How to Accessorize for the Office

What to Leave at the Door

If you're going to wear a bracelet, make sure it won't be too distracting or noisy.
If you're going to wear a bracelet, make sure it won't be too distracting or noisy.

Keep your imagination free when planning your outfits, but keep in mind that if your accessories get a little too bold, they could get you reprimanded -- or sent home.

Unless you clock in at Rolling Stone, nose piercings and visible tattoos are usually a strict no-no. The same goes for overt bling. There are moments when everybody is tempted to pull out all the stops and put on an Elvis-style menagerie of jangly jewelry. But remember: In most offices, jewelry should be seen and not heard.

It's a fair bet that your top drawer contains a pretty impressive headband collection. Headbands are fun and functional -- but they just shouldn't be in your 9 to 5 wardrobe. Looking youthful is good, but many accessories above the neckline will simply leave you looking girlish.

In many circumstance, a quick jet of perfume is the perfect way to add a second sense to your outfit. But in cramped, poorly-ventilated office quarters, even the gentlest perfumes can be akin to a tear gas attack on your coworkers -- especially those with specific allergies. With more and more workplaces going "scent-free," fragrances are gradually joining the martini as an indulgence best enjoyed outside of working hours.

Casual Friday! Time to let loose -- or is it? Use casual days as an opportunity to widen your fashion options, but don't go over the deep end. If anything, casual Fridays are when you're best positioned to hit a fashion home run. While your coworkers flit about in corduroys, t-shirts and faded jeans, you can knock them out with a smart, casual summer dress complete with matching shoes and handbag.

Got a sleek, sexy outfit for Friday night? Wearing it to work might be a great way to save you a trip home before hitting the scene, but be wary -- sleek and sexy do not an office worker make. If you need to duck around a commute back to your closet, simply bring your Friday night finest in a discreet garment bag. Once 5 o'clock rolls around, you'll be ready to slip into your evening wear like Superman in a phone booth.

Related Articles


  • "Flip-flops flop as work wear: Office fashion etiquette makes concessions to soaring temperatures, but not many." Edmonton Journal. July 25, 2006.
  • Goodlight, Athena. "Tips on Power Dressing for Corporate Women." April 8, 2010. (May 6, 2010)
  • King, Tamiya. "Five Tips For Accessorizing and Making the Most of Any Outfit." August 28, 2005. (May 6, 2010)
  • Pailey, Joann. "Work Appropriate Accessories: Shoes." March 31, 2010. (May 6, 2010)
  • Palmer, Tammy. "Fashion QA." May 14, 2007. (May 6, 2010)
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  • Saeed, Azam. "Scarf tying guide." (May 16, 2010)
  • Saint-Cyr, Yosie. "Dealing with fragrance sensitivity in workplaces." February, 2005. (May 16, 2010)
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  • Verner, Amy. "Leave your pierced nose at the interview door." October 22, 2007. (May 6, 2010)
  • Verner, Amy. "A dress code that will never go out of style." June 15, 2007. (May 6, 2010)