A Businessman’s Guide to Jewelry in the Workplace: Three General Business Jewelry Rules

by Rachel Yeomans | March 3rd, 2010   

By Antonio Centeno

1. Keep it simple – With jewelry, a little goes a long way. In this article you will not see us mention gold chains, bracelets, or any sort of bling. These items simply do not belong in the workplace or on a man wearing a custom suit.
2. Match metal to metal - If your belt buckle is silver, so should the rest of your metal be. Cuff links, tie clips, and even the buckle on your shoes should match. The only clashing allowed are rings – wedding, class, or heirloom rings stand on their own and do not need to match.
3. Understand all jewelry sends a message – Whether it’s a wedding ring, class ring, or nose ring, a man’s jewelry sends a silent message. Ensure the signals you are broadcasting align with the personal image you are looking to project.

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A Man’s Watch – Keep it Simple and Elegant
Some people choose to define a man by his watch and assume the larger and more expensive the better; this is nonsense. A man’s business timepiece should be simple and elegant. When looking to purchase, choose a versatile watch that has a quality dark leather band and a classic mechanical timepiece with moving hands; you want either Arabic or Roman numerals encased in glass and steel. Save digital displays and plastic bands for the gym.

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Cufflinks – The key to wearing cufflinks in the workplace is to keep them simple and understated. Although the market is saturated with novel cufflinks depicting anything from your favorite football team to the Playboy bunny, it’s best to avoid these in the office. Your co-workers may not care, but the client who drops in unexpected and has radically different personal views may not understand your sense of humor.

Tie Accessories – A tie clip is a fashion statement unless you are going to be eating – then it serves the practical purpose of keeping your tie out of your food. A simple stripe of gold, silver, or some other metal is perfectly fine although men of short stature should avoid these horizontal lines all together. Tie chains serve the same practical purpose as the tie clip but remain unseen, while the tie tack is the backwards cousin best avoided. As that you should be purchasing quality ties, the last thing you want to do is sticks a pin through it when there are two perfectly fine alternatives that do not damage your neckpiece.

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Rings – A wedding ring can always be worn at work; the only instances I have seen it not allowed are in working environments where it could catch and damage the finger. In the US a plain band, of gold, silver, or platinum are the most common and are commonly accepted; there is not requirement for these to match anything. As for other rings such as a school or fraternal piece ring – understand that these pieces do send a message and wear them with pride but not in a manner that garners attention.

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Antonio Centeno is President of A Tailored Suit, an online American boutique fine-clothing merchant specializing in bespoke men’s suits, shirts, jackets, and overcoats. The company’s mission is to help men create the clothing that best enhances their individual style. Antonio studied men’s clothing design in London, Hong Kong, and Bangkok; he is a former US Marine with an MBA from UT Austin and a BA from Cornell College.