How to Accessorize for the Office

Bored with your wardrobe? Spice things up a bit with the right accessories.
Bored with your wardrobe? Spice things up a bit with the right accessories.
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Tired of office grays? Bored with a wardrobe jammed with near-identical pantsuits? Worried that your workplace is starting to suck you into a black hole of fashion? Looks like the time is ripe to start flexing your accessorizing muscles.

Simple yet effective, accessories are the perfect way to keep your workplace style fresh, flexible and professional. If your wardrobe is just getting started, accessories are a stealthy way to add variety to your budding collection. If your closet is already the envy of your coworkers, accessories are just the icing on the cake.

As with any outfit, the accessorizing basics apply: Pick one item as your main attraction and keep everything else small. Like a good team of backup singers, accessories should complement your style without overpowering your overall motif. Be mysterious: Your coworkers will know you look good, but they won't know how.

Keep your attire adaptable -- which means being sensitive to the particular demands of your workplace. Clerking at a law firm? Your rainbow leg warmers may have to be relegated to weekend custody. Vice-principal of a high school? A "Go Tigers!" sweater may trump your white cashmere. If you can, do some homework on your office dress code. When in doubt, watch your boss. By carefully monitoring what your superiors wear, you can usually keep yourself on the right track.

If you're at the point where you've upgraded from cubicle to corner office, chances are your fashion constraints are a bit tighter than the average receptionist. The higher you've made it up the corporate food chain, the more your legs and feet will need to go into hiding. Consider celebrating your latest promotion with a new set of closed-toed shoes and hosiery.

So what are your options? Find out on the next page.