There are many benefits of investing in staple accessories for office wear. They can help you create a million different looks with the same outfits, they can make a statement about your aesthetic and personality, and they can be extremely functional when you’re whizzing in and out of work. 

The 3 questions you need to ask yourself when buying staples are:

  1. Will I use this every day?
  2. Is the style classic/timeless?
  3. Does it make my life easier?

And, that’s how we arrived at the 10 staples you must invest in for your work wardrobe. *(Lead image courtesy Tjori, off-white pure wool shawl with Parsi Gara embroidery, INR 3,275)

1. Work Handbag

Opt for styles that have enough space. Shapes like a satchel, messenger, tote or bucket bag are roomy and functional. Also, neutral colours and durable materials are good bets when buying a bag. You don’t want to have to worry about rips, tears, stains, and dust marks. But, that doesn’t mean your bag can’t look cute at the same time. Most designers and lifestyle brands have rolled out handbags for women with laptop sectionals, double adjustable straps, plenty of zippers, and functional pockets—all this in fashion-forward prints and solid colours with stylish metal accents.

2. Sunglasses

While many think of sunglasses as an OTT and unnecessary accessory that makes you look like a snob, the truth is that sunglasses are essential when travelling around the city during the day time. They protect your eyes from the sun, glare, dust and dirt, and you can opt for photo-chromatic lenses that adjust to the light. In terms of styling, they’re a bold and confident statement to make and can really help accentuate the shape of your face.

3. Wrist Watch

Even though you’re used to checking the time on your phone, a classic watch can never be replaced. In fact, watches reflect very positively on a person’s character; it showcases you as someone who respects time, is reliable, and has a classic sense of style. The size of the dial and material of the strap are both very personal choices, but for workwear, be sure to opt for something scratch-resistant, waterproof and durable.

4. Stud Earrings

Fuss-free and not distracting, you can wear stud earrings in gold, diamonds, silver, or even opt for fashion jewellery. They look great when your hair’s pulled back and you can wear stud earrings for days on end, without them ever bothering you. They’re the most basic accessory to adorn when you’re in a rush. What’s more, they suit everyone without exception.

5. Pendant Necklace

When you’re planning to leave your hair down, opt for a pendant necklace that suits the neckline of your outfit. They have a way of accentuating the length of your neck and drawing attention to your collarbones. Also, pendant necklaces are delicate, which makes them subtle enough for everyday workwear, and the pendant can be a reflection of your personality. You can opt for a piece with enamel coating, precious and semi-precious stones, crystals, pearls, cutwork, or even animal and nature motifs.

6. Brooch & Lapel Pin

While you may not wear these every day, they’re a must-have in your workwear staples. Consider this: Most office events have a formal dress code where you can wear tailored pieces in neutral or solid colours. A lapel pin (small and delicate) is a great addition to your shift, sheath, jacket and blazer dresses, or even that high waist skirt-and-shirt combination. A brooch, which is a bit larger, is a good alternative for a more glamorous work event. It also is a good saree jewellery option and can enhance your Indian formal look.

7. Scarf Or Shawl

The most versatile of all accessories, scarves and shawls can really help you style your outfit. You can wear them the classic way, create a cowl pattern, belt them up, tie a bow around the neck, or even use them as a hairband or hair tie. Scarves and shawls are also extremely functional when you’re travelling to cover your hair, nose and mouth. And, they can help add a layer to your outfit when the office air conditioning is giving you the chills.

8. Belt

Just by cinching your belt at a different place, you can completely change the flow and form of any outfit. Place it right under the chest for an empire silhouette; belt it low on the tummy for a drop waist or peplum; opt to clasp it in the centre for a classic look; and, you can even belt it criss-cross to create a design element around your midsection. Usually, slim belts work great with separates while over-sized belts look better with dresses.

9. Shoes

No longer restricted to pumps and platforms, work shoes can now be stylish ballerinas, boots, gladiators, clogs, mules, sling-backs, loafers, moccasins, oxfords, or any other style really. What’s important to remember is at work, close-toed shoes are preferable, neutral and basic colours are appropriate, and your shoe style or heel size should not hinder the pace with which you get around in the office.

10. Hair Accessories

Practical, functional and fashionable, hair accessories are an all-weather wardrobe staple that you should invest in. Based on your hair length and how you like to wear your tresses, stock up on pins, clips, scarves, hair bands, ribbons, hair-ties or rubber bands to pull your hair together. The key is to buy quality hair accessories that won’t make your strands break, pinch or poke into your head, or slip-off easily. You want an accessory that can secure your hair in place from 9 to 5.

Karishma Roye Tyagi
Karishma Roye Tyagi

From a Features Writer to a Managing Editor, Karishma has spent over 10 years deep-diving into the strategy and execution of content and communications. She's driven by the exciting changes in the publishing industry where digital media has solidified its place right alongside the much-revered print medium.