For way too many years, I worked in the Australian public service in a high level government job. My role was professional and I was often in and out of meetings where I was expected to tone it down. Way down. I wore lots of pants suits, some beige, lots of black and…confession – I even owned some plaid.
This wasn’t my natural way of dressing—I love exploring my personality through fashion, experimenting with colour and fun, quirky details.
So, to avoid falling asleep when I looked in the mirror each morning, I learned how to accessorise. In a place where fashion is unfashionable, I had to learn how to make a splash without breaking the dress code. Accessories provided the perfect solution.
After a decade, I ended up, among other things, starting a jewellery business called Tangs Design, such was my love for accessories! And, despite the plaid, those ten years also taught me some valuable lessons about how to give your boring work outfit a splash of personality.
Start with a good base.
Every woman should start with an amazing base—there is a reason we all own a little black dress. You must have jeans that fit, and amazing business pants or skirt. These are a staple of any professional’s wardrobe. If you don’t have them, go out and invest in a couple of quality staples that you actually want to wear. A solid base makes a perfect canvas. Add personality as required!
Heel to toe.
Your shoes should make a statement about you and that statement should be positive. I’m almost 6 foot, so it’s rare to find me in heels. I’m a big fan of flats and knee-high boots. You might rock a good mule, or a stacked ankle boot. Most importantly, make sure you have good quality items that are also comfortable, that way they can go with any outfit.
Accessorise for win.
I am a huge fan of pop colour earrings, so much so that they are the heroes of my jewellery label. Professional with a side of colour, and a flash of personality you can wear to work? Sign me up. Just because accessories can’t be king, doesn’t mean they can’t be killer. Featured below are Tangs Design Blue Mounds Pop Studs and Mosaic Glass Pop Studs.
Your accessories should follow you into the evening.
The accessories you wear today should be able to follow you into the evening for those post-work tapas and beyond. You should be able to wear it on a dancefloor on Saturday and to work on Monday. Invest wisely. You will get more wear out of good quality pieces that you love, saving you cash in the long run. Try Tangs Design Sparkling Golden Druzy earrings.
If it isn’t love, don’t buy it.
If it’s not a full body yes, it’s a full body no. Don’t be swayed by price tag or that special two-for-one offer. We all know the remorse that strikes when rifling through our wardrobes to see that ill-fitting jacket—bought because it was on sale, never to be worn again. If you don’t really love something, you aren’t going to wear it. Save your bank balance (and the planet) and don’t buy for the sake of it. You can do more with a capsule of good quality basics and funky accessories than a walk-in wardrobe filled with clothes you don’t love.
Jemimah Ashleigh, Creative Director, Tangs Design
Tangs Design is home to beautiful handmade bespoke jewellery pieces. Inspired by a love of jewellery and working with metals, Jemimah starting making jewellery pieces for her friends and family before formally starting Tangs Design in 2014. Years before starting Tangs Design, Jemimah worked in law enforcement. During a working holiday, Jemimah was in Manhattan, New York and she met (or quietly stalked) a silversmith at his jewellery studio. He showed her how to make her first ring and after coming home Jemimah continued to undertake silversmith classes.