2. You crack me up! Kudos to you for modifying these pieces to work for you rather than leaving them in the drawer un-used! I'm not sure I would trust myself to try customizing these...you're so brave! I think this gives us ideas and confidence that it can be done! Thanks for sharing!
    Kellie @ www.ie-style.com

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  3. Yay!!! I'm so glad you did this- thank you!
    And now I'm self conscious about the chevron earrings. Haha! Gotta try them on again and maybe experiment! You rock!
    Http://morepiecesofme.com

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  4. I feel the same way about earrings! I tend to just skip them (or just leave in little studs from Claires...) but these are some good ideas!

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  5. nice work! I wish I was crafty enough to adjust jewelry.
    ~Ellen
    www.everydayfancy.com

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  6. You are talented Gina! I would never be able to tell that you altered the earrings. They look great! I love jewelry and wish I could start my own line, but I'm not inclined to DIY things so it seems like a distant dream. Lately, I've been eyeing a ton of express jewelry! They have some great basics.

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  7. I find a lot of earrings to be too heavy to wear all day as well, so 99% of my earring collection (which isn't a lot) are studs. I'm glad you found a solution though! I hope you're having a good week dear.

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  8. Interesting! I've never thought about DIY'ing my jewelry to my own specifications before but this is pretty genius.

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  9. For some reason as much as I love Express I never ever look at their accessories. But I have tons of their jeans, skirts and top. Looking at your collection I need to keep an eye out for them. PS the sleeveless portofinos are EVERYTHING!!!

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  10. First the custom eternity scarf, now modifying jewelry - despite your protests - you're very craft-y LOL! I don't have the patience to adjust jewelry - it's too fiddly for me...any time a necklace breaks, I hand it over to hubby to rescue...he's even adjusted watchlinks for me using just a safety pin and a paperclip...my own McGyver :-)

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  11. Great post! I love how creative and crafty you are! It's so cool that you just took whatever you didn't like, and fix it up to your liking! That's awesome! xx

    <(`) Hoda || JooJoo Azad ~ Free Bird

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  12. You crafty babe! I love this idea- sometimes the earrings in stores are sooo cute, but really big/long/too much for the office. I could modify a few to make 'em a little more acceptable for day. :)

    -Ashley
    http://lestylorouge.com

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  13. I'm so impressed by your tweezing! I often find necklaces and earrings that are just a little too long, but didn't have a clue that they could be altered..I'm going to take (or not take) your advice and try it out! Also...guess what I saw on twitter today? A mysterious floating head that I'd never seen before. I was really glad bc I was kinda bummed that I would pass this head on the street and not know who it was. What if it works with me? What if I pass it everyday? One of life's little mysteries...solved!

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  14. Since I am short, I always have problems with jewelry pieces being too long/big on me. I usually try to stay away from them but you inspired me to make some minor adjustments next time. Great post as always, Gina. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  15. Good ideas!!! Also love that teal portofino on you!

    -Chelsey
    -http://chelseypatti.blogspot.com

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  16. Hi Gina.

    I love Express but I agree about the clearance bins. It cheapens the brand and it is hard to find what you are looking for. I much prefer the hanging racks. With that said, so much cute stuff on sale. I love the Striped Dress, Polka Dot Jegging, that Crystal Statement Necklace and especially the Lace Peplum Top.

    Hope you had a great weekend, Ada. =)

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