Ask Belle: Do Chic Headphones Exist?

Aug 8, 2016

Hi Belle,

I work at a Big 4 accounting firm & it’s very common for people to wear headphones in the office beacuase you’re typically sitting on your own instead of with a team surrounding you. I’m looking for a pair of quality headphones, but I’m struggling to find any over ear headphones that don’t look entirely our of place at the office.

We don’t have an overly strict dress code here, but Beats just don’t look right with business casual. Frends headphones look great, but I’ve read terrible reviews. Do you have any quality brands that you would recommend?

Thank you in advance for your response! JF

I bought a pair of Kreafunk’s for studying in the library.  I thought the sound quality was good, and they were fairly comfortable.  They have a unique shape that makes them look a bit more interesting.

I crowdsourced your question to right of my friends.  Five wear Beats.  Two of them got them for free when they purchased their Apple laptops for school.  The other three wear the following:

B: “I bought the Samsung Level On Wired Headphones.  I love them.  Comfortable and the sound quality is better than most.  I bought the white with the brown trim in the wired so I wouldn’t be tempted to wear them around my neck.  If you want the wireless, get the red.”

KK: “Paid $550 for the Master & Dynamic phones.  Very happy with them.”

RP: “I need complete quiet, so the Bose Quiet Comfort headphones are the only pair I even considered.  I’ve never been more productive.”

Prefer in-ear headphones?  I picked up these Beats UrBeats headphones in rose gold to carry in my purse on trips.  They’re fairly comfortable, or as comfortable as an in-ear headphone is going to be.

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  1. Marg says:

    I have a pair of the white and gold bose qc25’s and I love them. They are a tiny bit more stylish than the all black ones, and the noise cancelling is perfect.

  2. Amanda says:

    They’re expensive, but I LOVE the look of Pryma headphones. The sound quality is supposedly much better than Frends as well.

  3. Erika says:

    I have these Frends ones and they have been great. They fold up small enough that I can fit them in my purse. The sound is excellent, although completely noise cancelling as the Bose. My only complaint is that after using them on a long haul airplane ride, my ears get a little numb from them pressing one them…but this might happen with any earphones.
    https://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=312008012&cvosrc=ppc.google.&cvo_campaign=182692890&cvo_adgroup=9346929570&cvo_crid=48030091650&Matchtype=&campaigntype=PLA&tid=atpl000001&kwid=1&ap=7&sem=true&creative=48030091650&adpos=1o1&gclid=CjwKEAjw26C9BRCOrKeYgJH17kcSJACb-HNAtC8QXmSxnhiidHsU7mWv080kfEXE1HyNPzhD6VZ5jxoCls3w_wcB

  4. I love these Sennheiser ones. My husband gave them to me (he’s a audiophile so the sound quality is excellent). I love how comfortable they are on my ears. https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-439-Headphones-Black/dp/B005N8W1TM/ref=sr_1_1

  5. SHelley says:

    How cute are those Kreafunk headphones!! Love them.

  6. Meg says:

    I second Bose Quiet Comfort! I have them in white and love them.

  7. BriMarie says:

    Audio Technica makes noise canceling headphones that are very comparable to Bose but significantly cheaper. If you don’t mind basic/not super stylish, these are the best.

  8. Caroline says:

    I have Jabro REVO headphones (recommended by the Wirecutter as the best over-the-ear wireless headphones) in white. I don’t know what business casual headphones should look like, but the REVO doesn’t look like something a teenager boy would use to play video games so there’s that. They’re especially good for commuting and travel because they fold up and you don’t have a cord getting tangled up in things.

  9. b says:

    For in-ear headphones, nothing beats the women’s Yurbuds for me. I have small ears and the round versions are either painful or don’t stay in my ear. The yurbuds go deep enough into my ear that they do a decent job of noise-blocking. They provide decent sound quality, perhaps not Bose-level, but I don’t expect that in an in-ear. They are also the most comfortable option I’ve found for when I want to put a podcast or audiobook on sleep timer to fall asleep to. One drawback is that the little silicone earpieces tend to fall off the headphone in your purse, but I got a little bag to stash them in and haven’t had any further problems.

  10. MCW says:

    I seriously think Bose noise canceling headphones should be on the list of recommended purchases before law school. Absolutely clutch for the library and during exams. I have the white pair with turquoise accents and I like how they look more than the black with silver accents.

  11. JC says:

    I love the Bowers and Wilkins headphones. They are an investment and the ones I have aren’t noise canceling but they are so comfortable. One nice part about them is the wiring into the headphones is detachable and hence replaceable for only $20. I’ve heard great things about their ear buds also.

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