Ask Alison: HELP! I Have To Wear An ID Badge For Work And It's Ruining My Outfits

An ID badge is the exact opposite of fashion. I know -- I have to wear one!

Dec 23, 2013 at 10:00am | Leave a comment

Hi Alison!
 
I have a fashion conundrum for you: my company just moved offices to a swanky new building. The new office is lovely! The only catch is that I now need to carry around a keycard to go from floor to floor.
 
Do you have any ideas for ways to carry the keycard with me on days when I'm wearing skirts/dresses that (alas) don't have pockets? I'm looking for something a little more fashionable than the standard conference lanyard.
 
Cheers,
Sarah
 
This problem is exactly why I believe that there should be some sort of law demanding all skirts and dresses have pockets. I've currently got the exact same dilemma as Sarah -- because I need to have this gross plastic badge on my person to get on and off the lot.
 
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If you work in an office that requires you to have a keycard or ID badge on you at all times, there is almost no way to get around wearing it on a lanyard around your neck. Some people just accept them as a fact of life and wear it as suggested without a second thought. But wearing it with the lanyard that comes standard is indeed dorky, and I guarantee you it isn't doing your look any favors.
 
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Waiting outside an actor's dressing room, where I spend half of my life. ID badge required. 

 
Lest you think I'm being a total diva about it, "ugly badge syndrome" appears to have become a universal problem, because there are all sorts of ways to upgrade a boring old badge holder -- starting with something shiny that doubles as a piece of jewelry.
 
Fancy lanyards

Fancy lanyards, $18.00-$34.00. (Click photo for purchase info)
 
Here's a pro-style cheapo tip: swap the grody lanyard that came with your badge for a 1/2 yard of any cute, colorful ribbon for an instant upgrade! At less than 50 cents per yard, you could change it every single day if you wanted to. A tiny piece of ribbon tied into a tiny, neat bow is also a good way to repurpose any sturdy necklace in your jewelry box into a snappy DIY badge strap. If you are really fancy, you could snag one of these gold or silver charm holders and repurpose it for badge-wearing purposes. 
 
Charm holder pendant

Charm pendant, $37.00-$350.00. (click photo for purchase info)
 
If you wear a lot of skirts, invest a few bucks in an embellished badge reel that you can discreetly clip onto your waistband or even your shirt collar. There are dozens on Etsy, most of them under ten bucks!
 
Badge reels

Badge reels, $6.00-$11.00. (Click photo for purchase info)
 
You could also use one of these clever pins, which are actually made to hang your eyeglasses from. They come with either brooch pins or magnetic clasps so as not to ruin your blouses. You simply clip your badge (in its plastic holder) through the ring meant to loop your eyeglasses through and pin it wherever you want on your outfit!
 
 
If your style is a little more kitschy, don't worry -- these smart badge-holding pins come as twee as you could ever possibly want. Pandas? Horseshoes? Cat eye sunglasses? No problem.
 
 
Badge pins

Badge pins, $13.95 each. (Click photo for purchase info)
 
This clever kitten, The Slapdash Sewist, had the brilliant idea to stitch a small loop onto her favorite dresses in order to accommodate her ID badge -- which is one of the better wardrobe hacks I've seen in a good while.
 
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Photo via The Slapdash Sewist.

 
I've actually started working belts into my everyday look just so I always have a place to clip my ID badge and walkie. (You know you've arrived in Hollywood when they give you your very own walkie-talkie.)
 
I also invested in a collection of tiny, lightweight bags with straps long enough to be worn crossbody, so I can have my phone, lip balm, office keys and ID badge with me at all times.
 
 
mini bags

mini bags, $5.99-$111.00. (click photo for purchase info) 
 
I keep my mini-bag collection in my desk drawer at work so I can pick whichever one matches my outfit best and carry it with me all day when I'm wearing something that lacks pockets. It's been a lifesaver.
 
When I'm really not feeling my ID badge, I simply pin it to my clothes with either a proper kilt pin or a lowly metal safety pin from the drugstore. It's the ultimate low profile way to wear your work badge. Don't try this trick with anything slinky, silky or delicate, but most wool and cotton should be able to stand up to pinning.  
 
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Dritz kilt pins, 2/$0.77.

 
If you guys have any other brilliant solutions for mandatory badge-wearing, I'm all ears. I'm busy trying to convince studio lot security that I'm pretty unforgettable, so therefore should be exempt from wearing my ID. 
 
Visit me at: AlisonFreer.com.