How to Accessorize for the Office

Keeping Form and Function Balanced

If your accessories are slowing you down or turning you into a bruised wreck at the end of the day, it might be time to give them the heave-ho. Go for accessories that complement your clothes without constricting your ability to be an alert, productive and energized worker. Office fashion, fortunately, is one art you don't have to suffer for.

First off, don't be afraid to let your purse do more than hold makeup. Laptops, cell phones and PDAs -- there's a lot of equipment the modern worker has to carry back and forth between home and office. Make sure you pick up a handbag that has a sleek design while still maintaining enough carrying capacity to match your needs.

If your workday calls for 8 hours of hoofing it around sidewalks and down stairs, you might want to go for a pair of flat soles and save the pumps for a day at the desk. Or compromise with a pair of kitten heels. With a heel of only 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters), they'll give you the heel "look" without sacrificing your feet in the process.

If you're making an important presentation, the last thing you want is to be upstaged by your attire. Flashy earrings, 3-inch heels and gaudy necklaces can all become distracting. At the office, you're the main event, and your wardrobe should never be more than a sidekick. Your accessories work for you, and don't let them forget it.

Above all, stay safe! If your job is going to put you anywhere near spinning equipment, you'll want to make sure your loose ends are tied. Around heavy machinery, a low-hanging necklace is practically an invitation for a beheading. But even if the most dangerous machine in your office is a desktop computer, a poorly-planned wardrobe could still put you at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries. Make sure your bracelets, belts and necklaces aren't constricting your air or blood flow. A slightly clunky or too-tight accessory can easily leave you feeling strained or ill by lunchtime.