Appropriate Accessories for Work

If you’re anything like me you probably have two wardrobes: the “weekend” wardrobe, and the “work” wardrobe. When you shop, you likely have these separate wardrobes in mind. But do you do the same for accessories? When you buy a new bangle, or a new set of earrings, do you think to yourself, “This will be perfect for the office?” 

I have never given office-appropriate accessories much thought. Actually, Monday morning I asked my boyfriend if I should wear my red or my black Kate Spade bangle. When he suggested both I told him they would clank together and I can’t do that. So I guess maybe I have thought about work-appropriate accessories on some level, but certainly not consciously, and definitely not while shopping.

This week I read a blog post that has changed my perspective on accessories at work and has given me the new goal of building up my “work” wardrobe’s jewelry box. Barbara Pachter, business etiquette expert and author of numerous books on business etiquette (which are sitting pretty on my bookshelf), blogged 10 Suggestions for Accessories at Work. I’d like to share my favorite tips from Barbara below, along with some work-appropriate accessory suggestions:

1.     If one is good, ten is not better. Do not let accessories overpower you or your outfit – like the bank manager who wore a ring on every finger. Use accessories selectively.
2.     Make sure your accessories are silent additions. Your jewelry should not make noise. If you wear a number of bracelets, for instance, they can bump audibly against each other when you move your arms.
3.     Be aware that an accessory can become your trademark. If you wear a particular accessory often, you may be labeled. One man wore a different set of cufflinks every day. His colleagues started referring to him as “Link.”
4.     Choose good-quality pieces. Accessories need to complement your clothing. Make sure your briefcases, handbags, backpacks, ties and scarves are clean and in good condition. Don’t be like the employee who arrived at a meeting with a very old and worn briefcase. He was embarrassed when he opened his briefcase and the strap fell off.

 For the full 10 tips and for other great information on business etiquette, you can visit Barbara’s Blog: Pachter’s Pointers.

Now here are some of my personal office appropriate favorites. Please ignore (or relish in) my Kate Spade obsession:


Citizen Watch, Women’s Eco-Drive Black Leather Strap // kate spade new york Carousel Bangle Watch, 16mm // Michael Kors Jet Set Sport Watch


Cambridge Satchel Company 15″ Satchel  // Longchamp Le Pliage Medium Shoulder Tote  // Kate Spade Cobble Hill Leslie Satchel Handbag

What do you think? I think my mantra for the office is to keep it simple. The pieces I’ve shared are conservative and align with my style, but I think it’s safe to take risks and go with louder pieces in moderation. If you wear a big chunky necklace, let it stand by itself and town down the other accessories. What are your office accessory staples? 

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