The Do's and Don'ts of Wearing Jewelry at Work
Your work environment can start to feel dull and oppressive when you aren't finding ways to express yourself in your clothing. While you don't want to go over the top, there are ways to express your personality and style while dressing appropriately for work.
Wearing jewelry at work doesn't have to be complicated or daunting, and you can use it to express yourself and put forward your best presentation. The main key is to find a balance between conservative and expressive. Wear high-quality jewelry that matches your individual taste, and avoid distracting or inappropriate pieces. The following tips can help you make sure that you're making the best jewelry choices.
Let's start with the positive. Wearing jewelry to work helps you stand apart from others as it shows that you take your job seriously and consider it a formal occasion. It's also a way to show your personality. Office attire can be homogenous, but adding jewelry to an outfit is an appropriate way to personalize your look and display your individuality.
The following recommendations can help you make sure that your jewelry is professional and worn correctly for the most optimal results.
Wear One Eye-Catching Piece
When it comes to wearing jewelry to work, less is more. There are circumstances where you can wear multiple pieces of jewelry (and we'll get to that later), but if you're struggling pairing things, just choose one.
You won't look underdressed if you choose one stunning piece of jewelry that everyone is bound to see and like. And on the plus side, you won't have to worry that your jewelry isn't matching or that your look is too distracting. Just one piece of jewelry shows that you know how to accessorize, that you have personality, and that you're conservative when it comes to the office setting.
When in Doubt: Wear Earrings
If you don't know which one piece to wear, there's a simple rule. If you're wondering what jewelry is appropriate for work, the answer is always earrings. Unless you work in a work environment with physical dangers (in which case you shouldn't wear jewelry at all), earrings are almost always in line with the dress code.
For more conservative office spaces, go for a couple of simple pairs of studs that you can change out depending on your mood and the rest of your outfit. If you work in an artistic, creative, or unconventional office you can branch out to some more dangly options if they suit your style better than studs.
Either way, earrings occupy an area of your body that makes them noticeable when someone is directly engaging with you but is unlikely to cause a distraction to people who prefer not to be distracted.
Choose a Signature Look
One of the top tips for wearing jewelry at work is to remove the guesswork. Choose one signature look and then wear it every day. Choose a couple of jewelry items that go together (even better if they're part of a single set), and then wear them every time you go into the office.
You'll be recognized not only for your stylishness but for your reliability and attention to your appearance. People who wear the same jewelry every day appear put together, organized, and confident. It won't look like you're trying to win people over every day with your jewelry choices because you're confident that your standard look is the best possible choice.
Consider the Demands of Your Job
What kind of work do you do? The answer to this question will help you figure out what jewelry is best for you.
If you mostly work privately in your own cubicle, there's no reason that you can't wear something particularly bold. However, if you work with young children something dangly and bright has the potential to distract them and prevent them from learning from you.
Does your job require a lot of running back and forth between places? If so, you probably won't want to wear a heavy pendant that would slam against your chest all day. When you consider the demands of your job, you can start to rule out the jewelry that would make that job difficult.
Opt for Classics
It can be hard to learn how to choose jewelry for your business attire with the ever-changing trends. Instead of trying to keep up with the current jewelry fads, wear something that never goes out of style.
Simple, small gold pendants are a classic as are dainty pearl necklaces. Small diamonds on a pendant or in a stud earring are also timeless pieces. If you can imagine you, your mom, and your grandmother all wearing the same item, it's probably a classic. And if it's a classic, it's unlikely to be rejected by anyone in your office.
Consider Men's Jewelry Options
Jewelry isn't just for women! Men should be encouraged to learn what jewelry is appropriate for work.
Consider watches, cufflinks, and lapel pins. Like any other jewelry styling, choose one piece to be the focal point and let the other things be understated (or not present at all). If you have a flashy watch, choose a smaller pair of cufflinks. If you're going for a lapel pin, keep the rest of your look modest.
Buy High-Quality Jewelry
With any kind of jewelry, make sure that you're purchasing something high-quality. Costume jewelry might look fine at first, but over time it will tarnish and it won't look as professional after just a few wears.
High-quality jewelry made of luxury materials last longer and keep their shine forever. By wearing something more expensive, you give the appearance that you care about your job and your presentation at your job. Plus, you'll save money in the long run. Your high-quality jewelry can be worn time after time, and you'll never need to replace it. Costume jewelry, on the other hand, though it's cheaper at first, will have to be replaced very quickly.
Wear Something With an Added Purpose
Work is about productivity and efficiency. make your jewelry a part of that goal by wearing jewelry with a purpose.
An example of this is a nice watch. No, not your Fitbit. Wear something that adds both aesthetic value and real value. A good timepiece in quality metal will make you look professional.
Any good guidelines will also come with things to avoid. There are pieces of jewelry that are simply inappropriate for work, and they should be avoided at all costs. These are the things that can contribute to the hazards of wearing jewelry at work.
Wear Too Many Pieces of Jewelry
Never wear too many pieces of jewelry. What is considered excessive jewelry? Any amount of jewelry that draws attention to it instead of your work ethic or the rest of the composition of your work outfit.
The goal of jewelry is to complement the rest of what you're wearing and elevate it to a high-end, formal level. It is not to draw attention to itself or demand the idea of wealth and extravagance.
Just a little jewelry will be more than enough, and if you're going to wear a bold piece - make it one bold piece.
Wear a Potentially Distracting or Disruptive Item
There's nothing worse than a constant distraction in the office. Now that people are returning to the office after working from home, they may be even less tolerant of distractions that they didn't have to deal with at home.
Consider if your jewelry makes loud noises. When you walk does it sound like jingle bells coming down the hallway? Does your ring make a clacking noise when it hits the keyboard while you type? This can be just as distracting to you as it is to others. Wear quiet jewelry, and your coworkers will be grateful.
Ignore Your Job's Handbook
Can you wear jewelry to work? The answer to this question may be more at hand than you realize. Specifically, the answer may be in your handbook.
Most employee handbooks come with guidelines about proper business attire for your specific company. Some are general and unspecific. Maybe they'll simply use words like, "business casual". In these cases, use your best judgment and forge ahead until someone gives you a specific correction.
In other circumstances, your handbook may be quite clear about your job's regulations. Read this section carefully, and make sure that your jewelry follows any rules put down by your human resources department to a T.
Wear Unusual Styles
Yes, jewelry is about sharing a sense of your personality, but don't take things too far. A back-hanging necklace shown off by an open shirt may be considered immodest. An anklet may be considered too casual and beachy for an office setting. Many bangles can seem bohemian and loud. Even a choker could be considered edgy or sexual.
When in doubt, especially in a conservative office setting, stick to these kinds of jewelry:
- earrings (particularly studs)
- simple, dainty chains
- single bracelet in a chain or bangle style
- lapel pin
A lot of this guide has been about how to blend in and not cause a distraction. So how do you express yourself with jewelry while remaining appropriate at work?
Choose things that relate to your interests. If you're wearing a charm bracelet, choose charms that relate to the things you like to do and the aspects of your life that are important to you. The same goes for a pendant or lapel pin.
You can also personalize with stones and colors. Spend some time figuring out what your favorites are, or if you aren't sure, wear your birthstone!
If you really want to get into the jewelry you wear, do some research into periods of jewelry styles and then emulate your favorites. Are you into art deco? Victorian? Preppy? Figure out what your personal style is, and you'll start to find pieces that stand out but complement your overall look and feel.
Wear Something Too Precious
There's no reason to sugarcoat it. Work is a great place to lose important things. You may need to remove a piece of jewelry to get something done and forget it somewhere. Clasps can break. Earrings backs can fall off. You can lose weight and have rings become too loose.
For this reason, although you should wear things of monetary value (because remember, they last longer) you shouldn't wear anything with a lot of sentimental value. Leave your family heirlooms, beloved gifts, and irreplaceable artifacts at home.
The only exception to this rule is your wedding or engagement band. There are separate etiquette rules for engagement rings to be followed.
Forget to Flatter Your Body Type
Just how not every article of clothing looks good on every body type, not every piece of jewelry looks good on every person. Here are some things to take into account when choosing your jewelry:
- Your coloring
- Your size
- Your bone structure
Your coloring will contribute to what kind of metals you should be wearing. Cool-toned people should wear silver while warmed toned people should wear gold. You can figure out your shade here.
If you're petite, you should wear smaller jewelry, or you may look overwhelmed by your jewelry. The opposite goes for if you're larger. Don't choose a piece of jewelry that will go unnoticed on you.
Consider what will look right with your bone structure as well. Look at your hands. If they're dainty and petite, small rings will look right on them and help accentuate the length. If you have larger hands, balance them out with a bolder, more substantial ring.
Wearing Jewelry at Work in a Respectful and Fashionable Way
If you adorn yourself conservatively, choose pieces that present your style and body type well, and avoid cheap, gaudy jewelry, you can wear jewelry at work. Wearing jewelry at work should be encouraged in workplaces where it's safe and appropriate, but make sure that you follow your handbook rules and avoid unnecessary distractions.
Are you ready to add some jewelry to your everyday work attire? Check out our collection of rings to start building your signature look.