Reader Request: Work Badge and Cell Phone Solutions

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Sarah sent me this question:

I was wondering if you had ever written anything on being stylish and having to wear a work badge. I work in an office (business casual, more business than casual). I like to be stylish. Or if you have written anything on having to keep a work phone with you at all times. I don’t have to keep a work phone, but know that others may have to. How do you keep a work phone with you if you are wearing a dress that has no pockets or place to clip a phone?

The men in the office have it much easier. Most of the time they have a belt loop they can clip their badge to. I’m lucky if I am wearing pants that have belt loops or pockets. I prefer dresses and skirts. So there are many times there is no where to clip my badge, so I have to wear it on a lanyard around my neck like a necklace. So then I cannot wear a necklace. Any ideas on how to keep badges/cellphones with you and stylish?

SUCH a great question. I’ve used a variety of keycards and entry passes for my various jobs, but have never been required to keep one on my person at all times … so I’m going to offer a few possible options and ask all of you to contribute more ideas! I’m sure many of you face this same challenge and have creative work-arounds to share.

First, my ideas:

Track down a stylish lanyard

If you’ve got a keycard or ID badge that needs to be on your person at all times and you’re allowed to do a lanyard, grab one from Etsy that looks more like a necklace. (There are some cute clips in there, too!) This may limit your necklace-wearing, though my guess is that environments where keycard lanyards are commonplace mean that the keycard/lanyard combo is oftenlost to familiarity. So you could try wearing a shorter strand or bib higher on your frame and the long lanyard further down. It might even be worthwhile to pick out a few lanyards that align with your personal style, especially in neutrals and metals so they’ll be as versatile as possible.

Experiment with wrist options

Plastic coils are typically used for keys, but a keycard might work in some cases. Since most folks can’t type while wearing a coil and card combo, this is something you’d need to remember to take with you when leaving your workstation. But it would certainly free you up to wear any clothing and necklace combinations you liked while also helping to keep your card on your person.

Explore belting

As Sarah points out, the fellas have one up on us when it comes to this type of work gear because they’re typically in pants. Belted pants. But dresses and skirts can be belted, too, and phones or badges can be clipped to belts. And, of course, adding a belt to your trouser outfits will help. Naturally, this won’t work every day since belts don’t belong in every outfit … but when it does work, it’ll be slick and easy.

Try a phone case with a strap

If a phone is required and clipping it to belts or clothing won’t work, keep your eyes peeled for one of the tiny crossbody bags that’s been designed to hold a phone and nothing more. Some mobile carriers might have these in their stores among the phone cases, but you can also try eBay and Amazon as well as local boutiques. Wristlet purses might work for this purpose, too. Not as sleek as a clip on your belt or pants, but definitely do-able.

Not much, but that’s all I’ve got. Help Sarah out with some other suggestions, won’t you? If you are required to keep a keycard, badge, or phone with you at all times, how do you do so stylishly?

Image courtesy Katy Warner

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Originally posted 2014-07-14 06:29:42.

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23 Responses to “Reader Request: Work Badge and Cell Phone Solutions”

    • Texas Aggie Mom

      I agree with KimM. that Brighton has some great options that feel more
      like jewelry. My daughter is an elementary teacher and I bought her one
      from Brighton with a heart for Valentine’s Day her first year in the
      classroom. She loves it and it has survived over two years of daily
      wear. I also saw some very cheap ones (not nearly as nice, though) at
      Charming Charlie’s last weekend. I have a big clump of keys I am
      required to carry, and I tend to wear them on a lanyard on days I have
      no pockets, but it’s ugly. Really enjoying all the great suggestions –
      keep ’em coming!

  1. Amelia

    You could try clipping the work badge to the lapel or a button hole of a cardigan, if you wear those. Or add a safety pin and turn it into a brooch.

  2. JB

    I don’t wear a badge at work but I do have this problem at conferences – which can be worse, because the lanyards are typically in some sponsor’s garish logo colors that never go with what I’m wearing. I like the idea of bringing my own lanyard – will have to try that. Another alternative is to clip your badge to a safety pin or brooch and use that to attach to your clothing if you don’t have a belt/lapel/other clip-friendly option. Obviously there will be some fabrics you don’t want pinholes in, but it might help in some situations.

  3. Jocelyn

    I have this same issue. I have to wear my ID badge “on or above my waist” at all times. I frequently wear dresses and also found that I often didn’t have anywhere to clip my badge. I wear a lanyard that has a removable clip attached so that I can wear it with the lanyard if I have on a dress or use the clip if I’m wearing skirts or pants. I have never let the lanyard get in the way of wearing any necklaces I want. It might get twisted occasionally, but unless I have on a really long necklace, my lanyard typically hangs much lower than my necklaces and doesn’t interfere. Like Sal said, when everybody is wearing a badge around their neck or on their waist, nobody notices how you’re wearing them. I don’t have any advice about the cell phone dilemma as I don’t have to carry one for work.

    • Ginger

      Mine has to be above the waist and visible.
      I don’t like clipping it because I need to remove it from the case several times a day to swipe in. I also have a couple of fobs that provide random numbers for log on and I keep those clipped to the badge. I jingle as I walk down the hall.

      I have a couple of beaded lanyards and various swag from conferences that I use. The most versatile was one with clear plastic beads, they go with everything. It got a lot of use and eventually it pulled out so at present I have a bright blue cord from a trade show. At a certain point it’s not about looking matchy or fashionable, it’s just there.

      With all that going on around my neck I go easy on necklaces.

  4. Leslie moyer

    I have a collection of long necklaces (including pearls) that I attach my badge to using a small caribeaner. I switch up my necklaces depending on my outfit. I find lovely long necklaces at antique/thrift stores, Target as well as boutiques. I get many compliments on them.

  5. Incognita

    I use a clip with a retractable reel, so I can wear my badge high up and away from the necklace, but still be able to badge in without unclipping. I find my badge collection heavy and annoying on a long lanyard. The only time it’s not so good is when I’m wearing a lightweight blouse or sweater, because the weight of the badges pulls on my collar or neckline. I might need to look for a retractable reel with a pin for those outfits.

  6. Sarah Destrehan

    I use something very similar to a wristlet. It’s basically a wallet with a hook on the end. I use the hook to grab onto my office keys. My phone zips up inside the wallet and my ID card sits in side. I can access most of the tap to enter panels by remember which side my card sits on and then I can slide it on of the clear plastic holder when I actually need to swipe it. Bonus, I can carry business cards with me for meetings around my office and cash if I need it.

  7. Anamarie

    I have to wear a badge at conferences, featuring those ugly corporate lanyards. I always take a couple of long, open link chain necklaces to use instead.

    I’m glad I don’t have to carry a phone with me at work, but if I did, I would use a small case with a wrist strap, a necklace case, or a cross-body case.

  8. Katy

    If safety pins or clips are a problem, you can also use a magnetic name badge holder or magnetic badge reel. There are some pretty ones on etsy.

  9. Trystan L. Bass

    At my current company, we’re required to wear badges on the company-issued color-coded lanyards, ugh. Mostly I just wear it & accept that it detracts from my outfit, but if I’m wearing a scarf, I can tuck the lanyard & badge behind the scarf so it isn’t as obvious & ugly. Yes, that defeats the company’s security purposes, but I don’t care 🙂

  10. Kristen H.

    Arrrgh, yes, this issue. I have to wear a microphone that attaches at the waist and collarbone to teach, and it’s vexingly limiting.

  11. Leslie Le

    The loopy bracelets are good to put up higher on your arm, like, by your elbow. It might look a little silly, but when you’re typing, just scooch it up and you’re good.

    For the phone, you can always use one of those arm bands designed for MP3 players and working out. Again, seems a bit military, but it can be unobtrusive if you position it correctly.

  12. Carolyn @ At Least I Will

    I wear a badge every day and most of the time, I forget to think about places to hang it. In case it is one of those days when I don’t have anywhere to put it, I keep some safety pins in my desk. Just attach the pin horizontally on some thick fabric and hang your badge on it. (You can do it on thinner materials, too, but you have to be more careful).

    Could you engineer some sort of badge clip from a broach or fancy pin?

  13. PolarSamovar

    Any other Girl Scouts remember badge sashes? All we need is some fashion innovator to institute the corporate badge sash, upon which we proudly attach our magnetic key card, company photo ID, cell phone … merit badges … seniority tags … 9 pieces of flair … 🙂

  14. Brenna Goode

    When I had to wear a badge, I shelled out for one of the Brighton lanyards, and it was money well spent. I always got compliments on it. It was long enough that it didn’t interfere with other necklaces, and went stylistically with most of what was in my wardrobe.

  15. lcgiroux

    When I wore a badge and needed to have my phone on me constantly I picked up a smallish travel pouch with the clear window on the front. It was long enough that I could wear it cross body like a mini purse. My phone and a lip balm went inside and my IDs (I had three!) went in the clear slip sleeves. The cord was black and narrow so it tended to disappear into my clothes. It had a slide mechanism to adjust the length so if needed I could shorten it to wear around my neck. The best part of being a full-time writer is no more stinkin’ badges!

  16. Sallie

    I carry a little pouch with me in the office – it fits my phone, badge (don’t have to wear the badge except to access locked doors), an extra pen, credit card, Tic Tacs, lipstick and desk keys. I am having fun funding different pouches – I found a fun navy & green one at Boden this spring and just bought a turquoise one at the Nordstrom sale. I have been wanting to look for some interesting lanyards and have not thought of Etsy for that – thanks for the idea!

  17. Thursday

    I despise lanyards – the look of them, and they always get in my way. At events where I am given a lanyard I am required to wear, I hook it over my belt and through itself to hold in place. Avoiding the lanyard is one of the reasons I wear a belt to work almost everyday. It’s so much easier just to clip over the belt, or a waistband. I have had every retractable card holder break its cord on me in pretty short timeframes, so now I just do an awkward lean across to swipe through the races coming in and out of the bulding. We also need our cards to log on to our PCs and print, so you train yourself never to forget it pretty quick!

  18. Thursday

    I despise lanyards – the look of them, and they always get in my way. At events where I am given a lanyard I am required to wear, I hook it over my belt and through itself to hold in place. Avoiding the lanyard is one of the reasons I wear a belt to work almost everyday. It’s so much easier just to clip over the belt, or a waistband. I have had every retractable card holder break its cord on me in pretty short timeframes, so now I just do an awkward lean across to swipe through the races coming in and out of the bulding. We also need our cards to log on to our PCs and print, so you train yourself never to forget it pretty quick!

  19. andreakw

    I work in government and wear a pass card all the time. Instead of a logo-type lanyard, I made my own with some beautiful Japanese chirimen cord and a loop of elastic. Took all of two minutes to make and I have not forgotten it once in over three years. I wash it occasionally, of course.