Professional, Smart & Chic – Can You Wear Big, Bold Jewelry to Work?

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about.

Today’s post is all about jewelry and inspired by the gorgeous dark green Trina Turk Monarch Sheath Dress that was featured on Commandress yesterday (shown on the right – so chic!). A few readers asked for jewelry suggestions and I’m delighted to share some ideas!

Over the past several years, I’ve become much more interested in jewelry – and slowly but surely I’ve also become more comfortable wearing bigger and bolder costume jewelry. My sister has a theory that the gravitas that comes with age makes bolder jewelry feel more appropriate. Makes sense to me!

I also have a theory that my preference for delicate jewelry was a holdover from navigating the 90s minimalist/grunge aesthetic during high school and college – an impressionable age when I wanted to follow big fashion trends even if they didn’t suit me or my taste (for the most part, they didn’t). Old habits are hard to break, so perhaps it took me too long to recognize and accept the very obvious: I am not a minimalist. I want my jewelry to have some presence – and some flash.

Shocking, right? But my story leads to an important piece of jewelry advice. Most beauty and make up professionals recommend choosing between a bold lip or a bold eye. I think this idea correlates very well to jewelry selection – especially in a professional setting. Yes, you can wear bold jewelry to the office, but each day you should choose between a bold earring or a bold necklace. 

Said another way, you don’t have to be a jewelry minimalist at most workplaces – but I recommend that you display your developing gravitas one big, bold jewel at a time.

I also recommend quiet jewelry for work – no jingle bells at the office, please!

Here is a selection of earrings and necklaces that would look fabulous with the Monarch Dress!  Each group starts with smaller pieces that glow quietly and builds up to a showstopper (or two). I’d also love to admire more jewels if any readers would like to share their suggestions!

These Cosmic Dust Earrings are vibrant, sparkly and small (1/2 inch). The set of three pairs of Cosmic Dust Earrings is $16 from Urban Outfitters.

Kendra Scott Fleur Earrings – $55 from Zappos. I can never resist a fleur de lis.

DANNIJO Bracco Earrings in “Emerald” – Made in the USA – available from Shopbop for $150. Also available in Emerald/Navy. I’ve been admiring these beauties for a very long time!

Miguel Ases Green Onyx Drop EarringsMade in the USA – $150 from Shopbop. My favorite green earring! It’s bigger than the others, so it’s probably for the best that you have longer hair if you want to wear this to the office.

Majorica Love Knot Baroque Pearl Necklace – White/Silver – $160 from Nordstrom. I have this necklace in Champagne/Gold – it is elegant and extremely versatile.

Juliet & Company Vintage Gold Lace Necklace – $42 from Shopbop. I love the delicate details on this substantial necklace. I bought a long gold necklace like this a few years ago and wear it much more often than I expected.

Amethyst and Peridot Swag Necklace – available from the Smithsonian Museum Store for $129.99 (originally $165). Great combination of two trendy colors: purple and green. The sparkle would tone down a bit when the necklace is worn over a dark dress.

This Kenneth Jay Lane Agate Gumball Medley Necklace is very long (42 inches) and could be worn doubled or tripled. Made in the USA. Available from Max & Chloe for $210. Gumballs are fun!

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Max & ChloeNordstrom, Shopbop, the Smithsonian Museum Store, Urban Outfitters and Zappos.


  1. Maura says

    I love this post – great jewelry! I especially like the Cosmic Dust Earring Set. It reminds me of some bold earrings I have that always get compliments: Bling by Jojo Loves You. I have Emerald and Bright Yellow, and they really make a statement. Thanks for the tips!