Have you heard the phrase, “Your accessories can make or break your outfit”? Better yet, while getting dressed for work, have you looked in the mirror and thought, “My look needs a little something to make it pop?” Well, the good news is adding ethnic accessories to your professional wardrobe not only enhances your look, it’s also a great conversation starter that allows you to bring another piece of your authentic self to work.

Ethnic accessories refers to jewelry, bags, and footwear that are connected to a specific location, language, and or heritage. These articles are also seen as walking artwork as they tell a story, have a rich heritage, and carry a sense of pride. When you add these pieces to your professional look, they add character to your outfit.  You can build your wardrobe with classic pieces that are brought to life by vibrant hues and three-dimensional art. In a recent poll, 72% of respondents stated they wear ethnic accessories to work. Yes, wearing ethnic accessories to work is good for you!

Let’s take a look at an example: you decide to wear a tunic with pants and you add a Native American Squash Blossom necklace that is popping with color…you discover it suddenly brings your look to LIFE! Then, look at what happens next – you are at work and head into the break room to grab your lunch when someone who normally doesn’t speak to you, says, “I love that necklace” and this begins an organic conversation! In responding to the compliment, you give the history of the necklace and before you know it, you’re networking with the person and you find out about job openings in their group!

How did this happen? The answer is simple; accessories open opportunities for others to compliment you and vice versa.  Your accessories lead to “water cooler” conversations, the building of trust and before you know it you’re connecting with someone you’ve never spoken to before. Going a step further, ethnic pieces paired with business dress allows us to shed the monolithic look that many companies are slowing moving away from and promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace. If you haven’t done so before, try it…add an ethnic piece to your outfit and notice an extra feeling of pride when you step off the elevator or enter a room.  Experience the magic that happens next! On the flip side, take those gracious compliments and pay them forward – when you see someone wearing their ethnic accessories…whether it be a tie or necklace, start a conversation…After all, it’s good for you!


Nyota Byfield is the owner of Frugal Chics Roc, a women’s online boutique. Nyota has 20+ years experience in corporate America and holds a B.A. in Political Science from New York University and an M.B.A in Organization Management from Georgia State University. She enjoys reading, working out, volunteering, traveling, all things fashion, and spending time with her loved ones both furry and human!

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