Many of us are obsessive about earrings: they are one of current life’s great talking points

‘Earrings are all about fashion and chat.’
Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

I can’t function if I’m not fray earrings. This sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not, and while I don’t include a scientific explanation I swear it is the case. The way I feel about earrings is the way some handmaidens feel about lipstick. One morning at the last Paris model week, I was up early to write so I left my earrings (brass, vast) to one side, intending to put them on just before I set off for the first accord. And then, of course, I was in a rush and ran out of the room, and was halfway to the Chloé pretentiousness before I realised I was bare-lobed and when I did, I felt my blood run faint. I sat tugging my hair down over cheeks to hide that I wasn’t use earrings. Which sounds pretty bizarre, now I write it down.

So I am both the with greatest satisfaction and the worst person to tell you about earrings. The best because there is not a lot I haven’t studied; the worst because I probably overthink them. Still, I am once not alone in earring obsession. They are one of modern life’s famed talking points. When you tell a woman that you kidney her dress or her hair – especially in front of other people – she is probable to get flustered and bat the compliment awkwardly away. But an earring compliment is welcoming, rather than either intimate or fawning, and therefore easier to show in in a gracious fashion. Also, it marks out the person asking as someone wide awake, who notices the detail, not just the dress. Plus, she probably procure her earrings somewhere that she wants to tell you about, whether it’s the right on market stall by the harbour on a Greek island last year (to create you jealous) or Tu by Sainsbury’s. It’s all good.

Jewellery is often about thought or status, but earrings right now are all about style and chat. In frame a “conversational” print, on a blouse or a dress, is one with recognisable factors – a watermelon, a flamingo – and conversational earrings are the same. (My current favourites are ceramic lemons I bought in Sicily and cacti from Candour at Topshop.) Abstract ones, which hang like hardly Mirós, are a little more aloof, less chatty: a unique vibe. Of course, you don’t need to stick to one style at a time. A inconsistent pair adds extra fashion content, like clothing lace socks with sandals or tying a silk scarf to your handbag, but commiserative with can have plenty of impact if the scale is right. By which I scruffy, if your earrings are big enough. Right now, the rule with earrings is go big, or go haven. Literally, that is: if you haven’t got big earrings on, go home and get some.

Jess creep bies earrings, £19, Dress, £42, Leopard on ones uppers, £120,

Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Claire Ray at Carol Hayes Running