How much jewelry is too much for the office? The rules change every five years, but the basics remain the same. More is more, and less is a bore, as fashion icon Iris Apfel once said, but less is definitely best when you’re in a professional environment. Here are the select pieces you can wear with confidence as well as basic rules for when to wear them.
The Most General Approach
It’s easy to go overboard with jewelry, but in general the fewest pieces possible are always a better idea: necklace, earrings, ring, and bracelet or watch. Depending on your work environment, the degree of bling and flashiness varies.
Necklaces and Earrings
Keep it simple and elegant with shorter lengths, chokers and studs. Forgo the sparkling rhinestones and don’t wear your mother’s best diamonds. Save the showstopping looks for after hours, parties, awards banquets, and company shindigs.
Depending on your work environment, you can bend, relax or even subvert the above rule to various degrees. If you’re in fashion, design, or some other creative industry, you can swap the studs for hoop earrings, doorknockers, and even abstract hanging creations. Pull out the extra long faux pearl necklaces, rope chains, and encrusted pendants if the mood strikes you.
Men and women should always feel free to wear their wedding and engagement rings, no matter how blinged-out. That’s where the glam should end. Women have a bit more leeway and can get away with multiple rings besides their wedding ring. The rules for wearing rings on specific fingers are out the window. In any environment, you can wear tasteful, not-too-sparkly rings on any fingers you please.
Bracelets and Watches
Keep bracelets and watches as conservative as possible for the office. Steer clear of large, gaudy, loud bangles and charms that tinkle. A simple rope bracelet, tiny cuff or bangle suffices. Watches should fall into the above categories or feature fitted wristbands in dark or neutral colors.