Thanks to shifting standards of formality, office attire has been in a state of flux for decades. Once upon a time, full suits for men and women were requisite office wear across a wide range of industries. However, it seems that the suited and booted dress code is extinct – at least for the time being.
But if you work in a professional industry you will still be expected to follow a few, usually unspoken, sartorial rules. Those vary depending on the industry.
The key lynchpin is brand identity. If your company’s brand is creative and cutting-edge, then ignore our tips, they are not for you. Read on if you work in an industry where the brand values aim to promote an image of responsibility and professionalism.
Following the rise of the smart casual look in the 1980s – led by the tech companies of Silicon Valley – and our recent experience with remote working, modern-day office outfits are decidedly more relaxed. While you should maintain a professional air, such as avoiding branded t-shirts and loungewear, work outfits can be more flexible than formal and should express a touch of personality.
One of the best ways to show personality while staying professional is to accessorise. However, less is more when it comes to the jewellery for your work wardrobe. The aim is to subtly elevate your overall look rather than dazzle and distract, and you must avoid appearing unprofessional.
Make sure you stay on the right side of the line by following this guide to choosing office-appropriate jewellery.
Keep it minimal
As Coco Chanel said, “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory”. This is the key rule to bear in mind when dressing for work. Stick to staples such as an engagement ring and wedding band or precious necklace, and one other piece of jewellery like a pair of earrings. If your special pieces are valuable or easily damaged, consider leaving them at home day-to-day.
Avoid big accessories
Just as less is more, smaller is better. Big accessories like dangly or hoop earrings will dominate your outfit and act as a visual distraction for your co-workers and clients. This means that their attention can be easily diverted away from what you are saying and doing. Keep earrings neat and avoid other sizeable accessories like chunky chokers or bangles.
Steer clear of colour
While a pop of something bright is perfectly acceptable, in general, it is best to steer clear of colour. Flashy rainbow rhinestones, for example, could be viewed as childish and inappropriate for the workplace. This might lessen your authority in important situations. You should also avoid timepieces with vibrant watch faces and instead stick to classic colours that blend well with a smart shirt.
Make it useful
A watch is a fantastic workplace companion, however, and is a key part of any office wear wardrobe. The primary function is, of course, to help you better manage your time. However, there are other uses for watches in the workplace too. You can stress your status with a sleek high-end timepiece or take advantage of the wide range of features in smartwatch software to improve your working day.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, do not forget to prioritise comfort. Stay away from jewellery that will interfere with your daily tasks. For example, those who spend the day typing on a laptop should forgo bangles and bracelets. You should also consider the material your accessory is made from: make sure it feels soft and smooth against your skin rather than spikey and itchy. Those with especially sensitive skin should look into special hypoallergenic metals and fabrics for their jewellery.