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Career Accessories to Start Collecting Now

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Accessory header
Photo via Elle.com

Dear CF Readers, I hope you enjoyed Career Wardrobe Staples Part 1 and Part 2! You’ve asked for a post on accessories fit for careers – here it is!

When it comes to accessories, it’s important to consider your work environment just as you do with your clothes. Is your office (or the typical office for those in your field) traditional and conservative? Is it trendy and fashion-forward? Or does it fall somewhere in the middle? The answer to this question will determine the style of accessories you’ll want to buy!

Note: Often you may not know how conservatively you’ll have to dress in your future office. That’s OK! Just do your best to collect a range of styles, leaning towards more classic pieces; it’s better to go too conservative than too flashy. Other times, you may have a good idea of how your office will view flashy accessories, and that’s great! Begin collecting now!

No matter what, here are the top accessory pieces you’ll want to have, according to your office style:

1. The Classically Conservative Office

Classic accessories
Product Information: (Top) American Apparel Leather Strap Watch / Mulberry Briefcase / Lara Bohinc Scarf / (Middle) Marc Jacobs Watch / American Apparel Pearl Earrings / (Bottom) Horne Watch / Karen Millen Bangle / kate spade new york Necklace / Burberry Scarf

In this office, you want your accessories to complement you and your outfit, but not draw too much attention. Here, accessorizing is all about looking professional and respecting the dress code while giving each outfit a hint of extra style.

Here are some tips for accessorizing in a conservative office:

  • Invest is some classic pieces, such as a watch with a nice leather strap and a sleek, sturdy briefcase (if you use one). These look really professional, and set the tone for the rest of your ensemble.
  • Pearls are perfect for professional femininity. They’re graceful, elegant, and never look too try-hard!
  • Vintage jewelry is a great way to incorporate the current trends while remaining professional.
  • Don’t ever go too wild with earrings. You don’t want your boss or client to be distracted by dangly earrings that shimmer every time you move! Stick with small, classic studs in neutral tones.
  • If you do want to push the boundaries, do so little by little. Start with one bold accessory at a time, or gradually work up to some of your bolder colors and chunkier jewelry, keeping your office dress code in mind. And keep most accessories conservative if you have one really “out there” piece. Balance is key.

2. The Bold, Trendy Office

Trendy accessories
Product Information: (Top) Michael Kors Watch / Christie Bracelet / Christine Phung Bag / (Middle) Julie Tuton Earrings / (Bottom) himediy Necklace /  Tahari Ring / Accessorize Necklace / Juicy Couture Watch

In this office, you want your accessories to make a statement about you and your personal style. Don’t be afraid to wear whatever accessories you want, as long as you think they are still appropriate for your office.

Here are some tips for accessorizing in a less conservative office:

  • Go with your gut. This is the place where you can express your own style through your accessories – but you know your office best, so trust your instincts about what’s appropriate! When in doubt, it’s better to start a little less crazy and evaluate the response you get from there.
  • As with the conservative office, remember to keep your accessories from distracting you and those around you. Even if you have the freedom to be bold, you should do so professionally.
  • Make sure your accessories present you well. Remember: there’s still a difference between office-appropriate and nightclub-appropriate. If your office is trendy, you should still try the trends in a way that will make a good impression.
  • Have fun with it!

If your office is somewhere between these two extremes, don’t go overboard with your statement pieces, but still feel free to play with your personal style. Every office will have a perfect balance between the two; it’s up to you to figure out where that is, and then decide if you will play it safe or go bold.

What do you think?

Would you rather be conservative or daring with your accessories? Do you have any tips to add? Please leave a comment! We love to hear from you!

Posted on on February 2, 2013 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , , ,

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13 Responses to “Career Accessories to Start Collecting Now”

  1. 1
    February 2nd, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    i feel like i’m missing something: how are the watches in the second category bold? they seem pretty classic to me.

  2. 2
    February 2nd, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Totally agree that a stand out, classic watch makes a huge difference – I recently splurged on a beautiful Gucci watch and I feel so professional when I wear it, and have had so many comments from clients about it. I never, ever go to work without it now!

  3. 3
    February 2nd, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Amazing! :)
    I have a question, though, I’m studying to become a dentist and this year I start attending patients, which is a huge deal! Unfortunally, I have to wear a uniform all day (white pants, a white short-sleeves jacket and a white turban) and the use of jewelry is very restrictive, as well as the use of nail polish and make up. Besides, because of the turbant, I really don’t know how to wear my hair.
    Could anybody help me with this?
    Thank you!!

  4. 4
    February 3rd, 2013 at 12:12 am

    I love this series ;) My office is very conservative, and I appreciate what you said about one statement piece being okay….I had never really thought about it that way before.

    Valeria – as someone who has had extensive dental work done, I feel like I’ve been the patient enough times to give some tips ;) If I were you, I would really focus on eye makeup – since most of the time your lips are covered by a mask, I wouldn’t wear a lot of bold lipsticks (kind of pointless….plus it might rub off?? idk). At least your pants and jacket are white, you can have a lot of fun with that….I think it would be fun to go for bright shoes and blouses. For hair, you could maybe do some intricate updos. You probably can’t wear dangly earrings, but what about cuff earrings? They might be a little too out there or edgy, but you might be able to find some more conservative pairs….Good luck!

  5. 5
    February 3rd, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I love this, but like Valeria pointed out – not everyone works in an office! What about teachers, doctors, retail salespeople, travelling public speakers, even someone like a music executive who spends most of their time scouting out talent. I feel like you could do a great extension piece, since these are all “careers” too :)

  6. 6
    February 3rd, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I love this… you are giving me some serious shopping urges!

  7. 7
    February 3rd, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    What if you’re going to be working at a hospital? Lol I wish there was a way to make scrubs look more fashionable! :(

  8. 8
    February 3rd, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I think they’re great for people that will work in an office, but what about the ones that love being fashionable but works in a laboratory, you can’t wear those fabulous accesories, so what about us? What can we start collecting for our career??

  9. 9
    February 4th, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    AnnieK – I am a doctor and thankfully now I don’t have to wear scrubs and am lucky enough to pretty much wear what I want (within reason) to work, but when I was forced to wear scrubs in emergency I still tried to put my own spin on them with accessories and shoes, even lanyards with my name tag. We weren’t allowed to wear jewellery on our wrists or hands, so I invested in a bunch of great stud earrings to give me bit of style. I still wore heels every single day (and believe me, they look pretty uncool with scrubs but it was worth it) so I could still show off my shoe collection. Other things you can do are wear pretty hair accessories, I used to like putting my hair in a bun with a pretty hair stick or fabric flower, or tying a scarf around a ponytail or weaving it into a braid. If you are really limited and can’t do any of that, at least you can get some cool theatre shoes (lots of awesome crocs and birkenstocks available now, I had pink ones I painted with glitter glue) and make yourself some patterened theatre hats. Stationary shops often have really cute patterned lanyards and I wore a different one every day when I wasn’t allowed to have any jewellery or hair accessories. I am lucky now that my job doesn’t involve scrubs and I can tell you I won’t be wearing them ever again :)

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