Modern earrings into vintage

Drop earrings are seen in old photos, and you can still find them. I like wearing this style with Victorian and Edwardian styles. The Sherlock Holmes series and other period dramas are a good reference.

The Forties, Fifties and Sixties saw the rise and continued popularity of large earrings. This was revisited in the Eighties, which are seeing a revival for SS17.

Heavy earrings with hooks can leave unsightly stretched earlobes  visible. By modifying earrings to hide hooks, to look like clip-ons, will give a modern pair a vintage look.

You will need:

  • Earrings
  • Tweezers
  • Small/ fine ended pliers
  • Needle and matching thread or superglue & felt
  • Scissors

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1) If you cannot twist the hook around to sit it behind the earring design, follow this step. Alternatively, skip to step 5.

Remove the hook and link. These didn’t have links, so I just had to pry open the fastened end of the hook. You can use old tweezers, small pliers or if it’s soft metal, even your nails (beware chipping nail varnish!)

Loosen the spiral of wire, to push it up the hook, as if you’re going to slide it off. This reveals the fastened end.

2) Stick your nail in the gap where the wire is pressed together. The gap you create should be big enough to slide the hook off the earring. (I also removed the tassle in the same way.)

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Join hook lower on the earring

3) If the earring has something on the back you can loop the hook around, be sure you can lay the hook against the back ready to afix.

4) Close the loop end with the pliers. Push the spiral back over the join.

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Afix the hook to the back of the earring

5) Check the hook won’t show from the front. Using a needle and thread, sew the hook from top to bottom, to hold it in place.

If there is nothing to stitch through, but you have a solid surface on the back, flatten the lower part of the hook against the back and glue.

Cut a small square or circle of felt to glue over the glued part of the hook. You may need to use something to hold the hook up while the glue dries, like blue tack.

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Modified hook backed earrings

Is this useful? Are there other types of earrings you want to modify?

Changing earrings to clip-ons

Here, I’ll show you how to change a pair of pierced earrings into clip-ons. You might want to do this because you don’t have pierced ears, or, in this case, the earrings are too heavy to sit nicely with posts.

I couldn’t find the clip-on fixings in my local haberdashery or craft stores, so went online. I spent along time searching various craft sites, but for value and ease I bought a multi-pack from eBay. It has various sellers, so you can choose the colour and shape you like.

Most vintage earrings you will find are clip-ons, and sit covering the earlobe. At the moment, Art Deco designs and big Eighties earrings are on the high street. Some of these will have a design that covers the earlobe, but are for pierced ears. I find the weight stretches my ear and ruins the look. In this case, one of the posts broke from the weight! Clip-ons spread the weight, and keep the earring higher on the ear, giving a vintage look.

To change post earrings to clip-ons, you will need;

  • Earrings with a base of 1cm or more
  • Clip-on fixings/ notions
  • A fine edged sharp tool (use common sense and use responsibly)
  • Fine sandpaper or small sanding tool
  • Superglue
  • Cotton bud

1. Firstly, if the earrings have posts, they can usually be twisted or bent off, but the base fixing will need to be pried off using something sharp and thin enough to work between the metal and the earring base.

(This should only be done by a responsible adult with common sense – work the blade away from you and watch your fingers!)

I didn’t have any special tool, I improvised by looking in the kitchen drawer. I used a fish knife. This is slow and delicate work as you want to avoid scratching the earring.

If they have a hook fixing, a small pair of pliers will loosen the join and you can remove them from the loop. I’ll show how to do this in another post.

2. Once you have prized off the post base, use the soft sandpaper to smooth the earring base ready to fix the clip-on onto the earring. Use a fine/ soft sandpaper to avoid damaging the earring. Wipe the earring base clean and lay back facing up on a sheet of paper.

3. Open the clip-on and put a small blob of glue on the back of the clip base. Place centrally on the earring base and once in the right place, pressing firmly.

4. Use the cotton bud to wipe away any overspill of glue. Leave for 24 hours, or as instructed on the glue packaging.

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Art Deco style earrings

If you find wearing clip-ons all day makes your ears hurt, buy some rubber pads which can be pushed through the hole on the back of the clip.

Bladerunner

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Inspired by Rachael in Blade runner – Forties hairstyle

The stylist and costume department must have had a great time dressing the female characters in Bladerunner. I think I could live in this collective wardrobe, but would perhaps cause undue comment grocery shopping in a few of them. Iridescent scales for one.

The mix of 80’s futuristic sci-fi and Forties film noir is spot on and works so well. Forties and Eighties cross over a lot. Think big hairdos, shoulder pads, empowering tailoring for women and even the transparent coat!

Following are my favourite looks from the film, and what I have used from my wardrobe to emulate the most wearable and stylish outfits – those worn by replicant Rachael.

Rachael

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Rachael Blade runner

Rachael has a classic femme fatale Forties hairstyle and make-up, which echo the film noir style of filming this futuristic sci-fi story. Her make-up seems to change slightly through the film, but the basic features remain – strong eyebrows and cheekbones, smoky eyes, red lips, with red nails.

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Blade runner Rachael – hair and make-up
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Eye make-up detail

I found good tutorials for Forties hairstyles like Rachael’s in Vintage Hairstyles.

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The colour palette for Rachael’s wardrobe are muted shades of grey and blues and greens (just about visible on her blouse), that work well with the film noir lighting and photography.

The grey suit with horizontal stripes of tonal fabric is straight out of the Forties, even Marilyn Monroe owned one similar to this, before she was famous. The crossover detail on the neck is also a detail used on clothes in the Forties, as is the matching thin belt. The straight cut and just below the knee length skirts are Forties too.

Under this suit, Rachael has a long sleeved V-neck blouse with pintucks of various colours. This is seen when in Dekkard’s flat, sitting at the piano.

The black suit, in futuristic fabric with a sheen, has a high neck again. The collar looks like a shirt collar, with a diamond shape Art Deco style brooch centrally placed, instead of a bow or tie. At one point she has a clutch with an Art Deco pattern too.

And every femme fatale needs a fur coat.

Notice the heeled court shoes too, if you can. The pair with the grey suit have an interesting two-tone design.

On Pinterest I’ve saved more photo’s of Rachael’s outfits.

The grey suit above is from Vintage Guru. It is an Eighties does Forties skirt suit, with a high waisted pencil skirt and a collarless box jacket. The buttons at the back are a lovely detail and are actually used as the fastening. The buttons around the waist and hips needed moving slightly to give me room to move, and the skirt was shortened from ankle grazing up to below the knee.

These navy separates go well as a suit, with the skirt I made and the vintage heels echo the Art Deco detailing featured in Rachael’s outfits.

Here are some other outfits from my wardrobe, inspired by Rachael.

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Pris

The spray paint futuristic make-up is one I want to use for a party. Chokers are back in vogue,and something I wear anyway, but my stocking’s stay under my clothes. It looks like Pris is wearing a playsuit.

Zhora

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Zhora’s clear raincoat

This clear PVC swing coat is something I’m still looking for. I was surprised when researching this to find that clear plastic raincoats were fashionable as early as the Forties. The swing shape makes this unusual, as most available now are trench coats or hooded poncho’s.

I love the stand up mandarin style collar and the large oval top stitched pockets. The piping around the yoke and the small pockets on the chest are fairly traditional, but I like that the edges of the sleeves and hem are not outlined, but you can only see them when the light catches them.

Anyone out there able to make this? Get in touch, please!

Over-the-knee boots are finally back in fashion. Not that if they weren’t it would stop me wearing them, but to be fashionable means one is able to buy a pair easily. The spikes are less practical, and I like the thigh cuff, which reminds me of Princess Leah’s slave outfit, with the intricate metalwork.

See my posts about The Avengers and Mrs Peel for more on over-the-knee and thigh high boots.

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Zhora’s showgirl outfit

The show ‘outfit’  (I use the term very loosely) of iridescent scales or body gems looks amazing, and could be nodded to with a sequined flesh tone top or body, worn with more conventional skinnies or would even look good with a fluid silk skirt.

The gems would be great party make-up.