How to Carry a Blackberry and Wear an ID Badge — with Style

I am Batman - 63/365, originally uploaded to Flickr by Amarand Agasi.

2016 Update: We still stand by this advice on how to look stylish with an ID badge, but you may also want to check out our advice on how to look professional but still be prepared for workplace emergencies.

Ever wondered how to look stylish while carrying your ID badge and Blackberry?  Today’s reader wonders the exact same thing! (Pictured at left: I am Batman – 63/365, originally uploaded to Flickr by Amarand Agasi.)

I thought perhaps you could help answer a question about how to stylishly wear work-mandated items such as badges and blackberrys. At my office we are required to wear our ID badges at all times, in plain view, above the waist. 90% of people opt to wear those cheap cloth neck lanyards, but I just find them hideous and tacky. Is there anything I can use to attach my ID badge (vertical credit card size and shape) to my shirt or jacket without poking holes in my clothes everyday?

The second item is my blackberry. Carrying my purse everywhere (meetings, etc) seems like overkill, and no one else does it. Since I don’t wear always wear a belt I usually just clip the blackberry to my pocket, but this tends to stretch out my pocket or to just look plain strange. But what should I do if my outfit doesn’t have pockets OR a belt? Is there a better solution than just carrying my blackberry in my hand?

 blue black and gold retractable glass id badge holderFor the first item — ID badges. Hmmn. Yes.  Well, one option is to find a beaded lanyard instead of a cloth one — a few websites turned up in a Google search (Medalye Designs, Womanrare Designs), and I’m sure you can find a number of Etsy sellers who either sell something similar or will be happy to create something for you.  A search for “ID Badge Holder” on Etsy also turns up this gorgeous retractable ID holder that looks like a brooch made from art glass (pictured at right) from Etsy seller jewel2jule. (It has a clip, so no holes are necessary.)  Readers, what other fun ways have you found to wear your ID?

Samsill Sterling Zipper Pad Holder As for the second item about the Blackberry — to be honest, I’ve primarily just seen women carry them in one hand to and from meetings.  However, situations do arise that require a secure place for your Blackberry — going to a meeting and returning to your office with a box, heavy books, or other awkward items like poster boards.  (Oh, the glamorous life!) The blazer pocket is a great “easy” answer to the how-to-carry-the-Blackberry dilemma— the fabric is usually sturdy enough to hold a Blackberry, and the pocket is usually large enough.  (I am now curious about whether my love for blazers stems from this very need, especially since my trousers don’t usually have pockets (or if they do I’ve had them sewn shut, which is just more flattering for me).  Besides, as well all know, I love a blazer anyway for a quick and easy way to convey authority.  (If you think your jacket only has “faux” pockets, take another look — I’ve written before about cutting open pockets and other things that manufacturers often sew shut.  In fact, while we’re on this topic, here’s a PSA:  Ladies, don’t forget to remove the lightly-sewn “X” that closes the slit on your skirts, jackets, and overcoats!)  Another option is to find a leather portfolio that zippers shut in some way — basically like a grown-up Trapper Keeper.  (For example, pictured at left is the Samsill Sterling Zipper Pad Holder, available at Office Max for $31.99. Amazon has something similar for $41.40.)  I found this particularly handy because in addition to being a way to carry a Blackberry if needed, I could also keep the portfolio “stocked” with tape flags, post-its, extra pen, and more things in there which might come in handy if a “quick” meeting turns into a four-hour ordeal.  (I’ll admit it, I kept lip gloss in there too!)  You might also want to consider a carrying case for your Blackberry, such as this one from Uncommon Goods.

Readers, do you struggle with carrying Blackberries, IDs, and other work-mandated items?  How do you manage?


  1. I’m a big fan of the retractable clip, although I’ve never seen a pretty one like Cat listed here (I’ve found mine from office depot or even a few gas stations). However, I usually wear them on my waistband at the hip, which wouldn’t fit the letterwriter’s restrictions. It might be awkward to try to attach to a lapel, although maybe not as awkward as wearing a lanyard (which I hate). (At one former workplace, I would attach it to my purse strap, because I only ever needed it if I was going out, where I would, of course, take my purse, and didn’t have to wear it all day.)

  2. For the blackberry, I use the holder with a clip and clip it to my skirt/pants on the small of my back. Usually no belt required because it’s fairly light and doesn’t weigh down too much. Once I get somewhere, I take it off and put it on the table or on my lap usually.

    • I do this, too, if I really need to have my BlackBerry with me and don’t have enough hands/pockets to manage it otherwise. It does have the advantage of not pulling at your waistband down at one side, which is really unattractive for men and women alike.

      On a related note, I would like to publicly object to the fact that so many women’s suits do not have the inside-the-jacket pocket that men’s suits do. I have one suit that has one and it’s ridiculously useful.

      • BigLaw Refugee :

        Agree! One of the best things about custom-made suits like Moi-meme is you can get them! Although I’d worry that my blackberry would make my jacket hang funny. It’s great for ID cards and business cards, though.

      • Just bought a new suit from Ann Taylor — complete with inside jacket pocket. I was psyched. My husband didn’t appreciate it — should have known you ladies would!

  3. Because the lanyards/beaded chains exacerbate my RSI-related neck strain, they’ve never been an option. My current job doesn’t have an above the waste requirement for our ID’s, but a previous one did. I still made do with a clip like thing (not the kind that slips over things, but the kind that’s got a spring in it so it actually clips your clothes). If you’ve got a cardigan or blazer, clipping it off the side of the opening doesn’t look too strange, but sometimes I’d just have to clip it onto my shirt. It’s slightly odd but since everyone’s wearing them it’s not too weird. Just be careful not to go too close to the breast because then it will be just hanging off you, floating in air. But generally, I find that the clip does not damage my clothes and is pretty versatile (I still use one though I have more options b/c I can wear it below my waist now).

  4. For the ID badge, use the same pants clip men use. Should be in stock in your security office. You can hook it onto belts, waistbands, whatever — and carry it on the days you wear a dress. I’ve completely switched to this over the awful neck lanyard. There are rare days I can’t find a spot to clip it; then I carry it with my other stuff. I *have* to have mine all the time, we can’t get around our building without it (go to different floors, etc) and it’s required.

    For the Blackberry, put it in its holster and clip it to the notepad you’re carrying. If you’re heading to a meeting, you’re likely not going empty-handed anyway. I refuse to clip mine to clothing, ever.

    • I usually don’t take my BB to in-house meetings (I figure people can find me if it’s really urgent and I find it really annoying when others are checking their email during meetings), but if I do need to take it for some reason, I’ll just clip it to my notepad.

      I wish there were some male-Corporette counterpart who could tell men that they do themselves no favors by clipping their Blackberrys or cell phones (or, worse, both) to their belt. That is NOT a good look.

  5. I would just hold the blackberry in hand, but a portfolio like Kat suggests is a GREAT idea for going to meetings – then you can also have a notebook and pen for taking notes.

    No advice on the ID, I’m afraid – I always used to keep mine in my pocket.

  6. What about a magnetic sleeve for the ID badge? Something similar to this:
    I have no idea if this manufacturer in particular is any good, but I have attended several conferences with magnetic name tags that look similar to those at the link. They’re nice because you can attach them to virtually any material without damaging it. Tough to put on discreetly if you’re wearing a turtleneck sweater, though.

    I used to keep my ID badge on a retractable clip attached at my belt line. Best alumni swag I’ve ever received. But then we moved to a new office where I also have to carry traditional metal keys, which makes them too heavy to wear on that clip without making my pants sag — sad but true. So now I use a lanyard. The jewelry-looking lanyards are a nice idea but I would never change them, and they couldn’t possibly go with every outfit. I actually prefer to wear a loud cloth lanyard I got at a conference, so at least I look like I’m not trying to coordinate my lanyard, rather than look like I am trying and failing.

    But I am also someone who carries the same purse every day because I just can’t be bothered to change it up.

    • Wouldn’t a magnetic holder deactivate the ID badge?

      • That hadn’t occurred to me. I think it depends on what type of badge you have. Certainly it would be a concern with ID badges that have magnetic stripes. But I think there are other types that would not be affected.

      • It would totally deactivate the badge. I used to have my keys on a magnetic holder (so I could attach them to the fridge and find them easily). Within weeks, my badge was dead.

    • This is what I was going to suggest (although I was going to suggest hacking one together using those peel and stick magnets you can buy–had no idea you could buy a pre-made magnetic ID holder). I had something like this when I worked in a retail store for a short time. Worked great regardless of what I was wearing. But this might not be a good idea if the ID badge has a magnetic swipe strip on it. If it is just an ID though, or one of the ones that has a chip in it, it would be worth a try.

    • I think if you had a magnetic “broach” of sorts with a clip on it, you could clip the ID to that, and the magnet wouldn’t be touching the ID ? Not sure how I have explained it, but that is how I carry my ID. The magnetic “broach” is something I made, it has a metal back and then I just use a magnet behind my shirt (very strong and small) to keep the broach in place.

  7. Corporate Tool :

    I really like the leather portfolio. I can slip my id into it, as well as pens/notebooks/etc, and grasp the blackberry around it in the same hand. It also means that I always have my business cards handy, in the front pocket.

  8. Anonymous :

    I have one of those zippered leather portfolios and I like it, but the size I have is a little large for me – it can fit a letter-sized pad and so therefore is too big to carry in anything but a large tote. It also tends to take up a lot of space on a meeting table, which can be a problem in crowded meetings.

    I am on the hunt for a smaller zippered pad holder but haven’t found one I like yet. The zipper does come in handy, particularly in instances where you have to carry a LOT of papers around for a meeting.

  9. I’ve seen a woman wear a Coach ID holder around her neck…with the Coach logo on the fabric strap and actual holder itself. I’m all for treating yourself to whatever brand floats your fancy for accessories or anything else but that was just…special.

  10. For my blackberry, I’ve found this wristlet/pouch ( to be very useful. I can easily slip it over my wrist to carry, freeing my hand, or it fits neatly in my pocket or purse. You can carry business cards or cash in the sleeve (but not credit cards because of the magnets).

    • Anonymous :

      I have the same one and love it.

      • I was going to suggest the same thing. I usually carry my blackberry and ID badge in a wristlet. I don’t have the requirement of keeping mine above my waist though…

  11. When I’m going to a meeting I generally carry my files in a “redweld” — an expandable file folder that’s closed on three sides and open on the top (something like Even if I only have a couple small documents to bring I’ll still put them in a redweld, where I also stash my ID, blackberry, extra pens, etc. It’s like my temporary office purse when I’m going to meetings and that way I don’t show up with my hands full of 40 different things.

    • Nic,

      Great idea, by the way!

      Here’s another resource for those “temporary” purses.

      Let me know if I can help you in any way.

  12. angeinT.O. :

    Re blackberry holder: Coach has cute wristlets that have just enough space to carry bb, change, credit cards etc. Might not always be the best option for meeting with clients. However, they are good for going on a coffee break/lunch etc when you don’t necessarily want to bring a purse…

    • I have a coach wristlet that I use exactly for this purpose. I personally think it’s fine for client meetings – a teeny coach tag is not that obnoxious.

    • I have a simple Fossil wristlet – so convenient.

    • Exactly what I was going to suggest. I have a Knomo one in red that works perfectly.

    • I also have a Coach wristlet for the Blackberry. It’s great for if you’re just carrying too much (think a stack of papers plus coffee), and it’s great for carrying one credit card or some money to go run to the cafeteria or for coffee.

  13. I would love to hear about creative solutions to this as well.

    I just wear my id on a long “silver” chain around my neck. I also put my office key on the chain so that I can have that handy. Phone usually goes into blazer pocket, or saving that I hold in my hand.

    I found this website that has really cute beaded & fair trade lanyards, but not sure if I need a cutesy id holder or should just make do with my chain. They also have adorable clip id’s for only $5. Strikes me as a great secret santa/ office gift for a coworker.

    • Doh! here’s the website:

    • Silver chain! Love it! Way better than something beaded, IMO

    • North Shore :

      I want the one with the monkey!

    • I use a gold and pearl beaded lanyard. Goes with everything and is another piece of jewelry. Mine has a magnetic clasp for quick break-away because I catch my badge on everything.

      I use a Kate spade wristlet/pouch for phone, pen, cash card etc. Works well though vie thought about a fancier iPad case that could hold such as I use that fornote taking in meetings.

  14. Mountain girl :

    I have 4 lanyards that I switch out according to my outfit- a black cloth one and black, brown and white beaded ones. My id badge attaches with an alligator type clip so it is just a matter of grabbing one in the morning and clipping my badge on. I leave them all in my car and slip them on in the parking garage.

  15. I only need my ID to get in and out of the building, but I need a separate card for the elevator, too, so I have both in a cute leather luggage tag that has my first initial on it. I keep it in my purse.

    More importantly – the blackberry. You can get the plain blackberry case that doesn’t have a belt clip. It’s more like a thin sleeve. I have several of these (because I misplace them all the time.) I carry my blackberry in its sleeve in my hand. All of the women and most of the men at my company do this. The clipped-on blackberry look has become very passe in corporate culture. Think of it this way – no one clips on their iPhone, and all of the cool kids have iPhones.

  16. I usually wear long necklaces so I got two inexpensive link necklaces, one “gold” and one “silver”. I just leave them in my office and attach my badge to the one that goes best with my outfit. They blend in with the rest of my jewelry and look great. I’ve gotten lots of compliments.

  17. has options for smaller leather portfolios. Good quality. Great gifts.

  18. I just got an iPhone and am trying to figure out the best holder for it…I am thinking of getting the Michael Kors holder – – but would love the opinion of the Corporettes – too much? (I was thinking the gold one)

    • Not my personal taste but I don’t mind the gold (if it’s primarily for business use, though, you may want a more sedate color). I’m wondering if it would be practical, though … the “flap” and the leather surrounding the screen looks like it would fold closed on your fingers / otherwise get in the way. Have you tried in person?

  19. I too, am now required to wear my ID badge around my neck (I used to alwasy just clip it at my waist with a reel-type clip). I have a few lanyards to switch out, depending on what I’m wearing. I have a thin black cord-type lanyard, a beaded one and the one I wear most often is a silver Brighton badge necklace: I actually picked mine up on Ebay. The only problem is it really limits your ability to wear other necklaces, so I’ve just upped my collection of cool earrings.

    As for the BB, I have a leather zipper portfolio not unlike the one that Kat posted, except it has an actual pocket on the inside for the BB. I’ve used that for years and it works really well.

    • I think it is best to go easy on the necklaces if you’re always adorned with a badge/keys/security fob. It’s too much competition.

  20. What about something like this (though preferably not in croc)?,pwp,c-100/f-10001+70017+4294967139/t-WOMEN%27S|WALLETS#

    I need to take 2 phones plus keys to meetings and I always feel like I’m fumbling around. A wristlet seems to be the perfect solution, but I’m trying to find something that is understated but not cheap looking.

  21. Anonymous :

    I found a very small Coach wristlet, Blackberry size. This avoids the risk of dropping it and keeps me hands-free to carry files, etc… I click the mandatory ID badge to the wristlet, and can also stuff reading glasses into the bag if I stand up the BB. Business cards slip in there too. Very handy. Professional. You can carry it everywhere with a bit of style and still have all the things you need without carrying the purse.

  22. For my cell phone, I have this strap attached to it, mainly to prevent myself from dropping it:

  23. I was just going to comment on the Brighton lanyards but see someone above already did. I work in a lab that requires badge-entry at every door, hallway, etc and they’re required to be showing at all times. I love the Brighton one that I have – nice sturdy silver, yet delicate and “pretty.” Kind of gives me a fashionable boost among lab coats and test tubes. It’s long enough that I don’t feel that it competes with most necklaces, although sometimes I find it’s enough of a necklace itself.

  24. faddybunion :

    I use a beaded badge holder for carrying my cellphone.

  25. Danny Diaper :

    I absolutely love wearing my ID Badges! They are so hot! At a time when so many are out of work, they are a delicious reminder that I have two jobs!

    I love my school neckchain ID Badge that I’m wearing right now where the chain threads through the chaining holes on my bulldog clip! And, I love wearing my ID Badge that is on a cloth lanyard that ends in what I call the “ring of obedience” which is attached to a wonderful ID Badge reel!

    I am addicted to wearing my employee ID Badges and wear them 24/7!!!

  26. Freddie Fungus :

    I am delighted with my school issued ID Badge where my neckchain threads through the chaining holes in my bulldog clip. I find wearing my ID Badge to be a total delight and sleep with my ID Badge around my neck at night!

  27. While providing convenient functionality to a wide range of users, badge works to improve the security requisites of an event or incident. ID badges can be formed in a number of varieties, such as standard blank PVC cards to magnetic stripe cards and highly sophisticated technology cards with embedded electronics.

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