Jewelry for the Office: Fashion or Fine?

jewelry for the office: fashion or fine? Jewelry for the office: fashion or fine? Is fashion jewelry or fine jewelry more appropriate for the workplace — or is it a know your office situation? Is there such a thing as everyday fine jewelry, other than an engagement ring? Does price and taste enter into it? (Bonus question for the bottom of the post, too: would you wear the pictured necklace to work? Would your answer change if you thought it cost more or less than your home?) Here’s Reader A’s question:

I’m an avid reader of your blog and I have a question for you. :) I read your 2012 jewelry post and was wondering if you had advice on fashion vs fine jewelry in the office. I work in a very casual office (uggs are not out of place even on senior management) but the executives tend to dress sharp and polished. However, I’ve never seen anyone wear pearls or gemstones outside of their wedding rings. Are fine jewelry styles only appropriate in formal offices?

Very interesting question. I do suspect this is a “know your office” situation, but I’m very curious to hear from the readers because I’d love to know which kind of jewelry you prefer to wear to the office, fashion or fine.  First, some definitions for purposes of discussion today…

Fashion Jewelry for Work

“Fashion” jewelry, as I understand it, means it’s generally made more from manufactured pieces instead of natural pieces. There’s a huge range of prices for fashion jewelry — everything from a mall store like Claire’s or Charming Charlie, to BaubleBar or Fragments stuff, to some more expensive costume jewelry like Kate Spade, Alexis Bittar, or more, which may involve real gold or silver but with non-precious stones such as  turquoise or druzy quartz, or plastic.

Fine Jewelry for the Office

“Fine jewelry” generally means it’s made from real gold, silver, platinum, rhodium or another premium metal, instead of merely being gold-plated; it may also involve diamonds or harder stones like rubies, emeralds, or sapphires. (But note that these days a lot of those “precious stones” are man-made in a lab, so the line gets blurred.) A lot of stores have completely different shopping sections for fashion and fine jewelry — and brands may have a different line for fine jewelry, as well.

Now: Which Is The Best Jewelry for the Office: Fashion or Fine?

So I think my answer is… well, somewhere in the middle.  While I do think this is a “know your office” situation, I think for most offices you want to identify the “my skin is turning green because I’m wearing cheap metal jewelry” end of the spectrum of your jewelry collection, and then identify the “oh nooooo did my $100,000 diamond necklace blind you when it caught the light?” end of the spectrum of your jewelry collection, and wear to work the jewelry that is soldily in the middle of that spectrum. And, as I’ve noted in the past about building a jewelry collection for work, I think you generally want to avoid bling and noise with your jewelry — if it’s Very Sparkly (whether it’s druzy or diamonds) or Very Noisy (no matter how many thousands of dollars you spent on your arm party), you should know your office very well before you wear it to work. The middle of the spectrum may include “good” costume jewelry like Kate Spade or Kendra Scott, or no-name jewelry like the J.Crew bubble necklace that was everywhere a few years ago, or even some of the fun necklaces you may pick up at spots like BaubleBar, Fragments, Macy’s, or wherever.  The middle of the spectrum (for you, or for your office) may include everyday fine jewelry like a Cartier watch, a real pearl necklace, or even a right-hand diamond ring.

There’s No Accounting for Taste — or Is There?

I wrote this entire post and then went off looking for a fun, blingy piece of jewelry to use to illustrate the post — and the necklace I’m choosing to feature kind of inadvertently makes another point: taste comes in all price points, too. To my eye, I would think this was an inexpensive, fun necklace — when in fact it is $675,000 (affiliate link). Would it be acceptable to wear to work if it were $15? Is it less acceptable to wear to work if it is $675,000? (Or is this the middle of the spectrum for the woman who owns this necklace?)

Readers, what do you think is the best jewelry for the office: fashion or fine? Have you had Feelings about wearing one or the other to work — such as feeling so inappropriate in a meeting with the huge 2″ agate cocktail ring you thrifted at the flea market near your law school that you took it off and put it in your suit pocket before (you hoped) the VIP partner noticed? (No? Just me then?)

Social media pictures credit: Pixabay.

how to pick the best jewelry to wear to work: fashion or fine jewelry

jewelry for the office fashion or fine

 

Comments

  1. I agree that a lot of bling, whether real or faux, does not come off as professional. I wouldn’t wear this necklace to work. For me, acknowledging the problematic and classist nature of this association, it can come off as a little secretary-ish. And c*cktail rings fall into the category of jewelry that just doesn’t belong at work, imo.

  2. I wear everything to the office unless it makes significant noise and I’m in East Coast Biglaw.

    Maybe a fun way to play this is to ask what everyone is wearing today or yesterday or last week (in case its noticeable) and where they work.

    Small diamond earrings, don’t know total carat weight but I’d guess 1/2 ctw or less.
    A sterling silver necklace from Tiffany’s (it was a present)
    My engagement ring and wedding band
    A right hand ring which is just a thin band of diamonds and sapphires
    A stainless steel Skagen watch

    This is a fancy jewelry day for me.

    • I’m in Washington DC- federal government. I’m wearing faux diamond studs (1 ctw) and my wedding band (plain yellow gold). This is what I wear every day, although I have a couple of other pieces like a gold pendant that I put on when I’m feeling like it.

    • I work in the estates and trusts department of a law firm in the south

      Currently wearing:
      – brown tortoiseshell and gold michael kors watch
      – long light gray faux pearl necklace
      on left hand
      – round diamond engagement ring in plain thin yellow gold band
      – thin plain yellow gold wedding band
      – thin stackable sapphire and diamond band
      on right hand
      -diamond ring in yellow gold with small diamonds on either side

      This is a pretty average jewelry day for me. I usually wear small pearl earrings as well, but forgot to put them in this morning. I like statement necklaces but rarely wear them since heavy necklaces give me a headache.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Business Casual office (trending towards more formal – think sheath / dress and heels – mismatched blazer/ pants combo)
      Pearl earrings / necklace.
      I usually wear a diamond wedding band but seem to have left it at home after my workout last night.

      i often wear costume jewelry as well but tend towards abstract shapes / metals. I will wear dangly / statement stuff but not in hearts/ glittery gemstones etc.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Left hand: Engagement ring (1/2 ctw center stone and 1/4 side stones), wedding ring. ESQ watch.
      Right hand: undergrad class ring (feminine style)
      Hammered silver hoop earrings. 1/2 inch?
      Glasses. Scarf.

    • Currently wearing an emerald/diamond pendant and earring set, Skagen watch, and a silver hair-tie bracelet with a black hair-tie through it. Pretty average jewelry day for me.

    • Chicago biglaw, casual day at the office – just claddagh, engagement/wedding ring set, diamond stud earrings, and watch. At most, I’d add a necklace or bracelet to dress it up.

    • AnonLondon :

      As per usual: Cluse watch, one silver ring, pearl earrings and tortoise-y patterned glasses. London biglaw. I very rarely stray from this.

    • Casual environmental consulting office on the West Coast – wedding + engagement ring, great grandma’s gold ring, silver necklace, small diamond studs, and Shinola watch.

      I wear the same thing every day.

    • Veronica Mars :

      – Michelle Watch
      – No rings (although I often wear 2 silver rings on my right hand)
      – Cross necklace
      – Moissanite studs (1 cttw)

      My earrings and cross almost never change, although occasionally I rotate pieces (slightly different CZ studs, huggies, or other easy earrings; different crosses or pendants).

      Working in a casual office and often from home.

    • Government lawyer, mid-south.

      Long silver pendant necklace

      Right hand:
      – silver celtic knot ring (center finger)
      – stainless seiko watch (I am left handed)

      Left hand:
      – .75 ct weight engagement ring on eternity band
      – sapphire eternity wedding band

      This is about average for me. I may or may not wear the watch on any given day. Depending on the day I also don’t always wear a necklace, or wear something more delicate.

      I never wear earrings, because I have long hair and wear it down. I think my piercings have probably closed up (I didn’t get them until college because I wasn’t much of a jewelry wearer). I also spend a significant amount of my day on the phone, so earrings were professionally irritating.

      • savannah331 :

        Also government lawyer, mid-south – hi there!

        Pearl studs
        Long bead necklace with tassel pendant
        Fitbit
        Tiffany watch
        Pear solitaire engagement ring
        Diamond eternity wedding band

        I love to wear fun jewelry in the office. I draw the line at enormous earrings and things that make lots of noise.

    • White gold ball earrings
      1 ct diamond solitare bezel set on a thin white gold chain
      School ring (very simple — kind of signet ring like)

      This is my daily jewelry uniform. Sometimes I switch it up and wear a diamond cross or single strand pearl necklace and earrings, but that’s about it for work!

    • Law, midsize city in the South. Daily jewelry: Omega two tone watch with diamonds, diamond solitaire engagement ring and channel set diamond eternity band, diamond huggie earrings. Sometimes a delicate diamond pendant. All in yellow gold, Right hand ring- green amethyst set in rose gold

    • BabyAssociate :

      DC mid-size law. I always wear earrings, sometimes necklaces. My favorite necklace is three strands of collarbone length turquoise and I have no hesitation wearing it to work.

      Left hand (same everyday): silver Skagen watch with a black leather strap, Tiffany Color by the Yard bracelet
      Right hand (also same everyday): two thin silver rings on my ring finger, FitBit Alta

      Today: aquamarine studs, tiny tiny purple studs in my top earring hole.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m the same way. Big law firm in NYC. I see people wearing all kinds of things every day.

      Today’s jewelry:
      Moissanite engagement ring and wedding band
      Apple watch
      $15 statement necklace I bought at Old Navy years ago

      Yesterday’s jewelry:
      Engagement ring and wedding band
      Apple watch
      $30 delicate gold necklace
      $500 white topaz earrings (my former roommate is a jewelry designer and gave me lovely presents)

      I wear the topaz earrings a ton because they go with everything and I have a variety of necklaces that are both statement and more “fine” jewelry.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oh and I like the distinction AIMS makes below about daytime and evening jewelry. I think I do at least stick a toe over that line sometimes and wear a sparky statement necklace with an otherwise conservative outfit. But I’m not an associate (technically I’m in a staff position so I’m not necessarily held to the same standards) and like to have a little fun with my jewelry sometimes.

      • My engagement ring is Moissanite, too. It has held up so well, and I don’t worry about breaking it/losing it like I would a diamond.

        High five!

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I love mine! Hive five! I know its marketing, but they had me at “stardust.”

          My stepmom almost ripped it off my fingers when I got engaged to beg my dad to get her one like it. That could be read in either a sweet or not so sweet way so let me say that it was an adorable moment.

          • Ha. Your stepmom sounds adorable!

            They totally had me at “stardust,” too. Add in that we didn’t go into debt or stretch our other money goals to buy the ring, and it was definitely the right choice for us. I don’t think I would choose any differently now, even though we have more cash on hand (we got engaged when we were in law school).

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Same here. We could have gone the diamond route (and my father in law seems a bit horrified that I ever tell anyone that its moissanite) but I wanted big and sparkly without conflict and got exactly that. It worked perfectly for us.

    • Business casual, non-law position in an large-ish corporation, Mid-Atlantic.

      Today’s jewelry: acrylic light pink chrysanthemum earrings (match the light pink windowpane in my grey dress), very thin silver stackers on right hand ring finger, grey and rose gold Nine West watch. This is a light jewelry day for me.

      Yesterday’s jewelry: CZ Asscher-cut halo earrings, black metal Fossil watch, large Yurman prasiolite albion ring on right hand, horse hair custom band ring on left hand, rough cut rutilated quartz gemstone pendant necklace. Ring and necklace wise, this is a more standard day for me.

    • Calibrachoa :

      Dublin, Ireland, IT, business casual office leaning on the casual end (think straight jeans and sneakers and too many graphic t-shirts)

      I always have my statement glasses and my facial piercings (Lip ring, nose ring, cheekbone implant with a red crystal, two cartilage piercings) and I have tattoos, and today I have nothing *but* them because I overslept and have failed to unpack after moving house this week.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I miss my piercings. Took my tongue piercing out when interviewing for my first post-college job because it was what I thought professional people did only to get hired by that company and meet several coworkers with all sorts of piercings and several with full sleeve tattoos. Took my belly button ring out about a year ago.

        I still want to get my nose pierced. Some coworkers have it done so I think it would be fine here, I just haven’t done it yet.

    • White gold/platinum wedding set; gold hoop huggies; Bulova two toned bracelet band watch; giant white tortoiseshell (totally plastic from Bauble Bar) link necklace.

      I love fashion jewelry and wear it to the office all the time. I feel like a necklace finishes off my outfit, most of which are dark neutrals, no prints.

    • Maudie Atkinson :

      Atlanta. Junior associate in boutique firm with big law salary and expectations.
      I wear the same things virtually every day: Wedding jewelry, which includes a diamond solitaire engagement ring, wide pave diamond band wedding band (three rows of diamonds), both set in yellow gold, and thin yellow gold band, college ring on right hand (signet style), simple yellow gold pendant, and teeny tiny amethyst stud earrings.
      I have a few other right hand rings that I will break out for evening events. I own almost no costume or “fashion” jewelry.
      I notice that the female lawyers at my firm wear less jewelry and smaller gemstones than our female support staff. I realize this is a loaded statement, but even if money were no object, I would be reticent to “upgrade” to bigger gemstones, especially diamonds or diamond-looking things, because I fear the negative impressions it could create.

    • Today: no earrings, jade pendant necklace on gold chain, fitness tracker watch on the left wrist, no rings or bracelets today

      Usually I wear small stud earrings or small earrings, and either a bracelet or rings – rings are all small, midi-style (but i wear them as regular rings, not midi), and bracelets tend to be 1-3 stacked ones. I don’t wear any fine jewelry, except my necklace. I don’t wear dangling earrings to work. I used to wear my silver wristwatch but it needs to be repaired so I havent worn it in a long time. All my jewelry is from charming charlie/claire’s/etc.

      Workplace: business casual law firm, on the very very casual side, west coast.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Government, So Cal.

      Wedding ring (wide, gold, Celtic knot design)
      Engagment ring (mediumish diamond and largeish two-tone gold setting — worn on right hand because wedding band is very wide)
      Citizen stainless steel watch with tiny diamonds and mother of pearl face
      These three are worn every day

      Today I am wearing dangly gold and smoky topaz earrings.

      I wear earrings every single day and wear a necklace maybe half the time.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Local government, very casual office. I’m wearing 1-ct diamond studs, a diamond circle necklace about 1.5 inches across, and a pearl ring, all gifts from my family. If you knew jewelry at all, you’d probably be blue to tell they’re all real, but they’re very understated and classic. I’ve gotten compliments on my ring and necklace because they’re very lovely, but it’s always seemed genuinely complimentary, never snarky.

    • Marshmallow :

      Business formal workplace, NYC.

      Wedding/engagement rings
      Withings analog smartwatch
      Coach sterling huggie earrings with a tiny row of rhinestones.
      White gold delicate necklace with small diamond heart pendant. Fun fact, this was a gift from my husband for my 16th birthday.

      I change up my earrings a lot because I have fairly short hair, but I don’t often change up the rest of my jewelry. I have a few geometric necklaces from COS that I’ll wear if my outfit is very plain and I need a pick-me-up.

    • 36″ strand of akoya pearls with a large pearl pendant/fastener thing
      45″ strand of wire-wrapped raw aquamarines with a few pearls
      pearl stud earrings
      two silver bangles
      watch (two tone Raymond weill)
      wedding ring

      I’m on team Real but it took a long time to get there. I’m older than most of you.

    • Anonymous :

      DC area, senior corporate finance position.

      Today, Omega watch, diamond engagement ring, 2ct total weight earrings, 1.25ct tw pendant. Diamond day, I guess. I have other fine jewelry that I don’t hesitate to wear to work.

      But just as often, I wear mid-price fashion jewelry (eg, Kendra Scott, David Yurman, Kate Spade) – usually a more statement-y/fun necklace and small earrings, sometimes bangles. When I started my career, ‘fun’ jewelry felt taboo, so I was totally thrilled when it became IMO common/unexceptionable (and I come from IB and felt comfortable wearing in that setting too) – a fun necklace can really finish an outfit.

      Watch and engagement ring are every single day though. And agree, nothing super dangly (although more because that’s not my style).

    • I’m in Europe, consulting, wearing a single plain yellow gold bangle.

  3. Anonymous :

    I wear lots of jewelry to my biglaw office, especially necklaces. I don’t usually wear dangly earrings, especially when I wear my hair up, but I’ll wear big earrings that don’t dangle. I’m known as dressing well and I think it has only helped my career.

    • Shopaholic :

      I’m also a lawyer and I like to wear jewelry to the office. Usually I just stick to a statement necklace (either longer and relatively simple or short and chunky). I rarely wear earrings to work but that’s usually because I’m lazy and the coordination required in putting on earrings seems excessive some mornings (I am obviously not a morning person).

      I always have a chunky watch and usually a ring on, but the ring isn’t too fancy.

    • Anonymous :

      DC biglaw here, a lot of the women associates and some of the more fashionable women partners wear statement necklaces and/or statement stud earrings on a regular basis — generally of the Baublebar/Kendra Scott/Ann Taylor tier (or nice-looking pieces from Target and its ilk). I don’t see a lot of fashion bracelets or drop earrings or big rings on a day-to-day basis though, people who wear those types of items usually only do so if it’s a fine jewelry piece.

    • +1 on no danglies in the office.

      • I always say no danglies with a necklace. Choose one or the other.

        I think a short dangly earring is OK for a formal office if not “junky” and not worn with a necklace.

  4. That necklace is _how much_?!?!

    I actually like it and would wear a knock-off version of it (which would be made out of colored crystals and which I would not pay more than $100 for) to work. Probably with a black top and skirt. I like to pair really loud jewelry with a relatively staid outfit. My office is business casual. I don’t think the price tag makes it inappropriate though; I just could not possibly imagine affording it.

    To the substance of the question, fashion or fine, you know your office. Loud necklaces aren’t conservative office attire, whether they’re plastic or a piece that literally cost more than my house like the one pictured.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I agree with all of this! Would totally wear this necklace with a plain black dress.

  5. Anonymous :

    Wow. Why oh why is this necklace so expensive? I think it looks tacky. Must be the stones?

    Peridot Paradise Collier Necklace with Diamonds & Sapphires
    $675,000.00
    Free Shipping + Free Returns
    Online Inquiries: NMF17_P9465 | Store Inquiries: #1909078
    Margot McKinney Paradise Collier necklace, features an exceptional Burmese peridot pendant.
    Prong-set, cabochon-cut Paraiba tourmaline, Lightning Ridge opal, green tourmaline, and naturally colored, cultured South Sea pearls surround Burmese peridot and collar.
    Mixed-cut white diamonds, sapphires, and tsavorite garnets accents set in 18-karat white and yellow gold.
    246.03 total Paraiba tourmaline carat weight.
    38.93 total South Sea pearl carat weight.
    22.19 total Lightning Ridge opal carat weight.
    18.92 total sapphire carat weight.
    16.25 total Burmese peridot carat weight.
    13.06 total green tourmaline carat weight.
    9.22 total tsavorite garnet carat weight.
    6.90 total diamond carat weight.
    Box and tongue clasp with safety lock.
    Approx. 19″L with 2″ center drop.

    • Anonymous :

      I think it’s pretty but $675K is an insane amount of money. I can’t imagine how wealthy I’d have to be to consider spending that much money on a necklace.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Right? I think it’s gorgeous and I would totally buy a semi-precious version.

        But the price is what I paid for my house!

  6. There are only two types of jewelry that are going to get you talked about in most workplace settings:

    1) something truly garish (think Flava Flav clock)
    2) a diamond engagement ring over 3 carats (we can debate whether this is fair or appropriate – but it’s going to get you talked about)

    So you may as well wear what you want because only 1 and 2 are going to garner attention, and there’s nothing you can do about that anyway.

    • Well I guess you could avoid wearing 1?

      But I agree, if it goes with your outfit wear whatever. I usually wear a tissot watch and Tiffany necklace I have, but have also worn a terra cotta necklace, a necklace a friend got me from Greece etc

    • Actually, I had a coworker get talked to for wearing small hoop earrings. She was told that hoop earrings look “sl*tty”. This was at a conservative finance-related office. It became a running joke in the office since so many people thought it was completely absurd. “There goes Megan and her sl*tty earrings!”

      • BabyAssociate :

        This is ridiculous, but I remember this being a thing when I was in middle school “bigger the hoops, bigger the **”

      • I dont know why but this reminds me of Gretchen Weiners and her hoop earrings…

        Yikes though!

      • Eeek! I wear pretty much three pairs in steady rotation – and two of those pairs are hoops! But they are pretty small, tiny almost. A gold pair and a sterling pair. I also have a set of 1 ct. CZ studs that enter the rotation.

        The CZ studs were an impulse purchase at Nordstrom Rack. I am loving them and think I might want to upgrade to a nicer pair.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I tend to agree with this (the OP, not that hoop earrings are slutty). Years ago I worked with somebody who had a FIVE carat engagement ring that was, no kidding, as big as a nickel. It was crazy and people definitely talked about it. She totally didn’t care, though, so it didn’t matter.

  7. It’s hard to tell from the picture whether this necklace would be office appropriate. It depends on the bling/sparkle factor. I have two necklaces similar to the one pictured. One is very sparkly so I don’t wear it to work, the other is more muted and I used to wear it to work when I felt it was in fashion.

    Which brings me to my next point. When a particular style is “in” it becomes more acceptable in workwear. See statement necklaces and ankle boots. I might’ve worn the featured necklace to work ~5 years ago (has it really been that long?) when statement necklaces were “in” but I wouldn’t wear it now. Not because it’s inappropriate, per se, it’s just out of place and dated in an environment where everyone else is wearing more simple pieces.

  8. Anonymous :

    I don’t wear costume or “fashion” jewelry, I don’t care for the way it looks. I have a strong dislike for statement necklaces. If you only wear “fine” jewelry, than you are likely limited to less bling unless you are very wealthy. Today I am wearing my engagement ring — large round solitaire in platinum, my platinum wedding band, a gold cross and chain, and diamond studs. Sometimes I add a bracelet, which is made up of cats with yarn balls that are diamonds.

    • “Sometimes I add a bracelet, which is made up of cats with yarn balls that are diamonds.”

      Where did you get that? It sounds awesome.

    • I have a lot of natural stone jewelry that I wouldn’t put in the fine jewelry category but that is not costume either. It’s mostly not expensive stuff but I like the look of it better than typical ‘fashion’ jewelry. And it tends to stand the test of time better too. So I don’t think you need to be a millionaire to have something statement-y that isn’t also fake.

    • Anonymous :

      I think a cat bracelet is waaay tackier than “fashion” jewelry even if it is real diamonds.

  9. I wear a Cartier Tank Americaine watch and a set of three David Yurman bracelets (watch and bracelets on different wrists) every day. I mix up the necklaces and earrings; today I’m wearing small titanium hoop earrings (the style Kat often refers to as “huggies”).

  10. I stick to ‘daytime’ jewelry. Sometimes it’s fine (today that means a delicate diamond pendants and small huggie white gold and diamond earrings), somedays it’s not (e.g., a long chunky brass chain necklace I got at Club Monoco).

    I tend to avoid anything that screams super cheap or super expensive. This is my philosophy for work and non work though.

    • You hit the nail on the head, “daytime” vs. “nighttime” or “evening” or “going out”. And I love your second paragraph too.

  11. Anonymous :

    I’m a small town government lawyer. My daily jewelry is a sterling silver locket, small white gold huggie hoops with channel set diamonds, and either my undergrad class ring (white gold and sapphire) or a sterling ring with approx. 2 ct of tourmaline. I keep it super simple, but sometimes I feel it’s TOO boring.

  12. heatherskib :

    My every day wear (including weekends when I’m out and about in t shirt and jeans)tends to be pearl studs that were a honeymoon gift from my hubby, my wide white gold wedding band, a vintage mens watch, and my pendant/brooch that was an Etsy custom design. It has a couple small rubies and a largish pearl center in burnished sterling. I have a 100″ string of pearls and a pearl bracelet, then I have a couple nicer organic looking sterling bracelets and a pair of largish sterling hoops in the same style that I wear. I have my eye on a signet ring I want, I want a pair of ruby studs, and I’m looking for the perfect diamond drops that can be worn for work formal or cocktail attire, but that’s it for my jewelry collection! I can’t wear most costume jewelry so it helps me narrow my choices!

  13. Annony Moose :

    Most of my jewelry is “fine” jewelry, I guess. Mostly I wear sterling silver, as I prefer the color to gold, and some costume earrings irritate my skin.

    For work, I tend to stick to silver earrings without gemstones, although I have a few pairs with semi-precious stones like lapis and rose quartz that seem fine for work. But it is definitely a business casual environment–many people wear jeans every day. I have a lot of earrings and change them to go with what I’m wearing.

    I have a silver watch with a black leather band that I wear daily. And if my outfit seems to need it, a few silver necklaces. No rings, because typing with rings on just feels weird.

    My nice pair of diamond studs seems too dressy for my work environment, so I leave them at home.

  14. Ha, several years ago I purchased a pair of blue topaz earrings that are on the larger side (7 or 8mm) in a simple gold setting. When I showed them to my mother-in-law she was downright appalled that I would consider wearing them during the day. My feelings were really hurt at first, but she is fairly old-fashioned and I’m a rebel. So, now my husband and I call them my wh**re earrings, lol. And yes, I wear them during the day to work and whenever I feel like it. They probably look like costume jewelry to others but they give me confidence.

    • BabyAssociate :

      Those earrings sound gorgeous!

      • Off-key Valkyrie :

        They sound very similar to some my mom gave me for Christmas. Mine are a little smaller, (4 or 5 mm?) but I’d absolutely wear ones like yours if I had them!
        Mine match my blue topaz engagement ring :)

    • Another rebel right here. I have a giant blue topaz and diamond ring and matching earrings. I wear them all the time, day or night, because they are gorgeous and I don’t care. Your earrings sound beautiful!

  15. PatsyStone :

    I think it all depends on the overall context of the outfit and your features in addition to the office setting. I’m kicking it in my academic office with my typical seiko watch, wedding/engagement rings, and ann taylor “modern classic brilliant studs.” I buy a pair or two of the studs over the course of a year since I lose earrings constantly, and wear them most days. They’d probably look overly large on someone with more petite features, but they look right on balance for me (and I highly recommend). I’ll wear more interesting costume jewelry from time to time, depending on the outfit.

    Almost all of my fine jewelry is from my mom, who gifts my sisters and I with pieces from her collection on significant occasions. Those are my favorite, but I rarely wear them in my current “working mom on the go” look (i.e. all the ponte).

    • Baconpancakes :

      Good point! I have to wear either bigger rings or purposely delicate and tiny rings because I have man hands. A regular sized ring looks pathetic on me. (Fortunately I plan on a family heirloom engagement ring so the cost of a decent sized diamond isn’t an issue).

      • Calibrachoa :

        Man hands unite! Usually when I look at rings that are not specifically for large hands, the biggest ones will fir my pinky, if that.

        • Wide, short fingers. I love rings but they don’t love me. SAD

          (weak. low energy. tremendously terrible.)

  16. I work at a Fortune 500 company, style is business casual. I always wear my pearl earrings and engagement/wedding rings (2 carat, yellow gold). A lot of days I will wear a ring on the right hand, such as a sapphire or ruby in yellow gold.
    My necklaces would also fall into the fine (but not too expensive) jewelry group: gemstone (ruby, sapphire, diamond, etc) necklaces. On rare occasions I will wear pearls or simple fashion jewelry.
    I wear no bracelets but an Apple watch (I am in my late 20’s).

  17. I think it really has to do with the rest of your outfit and what others routinely wear. I work with a woman that has a fashion necklace for every shade of the rainbow and wears them to match the shirt she is wearing that day, but she also dresses far more casually as does her department.

    Most days I wear my engagement ring, Cartier watch, and either pearl or diamond earrings. Except for the engagement ring, which is new, I have been wearing these pieces for over 10 years, as a college student, law student, and now as a lawyer. That’s not to say I don’t have any fun more costume-type jewelry. I have a long black beaded tassel necklace (sort of art deco-looking) that I wear a lot, even though it is from Banana Republic. It looks sharp even though it is cheap. I also have a mid-length necklace that looks like links of tortoise shell that looks really professional, even though it is plastic and from Ann Taylor. I also have a real mid-length pearl necklace that I wear a lot but will also wear the costume-fake one from Nordstrom when I want a different length. But I am in an all-male environment in my department and wear a sheath dress nearly every day.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Can people tell the difference between real and fake pearls just by looking at them on someone else? I have a classic mid-length real pearl necklace too as well as a couple of different lengths or with alternating stone sizes. I can tell when I hold them which is the better quality but I don’t think I could tell just by looking at someone wearing them.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Rarely. If they’re REALLY cheap pearls you can tell, but mostly they look interchangeable from 3+ feet away. Up close, real ones have an unmistakable luster, but it’s only you who can see that anyway.

      • i can tell but I’m a pearl ho.

        I don’t think most people can.

  18. I wear all types of jewelry depending on my outfit. Black wrap dress + statement necklace. Tweed jacket + pearls. Printed dress + simple necklace. A lot depends on the neckline too. With dresses and tops that show more skin, I am more likely to wear a substantial necklace.

  19. Calibrachoa :

    As I said above, having a lot of visible piercings and bling-y glasses (thank you, IT and your ridiculous casualness) means I don’t wear a lot of additional jewelry at work – and if I do it’s a costume piece because I am a klutz who is hard on jewelery, but understated – it might be quirky but discretely so.

    I would not wear that to work because I feel it would be a logistical nightmare just in case I break it :P

    • bellatrix :

      Co-signed on the glasses. Well, glasses in general, but mine in particular — mine are cat-eyes with a design on the side, so I try to keep the rest of my jewelry pretty minimal around my face. Earrings are almost always buttons/studs or simple hoops, and necklaces are either long or very delicate.

      My office is the casual end of business casual, so I could pretty much get away with whatever, but I try to add interesting jewelry to dress up some of my outfits. I feel more finished with an interesting necklace or bracelet. And I’m in my very very very late 30s, so I can’t pull off the disheveled look like my younger officemates can.

  20. I think it depends on the office/culture. My old boss came from a wealthy family, the kind that had multiple hospitals wings with her father’s name attached. A number of people on staff assumed her very tasteful, very beautiful ‘diamond’ jewelry pieces were real and ‘too fancy’ for the non profit setting. I don’t think it would have been notified at all at a Big Law or corporate firm.

    I work for a very casual tech company now. I save my pearls for client meetings after receiving one too many “so when’s your interview” comments from coworkers.

    • Baconpancakes :

      That would kill me. Pearl earrings are my signature.

    • Yeah, the company I work at has a very narrow dress code/accessories window. Too formal and you get the “when’s your interview?” and “out of laundry?” (lots of engineers here) comments.

  21. The necklace is beautiful – the kind of thing I’d like to have lent to me to wear with a turquoise blue or peridot green gown on the Academy Awards red carpet. If I ever had reason to be on an Academy Awards red carpet, ha!

  22. As stated above, I love fashion jewelry and big necklaces, but I would not wear the pictured necklace to work. Like others, I think sparkly is best left for non-work events. My statement necklaces are generally metal, plastic, or stone.

    Also this is my little bugaboo, but I don’t like bracelets in the office. They make it too hard to type. And now that I don’t wear them I see them as weekend jewelry, not office appropriate. For me, anyway. But I have a wrist thing – I can’t stand to have them covered. I used to get the creepy crawlies watching Rachael Ray cook with her sleeves touching the bottoms of her palms.

  23. Legally Brunette :

    I’m Indian, and I decided a few years ago that rather than letting my gold jewelry collect dust in the safe, I was going to actually wear them! Not the blingy pure 24 karat stuff mind you, but I have a lot of gold-plated jewelry that is beautiful and tasteful, and definitely not dainty. I get so many compliments on the jewelry, I wonder why I waited so long to wear them.

    I have a fairly large face and I need to wear bigger earrings or otherwise they just don’t show up on me, if that makes sense. So I wear fairly large earrings and dangly ones sometimes too, but I don’t feel it’s too much on me.

    • Life is short. Wear ALL the jewelry!

      • Legally Brunette, I made a similar decision – i chose to wear some of the gold :)
        I’m mid-late 20s and work in a startup casual setting. I decided that dainty bangles (think Tanishq) , small diamond earrings and smaller dangers go just fine with jeans and are a lot less blingy than statement pieces from Claires/H&M etc!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I love this! I have a statement necklace that I wore for my wedding (although not a typical wedding kind of necklace) and after never having a chance to wear it on weekends, I gave in and wore it to work. It might be a bit much, but the rest of my outfit is totally conservative so I just go with it. It makes me happy to wear it and I have received compliments on it. Its this one: https://www.jcrew.com/p/B3401

      Similarly, I’ve really wanted this necklace but never spent the money. It might be too much to wear to work for some people, but with a crisp white shirt I think it would be awesome. https://cdnc.lystit.com/photos/391d-2016/02/09/jcrew-caravan-blue-midnight-floral-necklace-blue-product-1-372929141-normal.jpeg

  24. Diamond stud earrings – not too small, not too big and a small gold hoop in my second hole
    Short gold chain necklace that is not particularly dainty
    Left hand rings – wedding band (plain gold) and engagement ring (fairly small diamonds) and gold and semiprecious stone family ring with my boys’ birthstones

    That’s it. Usually I wear a ring on my right hand too, but I forgot this morning. And often I layer 2 silver necklaces instead of the gold one.

    Most of the jewelry I wear is sentimental in some way, though I do occasionally wear fun stuff.

    I work in a business casual office, more on the casual side of the spectrum.

  25. I love that the featured necklace is an affiliate link! I hope someone buys it and gives Kat the commission! (haha)

  26. Fortune 20 company finance dept, business casual. Early 30s.

    Today: White gold and diamond thin wedding band (my engagement ring, just over 1ct, is too bulky for me so I only wear it on “nicer” occastions)
    Fitbit Blaze watch
    Thin gold-tone Gorjana costume necklace
    Kate Spade abalone stud earrings.

    I like more variety in my wardrobe, so much of what I wear is costume jewelry. Nothing too bling-y or large, though, mostly Kendra Scott studs and delicate necklaces, Kate Spade studs (a bit larger & more colorful than normal ones), or Gorjana. I occasionally wear hoops (and I’m not sorry) and I have two Kendra Scott Harlow statement necklaces I’ll sometimes wear over a plainer top or under a blazer/cardigan. I’ve been complimented on those necklaces in a genuine way.

    On more formal business occasions, I have genuine diamond studs and a set of pearl jewelry to choose from. As I get older, I’d like to buy more quality fine jewelry- wish list includes a diamond and white gold right ring and a new set of black pearl jewelry.

  27. Seriously, wear whatever you want. The end.

  28. First time poster, long time jewelry ho, physician (no direct patient contact).

    My workplace is “business casual” but it is extremely blue collar AND on the West Coast. Tattoos, piercings, leggings, Uggs, hoodies with skeletons printed on them apparently all meet the dress code here.

    My everyday stuff that doesn’t change:
    Left wrist – Cartier love bangles in white and yellow gold, stacked
    Left hand – Wedding set – Cartier love all diamond bands, white gold, regular and mini sizes, stacked
    Ears – Gabriela Artigas yellow gold infinite tusk earrings w/ pave diamonds, small diamond stud in 2nd hole

    I collect antique/vintage jewelry so the rest of it gets mixed up. In the summer I lean towards vintage Navajo turquoise & sterling pieces – sometimes a couple of cuffs mixed in with the Cartier, sometimes a right hand ring, other times a small pendant. I save my big vintage squash blossom necklace for “formal” summer events, work-wise, never a regular workday. In the winter it’s more yellow gold, I like to layer a couple of necklaces with pendants (such as a YG Cartier screwdriver, small pave diamond pieces from Mizuki, Marla Aaron locks, little evil eyes, figa hands, and so forth). As long as it doesn’t make noise and will easily fit under a pair of gloves, it’s fair game.

    Of note, I got a small ladies’ size vintage steel Rolex and 2 ctw studs when I first started practicing. The Rolex really just felt too try hard, especially in my workplace – I sold it. The studs I kept because I got them after passing my boards. I haven’t worn them in years but there’s a sentimental aspect to them. I always assumed my Cartier pieces went under the radar at my workplace – no logos, if you don’t count the screw motif – I wouldn’t think anyone there knew what they were. Turns out I was a little wrong but I don’t care – as a person of authority there plus having just turned 40 I don’t care. The BEST part of getting older is not giving a damn what other people think!

  29. I don’t wear much jewelry to work, but my current struggle is that in my new job, I have to wear a badge on a lanyard around my neck (they don’t allow us to pin them to our clothes or wear them on our belts) and now I can’t wear any of my fun long necklaces any more, because the lanyard and the necklace get tangled.

    • put id on necklace!

    • Heather Harrell :

      I started buying the Vera Bradley lanyards instead of using the cheap round braided cord ones. I wish I could find a leather one I liked. but the thin sewn flat ones don’t seem to tangle with either chains or my pearls.

  30. I’m an engineering manager at a fairly conservative company and I still have the potential to spend time in the lab. I can’t wear any jewelry that would get caught in equipment or couldn’t be quickly taped down or removed (if it could be secured somewhere). People who work in the lab typically wouldn’t wear more than a couple of rings and maybe stud earrings. Possibly a short chain that has no potential to get caught in anything. Our ID has to be visible outside of the lab, so lots of people wear it on a quick-release lanyard.

    Today, I’m wearing a wedding band and a class ring. On days that I pull my hair back, I’ll wear small studs.

    Even the non-lab workers are fairly conservative – the general counsel sometimes wears small hoops, a short necklace, and a single bracelet, but often not even that. If someone wore a costume version of the necklace above, it would be water-cooler discussion for a week.

  31. I work in a DC government-ish job. Business casual, but plenty of days can be jeans days. I have 22 carat huggies and a kind of blingy necklace pendant – it’s all gold but a mix of white and yellow. Small, though. Two relatively discreet gold bangles. I also have dangly baroque black pearls and dangly baroque white pearls (these are about an inch long – just the pearl part – so they are pretty visible even with my hair down). A watch, wedding band, and simple gold pinky ring on my right hand. Those are fairly typical to do either the pearls or the gold — not all at once! — but I also have statement earrings (like big smoky topaz drops) and necklaces (36′ black freshwater pearls) which if I’m wearing, I do one or the other, not statement necklace AND earrings. I go more “crazy” when I’m not facing gov (typically defense) clients. I grew up with a mom who loved jewelry and take after her so I have a lot and despite my standard “uniforms” try to keep it in rotation. I am not a dress/skirt person so this is how I express my femininity.

  32. Anonymous :

    This is a timely post because I’m building my fine jewelry collection. I need bracelets that are 6.3 inches or smaller, and I’m not sure where to look. Most are 7.5 inches or larger.

  33. A lot of the major jewelry retailers now have a personalized section online and offer different sizes for bracelets. You could also buy the regular bracelet and have a jeweler shorten the length and make earrings with the leftover if the style fits.

  34. Is there a advantage and disadvantage if you are wearing too much jewelry in the office ?

  35. Really great knowledge You have provided to us so thanks a lot for sharing this such a wonderful blog with us .one of my friend was always in one confusion that when she get ready for the office at that time she always got late to pick the best jewellery to wear in the office ,but now after reading your blog I can give her better advise regarding jewellery which can wear in office easily.

  36. Really great knowledge You have provided to us so thanks a lot for sharing this such a wonderful blog with us .one of my friend was always in one confusion that when she get ready for the office at that time she always got late to pick the best jewellery to wear in the office ,but now after reading your blog I can give her better advise regarding jewellery which can wear in office easily.

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