What Jewelry to Wear to Work – A Practical Guide

Like almost every woman, you too have probably stood in front of the mirror in the morning and wondered, Should I wear these earrings? or maybe, Is this necklace too gaudy

The thing is, work fashion guidelines vary according to the type of job that you do, and while most employers provide basic guidelines for attire, they fail to expand on what jewelry items are allowed per their dress code.

The good news is that there’s jewelry to match any work situation. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts that should help you figure out which jewelry items are a go and which should just stay home from the office.

What Type of Job Do You Do?

This may seem like common sense, but oftentimes we are so used to our daily work environment that we don’t really think about the day-to-day realities of our job.

Obviously, if you work with your hands making art, taking care of animals, or gardening, you will likely not even consider wearing your jewelry items to your job. 

The picture has more shades of grey, however, if you work in an office, or a school, or as a bus driver for example. 

Jewelry is intended to make a statement, but sometimes the statement that it is making is not really a good fit with your job. 

It can be helpful to think about it like this: Will this item of jewelry distract others or myself from my work? If you think that it will, then leave it home.  If you don’t think that the item in question will be distracting or send the wrong message, it’s a go!

Should I Wear Gaudy or Large Jewelry to Work?

Teacher with pearl studs

This is largely dependent on the type of work that you do. For example, if you are a teacher who teaches grade school children, it is likely that a large piece of jewelry will be very distracting to them. You may or may not want to deal with their lack of attention all day caused by your large necklace or your dangly earrings. 

Real estate agent with jewelry

If you are a realtor, however, stylish, statement jewelry might serve to enhance your image and not impede your daily work on a personal level.

Two main considerations are safety and comfort:

Items like dangling or long necklaces and earrings or multiple bracelets may not be a good idea if you’re going to doing work where they might become tangled or get caught up in things.  Large earrings might cause you a lot of discomfort if you are on the phone all day.

It’s always good to think about your own comfort just as much as you think about how good the jewelry looks.

The Dress Code at my Company is Very Conservative: Can I Even Wear Jewelry?

If your company has not specifically stated that you can’t wear jewelry, they are likely going to assume that you will take your styling queues from the overall dress code. 

If you work in a bank, for example, it is common to see small earrings and understand necklaces or bracelets.  Some banks won’t allow tellers to wear jewelry to lessen the risk of robbery. 

If you know that your employer is very conservative overall, it is probably best to leave all your large, colorful or dangly jewelry at home.

What About Backdrop Necklaces, Ankle Bracelets and Other Unusual Styles?

Again, the answer to this likely depends on the overall dress code at your company:

  • Most corporate jobs do not allow open-backed shirts or dresses, so a backdrop necklace wouldn’t be a great idea since it would just be covered up all day.
  • Ankle bracelets will likely only be allowed to be worn by very casual employers.
  • Layering large and funky bracelets can be a no-no and many companies are often equally specific about no toe rings and no large ankle bracelets. 

Corporate jobs tend to be concerned mostly with a lack of distractions from the actual functions of work and subscribe to the attitude that you will work your best if you comply with minimalistic standards that include only modest and understated clothes and jewelry.

The corporate landscape is changing however, as more take on relaxed attitudes towards dress code. It’s becoming more usual to see more statement jewelry styles at work these days.

I Still Want to Stand Out

Woman wearing simple jewelry at work

So, let’s say your workplace is quite conservative and you know that they’ll frown on your favorite backdrop necklace or your body chain that you wore out on a date night last night, but you really want to be true to yourself and bring a little sparkle with you to work every day.  This is one of the most common dilemmas of corporate job life for women. 

How to be an individual when your company wants everyone to be a conformist! 

Thankfully, there are still ways to come to work with verve and personality, even if you do have to leave your favorite ankle bracelet at home.

  • Opt for the classics. Some pieces of jewelry are ideal for any occasion or situation. These include:
    • Pearl stud earrings
    • Diamond tennis bracelet
    • Pearl necklace
    • Diamond solitaire pendant
    • Diamond studs
    • Eternity ring
    • Solitaire ring

These kinds of jewelry never go out of style and suits all types of clothes. You can easily transition from day to evening wear without having to change your jewelry.

  • Wear matching sets of earrings, bracelets and necklace(s). There are lots of fun ways to wear a matched set of jewelry and pulling all of the items in a set together can bring a noticeable and fun pop of color and style to that business suit.
  • Wear more than one necklace. You may not be able to wear a body chain to work but you can certainly wear a choker or a string of pearls with your favorite sweater.  Maybe you can’t decide which length chain to wear in the morning. The solution? Wear them both!
  • Wear a unique ring. Many jobs require that your hands are in front of customers for much of the day.  If you want to express yourself immediately, wear a ring that is unique and says something about your style.  Everyone will notice and you will likely get lots of compliments on it.
  • Wear something customized. If you have a necklace with your first initial on it or a charm bracelet that you got to pick out each charm for, you can have a lot of fun wearing this personalized item to work to help remind you that you do have your own personal style, even if it’s sometimes a bit stifled by your work uniform.
  • Wear smaller items that are brightly colored. Often, dress codes are focused on the size of the jewelry but don’t worry about the color. If you are feeling bored with your daily dress code, add some fun with a set of brightly colored earrings, or a sparkly or noticeable bracelet
  • Add a lapel pin for a fun and expressive choice. Lapel pins are totally in right now and an excellent way to add personality to your look with a tiny pop of color.
Fun lape pins for work
Fun lapel pins for work

Sticking to your work dress code doesn’t have to be a total drag. You still have the freedom to be your own person, you may just have to figure out the most efficient way to do it within your company’s dress code. 

While it may be a drag to wear the same business clothes week in and week out, you can liven up your daily dress code with fun jewelry items that are still work appropriate. Playing with colors, styles and matching sets can provide the same stylish result that you would achieve with items that your employer doesn’t want you to wear to work.

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years in the jewelry niche. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education. She has always been interested in expression through fashion and accessories, and her extensive experience in the field has made her a respected voice in jewelry trends and education. As the chief editor of Jewelry Shopping Guide, she not only leads the content strategy but also shares her insights through engaging articles. Her passion for storytelling is reflected in every piece she curates, exploring the intricate relationship between jewelry and personal identity.

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