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Stars don't sacrifice fashion

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One of Serena Williams' $40,000 dangly designer earrings fell off during a first-round match at the U.S. Open in August.

Her sister, Venus, bagged her long earrings late in her run to the Wimbledon title in June sporting bare lobes in the semifinals and finals. The reason, she admitted in a post-match interview, was the earrings got caught in her towel when she mopped her face during breaks.

Despite a dropped or a caught earring here or there, big, long and often elaborate earrings have become notable fashion accessories on the court and on the golf course among young female tennis players and golfers.

Sixteen-year-old Michelle Wie, who turned pro last week, is among those young golfers favoring the-bigger-the-better look in earrings. Others in the dangly earring set are rising star Paula Creamer, 19, the LPGA rookie of the year, and Natalie Gulbis, 22, both of whom, along with Wie, are playing in the Samsung World Championship beginning Thursday in Palm Desert, Calif.

"You think of big chandelier earrings for wearing on the red carpet or to black-tie dinners and now these athletes are wearing them on courts and courses as they should," says Suze Yalof Schwartz, Glamour magazine fashion editor at large. "This is their moment to shine."

Creamer, a self-described shopaholic, admits she checks out numerous stores to find just the right earrings to wear. And during a tournament, she doesn't like to wear the same pair twice. Most important, she notes, are earrings that match her outfits which often are pink, her favorite color.

Questioned if large earrings bother her when she plays, Creamer, winner of two tournaments this year, e-mailed: "No, I like bigger earrings. They stand out more."

During last month's Solheim Cup in which the USA beat the Europeans, Creamer and teammate Gulbis, among the three youngest members on the U.S. team, sported large earrings during the event and won their key singles matches for the USA on the final day.

Seventeen-year-old Morgan Pressel, the 2005 U.S. Women's Amateur champion, is another young golfer who favors the long earring look. Pressel, a Florida high school senior, recently advanced to the final of the LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament to be held in Daytona Beach, Fla., Nov.30-Dec.4.

"They should have as much fun with how they look as with how they play," Schwartz says.

Stylish tennis star Maria Sharapova is selective about the earrings she chooses to wear while playing. Her e-mailed comment: "The earrings I wear during matches have to be long, dangling and, most important, light. That's the criteria I use when I decide what to wear."

Sharapova is now working with Japan-based designer, Samantha Thavasa, on a handbag and jewelry line which will be introduced in Japan in November and will, of course, include earrings.

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