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Designer Labels In The Workplace: Fine or Frowned Upon?

by Richard Zakroff on March 10, 2017

Once you’ve grown your designer handbag and luxury item collection, it can be tempting to decorate every ensemble with your prized possessions. But not so fast—as they say, there’s a time and place! Have you ever contemplated wearing your designer items to certain social functions? Whether we like it or not, there are some general guidelines we should be aware of when dressing to impress. From birthday parties, to baby showers, to work, weddings, and even funerals, almost every occasion in our lives comes with its own dress code that should generally be followed.

One of the most commonly asked questions on this topic is whether or not designer labels are appropriate for the workplace. And, although there are many factors to consider, we think we’ve nailed down exactly how you can decide what’s right for you.


How much is too much?

The first thing you’ll want to establish is how much is too much. As you can imagine, a relaxed, neutral-colored bag usually sends a very different message than a big, flashy, bold one. But where do you draw the line? We’re breaking it down by color, style, and size to find out.

  • Color- As a general rule, when in the workplace, stick to muted earth tones or neutrals such as white, black, and, gray brown. Of course, navy blue and stripes are also considered acceptable neutrals when paired with the right outfit! Avoid any bright colors, such as reds and oranges, or crazy multi-color combinations that could be considered distracting in a work setting.
  • Style- Another point to consider is the style of the bag itself, including any hardware. A simple, classic bag may be considered more professional and accepted than an overly cutesy or unique one. General go-to’s are mid-sized totes, satchels, and over the shoulder handbags, which can also double as a briefcase due to their size and storage capabilities—perfect for a day in the office.
  • Size- The size of the bag is a less significant measure of whether it is appropriate for work, but is still a factor that can make or break a designer handbag in the workplace. You probably want to be carrying a bag that can be useful for work functions without getting in the way, which is why medium sized bags tend to be a good fit. Anything smaller, and it may look like an unnecessary accessory, and anything bigger might be just plain too big!

Where do you work?

Every place of employment has its own corporate culture that brings with it many unique social norms and expectations. Both the size and structure of the organization you work for can affect your level of comfort with displaying designer labels on the job. Working in a large, hierarchal environment, for example, is a lot different than working in a smaller, close-knit community of coworkers. As a general rule of thumb, you want to avoid upstaging your superiors or outshining your equals—there is a definite sweet spot when it comes to finding your place within the organization.

What are others doing?

This can be a difficult way to gauge whether or not it’s acceptable to sport designer handbags in the workplace, but if the information is available, then use it! Take a look around and see what other women in your workplace are wearing—if LV’s are the norm, then it’s probably okay to go for it. If you find that you’re the only fashionista at your job or you’re one of the few women in your role, you can always try doing your own thing (starting small, of course). Sometimes being the one to set the standard is fun, but it can also be risky. Avoid sending the wrong message about your image or professionalism and try to keep to the other standards listed above.

At the end of the day, your wardrobe is your choice, so do what you think is right for you. While it’s important to consider acceptable norms, it’s still okay to be yourself, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your work! Fashion statements are not usually a reflection of your qualifications or capabilities for the job you do, but it can affect how others perceive you. Keep this in mind before making any huge fashion statements. Otherwise, you strut your way through the office with that Birkin bag!