It’s draped around our neck, clipped to our shirt or hung from our belt.
The company ID badge is what identifies us to others at work, allows us to gain entry into our company office and in many cases, controls our access within company facilities.
It’s the one thing that really spoils an otherwise great outfit for the day.
And until things like real-time biometric verification become a reality, we’ll be required to carry these ID cards around with us anytime we’re at work.
So, how can we make do with this?
What options do we have that can make wearing a company ID badge less unappealing and more in-tune with our wardrobe?
Is this really even possible?
It’s a tough challenge for even the best fashionistas out there.
However, there are a rare few folks that can pull off the impossible and make it work for them. These folks just seem to have it nailed every time.
They’re far from sloppy and yet, not overly done up either. They seem to strike that perfect balance of being well-dressed but not over-dressed.
They pay attention to small things in their outfits. It could be the colorful dress socks that peek out every once in a while. Or, the simple pendant necklace. Or, how they subtly wear perfume and cologne.
They just have it all together and you can too. At least in terms of how you wear your company ID badge.
We’ve compiled a few ideas here where wearing a company ID won’t infringe too much on your work outfit. In fact, it may be able to boost it a bit.
We’re not making any promises of making it runway-worthy. But maybe, just maybe, we can make it a bit better.
Better Ways To Wear Your Company ID Badge
It’s just another automated daily work routine that we don’t even have to really think about. It’s second nature.
Heading out the door, spiffed up for the day, work bag in tote, you do a quick run-down check.
Badge? Got it.
You put all your stuff in your pockets and bag and scramble out the door while putting on your last work outfit accessory - the badge.
It’s such an eyesore really and nothing else screams company slave than having to publicly wear your company photo ID out the door.
But, it doesn’t have to be this bad, here are a few things that we’ve done to make things a bit better (relatively speaking, of course).
And, it doesn’t require much effort on your part.
Some of these options are freebies that you just need to ask HR for, crafty embellishments that you can do at home (or at work) or super-cheap purchases at your local hardware store or online.
1) Make The Lanyard Invisible
When you have a lanyard like this, it creates a visual distraction in your outfit. It draws unnecessary attention and breaks up your look.
One solution is to make the lanyard disappear or become virtually invisible in your overall look. The way to do this is to use a thin but strong metal chain - kinda like the tiny ball chains that secure pens to the counters at banks.
When done correctly, this kind of ball chain lanyard essentially disappears and allows your outfit to take the center stage.
It’s like Taraji Henson’s character in the NASA movie Hidden Figures.
You can buy these kinds of chains at hardware stores and craft hobby shops. Just ask for the ball type chains that are used to secure pens to counters. Or a simple thin chain along those same lines.
If you really want to make it invisible, you can use heavy duty fishing line - that will really make it hard to see.
In either of these cases, you’ll have to be a bit crafty to make the connections all work together to hold your ID.
2) Turn The Lanyard Into A Necklace Accessory
Whereas the thin ball chain is meant to vanish or blend in with your outfit, this option is meant to add more flair and when done correctly, can complement or even boost your overall look.
Imagine a really long necklace and that’s essentially what we’re talking about here.
You can find these online at the usual spots like Amazon, eBay and Etsy.
Or, if you’re a real crafty type, visit your local Michaels or neighborhood hobby store and they’ll have a wide assortment of chains and clasps so you can make your own.
Whichever option you choose, be sure that the lanyard necklace is neutral in style, color and tone so that you can wear it with every outfit.
3) Rock The Badge Like An FBI Special Agent
Who hasn’t seen an episode of Law & Order SVU and not thought that rocking an ID badge like any of those guys wouldn’t be cool? Or any FBI movie?
Drape this around your neck and you can just feel the authority building. This is your job and you take it seriously…”Why didn’t you make a new pot of coffee after you took the last cup?” All the coffee criminals are going to be shaking in their shoes.
These kind of badge holders are a bit harder to find as ready-to-buy items. So, you may need to be creative and make your own.
Leather ID holders can be found pretty much at any major clothing retailer and ball chains can be found at most hardware and hobby stores. Hunt for the right pieces and you’ll have a really cool set-up.
4) Simple-N-Easy Black Lanyards Goes With Everything
If you have the chance, take a look at the pile of lanyards in the security office or HR department. Can you find a black one? Ideally, one that isn’t logo’ed with the company name. Just simple black.
Oh and please, if you’re using a logo’ed lanyard from the conference you attended a years ago, ditch that.
We’re not gonna name names here, but there’s one egotistical asshole in our office that wears his 2008 (yes, over ten years ago) TedTalk lanyard like Mr. T wears his gold chains - loud and proud.
It goes perfectly with his embroidered faux leather LV notebook cover.
What a tool.
Black lanyards are easy and simple - you don’t have to think about it.
However, if you’re looking to add a splash of color...
5) Use A Single Color Lanyard To Accent Your Outfit
There isn’t a single drab color in their entire wardrobe. For these folks, every single day is an opportunity to express their colorful personality - quite literally.
You know the type. They’re the living version of Rainbow Brite. They’d blend in perfectly in any of Dr. Suess’s fictional worlds.
They use the lanyard as another opportunity to add even more color splash to their outfit.
This strategy really works well if your company has a casual dress code rather than business formal or business casual.
If this is the case, keep a few primary color lanyards tucked in your desk drawer and when you want to add a bit of flavor, swap out your existing color with another one.
We recommend single color variations not a rainbow of colors on one lanyard.
This is a small fun way to easily mix things up at the office.
6) Add A Little Pop To That Badge Reel
These mini reels allow you to extend your ID badge about 3-4 feet so that you can scan your badge on door sensors to unlock access for entry, to check-in and check-out of areas and for clocking in and out for the day.
They are the perfect little spots to add a little something special or cool to your outfit.
You can get crafty and make your own with some super glue and fun bits laying around your house or just buy one online.
Check out these cool ones we found on Pinterest:
7) Get Nerdy With A Shirt Pocket Protector & ID Holder
Today, if you ever saw a guy with this kind of outfit, you’d assume he was the copier repair guy or Geek Squad tech support.
Part of this outfit included plastic pocket protectors that fit inside shirt pockets and served as a place to clip pens. They were designed so that if the pen ever leaked, it would prevent the ink from bleeding onto the shirt - thus, the name, “Pocket Protector” was born.
You can take inspiration from Kevin Costner playing the NASA head honcho in the movie Hidden Figures. Keep the overall look clean and you can rock this look like an engineering boss.
The best kinds of these bi-fold badge holders use small magnets, one on each end of the holder. When it’s placed into the shirt pocket, the magnets clip together on the shirt pocket, keeping it in place.
If you really want to go all out, hunt for the ones that also double as pocket protectors. You’ll be sporting the 60’s NASA look perfectly.
8) Be A Modern Minimalist With Magnetic Clips
If you’ve ever worked in retail in the last ten years, you probably wore a magnetic name tag. This was such a eureka solution to the old school pin type of name tags, which wrecked your shirts.
You can use this same concept with your ID badge.
Just buy a pair of small magnets from your local hardware store, Walmart, Target, etc. Glue one magnet to your clear badge holder (not directly on the badge itself) and use the other free magnet as the interior magnet.
Or, you can buy name tag magnets like the one pictured above with peel-off adhesive anywhere online.
This solution works well for shirts that don’t have pockets. It makes the badge seem like it’s magically attached. It’s like a floating shelf.
If your company uses your ID badge for opening/unlocking doors, this idea won’t work for you because it’ll be a pain to remove and reapply the badge each time. Use one of the other options instead along with a self-retracting badge reel.
9) Make The ID Holder An Accessory
Ditch the cheapo clear plastic holder and buy yourself a snazzier more stylish one.
There are tons of options out there that you can find. A search on Etsy, eBay, Amazon and others will reveal more choices than you can imagine.
ID holders like these make wearing your company badge something to actually look forward to.
10) Shoot From The Hip With Some Style
What we really like about this look is that it isn’t as “in your face” like a lanyard is. The location and position make a hip clipped ID more subtle and out of the way, yet still complying with any mandatory “must be worn” company requirements.
However, there is one big detraction with this option.
It can mangle your belt and/or pants.
We’re all creatures of habit. And we tend to clip the ID badge to the same spot on our hip - either on the fabric of our pants or the belt. Doing this on a daily basis just chews up the fabric or belt on the same spot, eventually ruining the item.
Here’s the solution: buy a nice leather belt loop key holder.
If you’re not a leather fan, there’s a wide variety of other materials like canvas, rubber, plastic, etc.
And just like lanyards, you have the option to go with a neutral color to accommodate all outfits or buy a few different colors and styles to add some color accents to your look.
Other Points To Consider
Follow these tips to make things a bit better.
1) Use A Self-Retracting Badge Reel
Ask for two because these things last about as long as a pot of fresh coffee on Monday mornings.
These reels will allow you to extend your badge from wherever it is on your body to the sensor mounted on the wall or elsewhere.
If you don’t have one of these, you end up having to take off your badge to scan it on the sensor and put it back on again.
That’d be a royal pain in the ass if you’ve gotta move about the office throughout the day.
2) Go Naked If You Can
If you can, go without the extra clear pocket and rock it naked. It’s like taking a more minimalist approach to wearing the badge.
If you’re the type that doesn’t use a smartphone case, this is right up your alley.
If you intend to buy a stylish holder, then you won’t need the clear holder - throw it out or give it back to HR.
3) Take It Off When You Clock Off
It’s not until the checkout girl at the counter asks how our day was by using our first name that we realize that we’re still wearing our ID outside of work.
“Hey, how do you know my name?”
She points to your badge.
When your day has ended, it’s time to take off the badge. In fact, use the process of taking off the company ID as a daily ritual to disconnect from work.
4) Update That Day 1 Photo
Now, we’re not saying that you need to update your photo every year - that’ll just be annoying for your HR or security/facilities folks and a bit weird.
However, if you’re coming up on your 5 or 10 year anniversary, it’d be a good way to mark a fresh start to the milestone.
Wear Your Company ID With Pride
Instead of taking the position of disdain and adding more negativity to your already tough day ahead, reframe your perspective and turn it into something fun and/or playful.
It’s not going to make your work day a glorious stress-free session. No way. You’re much better off following this guide to managing work stress instead.
But, it can bring a teensie-weensie smile or a bit of happiness at work for you. And with all the bullshit we have to deal with at work, any little extra bit of positive vibes are welcome.
So, see if you can make your badge a bit more outfit friendly and something that can stir up a bit of joy into your day.
You never know...you just might become that one guy or gal that just “has it together” with their work outfits, all the way down to their badge.