Y'all... I am not even kidding when I tell you what I've seen girls wear for on campus interviews at my school. We are talking MINIskirts, red patents pumps with matching red hoop earrings, cleavage, bare legs, etc.
The entire fashion show was about two things: 1) INTERVIEWING and 2) BEING IN COURT.
The times when one most be their MOST conservatively dressed. I stand behind all of the comments that I said in the Above the Law piece. A BigLaw interview or a courtroom is NO PLACE for your red patent pumps. Apparently the red patent pump thing really struck a nerve with a lot of ATL readers, and you all think I am some frumpy grandma with no sense of style who wears a burqa every day. Not the case, at all. However, I DO know, which many people fail to understand, when is the time and the place for the red patent pump (and it's rare, which I also understand). Also - apparently some of you are having a really hard time letting go of your giant hoop earrings.
Let them go ladies, just let them go.
I actually do own a great pair of red patent pumps, which I have worn to the office at my old Chicago law firm. However I wore them with a knee length black suit dress over a white button down shirt with black tights. They are a dark red patent with a round toe and a 2.5 inch heel, which is much lower than I usually wear. They're just a little pop of color in an otherwise boooooring outfit that was totally office appropriate - because I wasn't being interviewed, and I wasn't in court.
I don't know why people seemed to run off in the comments and think that I was saying that there is never a time for ruffles or pink or personality! Because honestly, if you knew me in real life, I'd bet "ruffles" "pink" and "personality" would be three of the first words you'd use to describe me.
I wear pink and ruffles to my law firm ALL THE TIME. But not when I have to go to court (either for my law school clinic or for work). And I never meet with clients at this stage in the game, so that's not an issue for me.
For a beautifully written recap of the article and my current thoughts and feelings about it - read this post that my friend Daisy wrote today. She is dead on. Pay special attention to "The Rules of Being a Female Attorney, according to Daisy." Print it out. Tape it to your closet door. Remember it.
And now, I'd like to get back to the more fun stuff. While I personally hope to spend a lot of time in the court room, MOST attorneys don't spend a lot of time in court or in interviews. You spend your time doing attorney stuff. At a desk. Where you don't talk to clients. Some law firms are super casual, some are not. BigLaw is going to be more formal (I'm assuming - I honestly have no idea. I have never worked at a large firm and do not have any desire to do so anytime in the next 20 years).
I have worked at my current firm since January and have honest to God seen my supervising attorney wear something other than jeans ONE time. ONCE. She wears jeans and tennis shoes and a sweater every single day. No jewelry (not even a wedding ring, even though she's married). No makeup. She's been an attorney at the firm for 20 years, she does not go to court, she does not see clients, and she has earned the right to wear whatever the hell she feels like. More power to her.
So now you're saying "Hey, Legally Fabulous, I get it. But I'm fashionable! and pretty! and smart! and I don't want to have to dress frumpy just because I'm a lawyer!"
I give you my friend Kate as the perfect example. You don't have to dress like a frumpy grandma to be dressed appropriately. (You may be wondering why I didn't show examples of my own outfits. The answer to that is that quite frankly, Kate dresses way cuter than I do).
The rules still apply, and Kate follows them beautifully:
- No gaudy jewelry
- No cleavage
- No skirts or dresses above the knee
- No bare shoulders (even in September! In Texas! when it's hot as hell!)
- Makeup is simple
- Outfits are well-tailored and fit appropriately.
Kate used to work at a mid-size firm in Dallas - if you go back to some of her old posts you can see what she wore back in the fall. Now Kate works for a non-profit. Non-profit = less formal, but NOT less appropriate.
Here are some of my favorites of Kate's work outfits:
From the firm days - A perfect "I have to go to Court today" outfit:
Also from the firm days - For a non-court day:
Kate says: "The weather in the Big D continues to be abysmal... luckily the blacks and grays in your closet are easily spiced up with flirty bow details and a pop of pink, ensuring that your business attire doesn't match the dreary view from outside!"
This is one of my favorite Kate outfits from her firm days - mostly because I wear a black skirt, blouse, and cardigan pretty much every day and loooove this ensemble. And also because I freaking adore ruffles:
And here are a couple of her more recent outfits from the days of the non-profit:
I love this dress:
And I love this blouse/cardi combo - as soon as Land's End Canvas puts out another 20% off coupon, it's mine!
So there you have it - Some examples of how to be a fashionable lady lawyer. Thanks Kate, for being an example for me!
Here is Kate's picture blog, if you want to peruse all of her outfits: http://itakephotosinthebathroom.blogspot.com/
And here is the link to Kate's blog - because she's more than just a pretty face in great clothes! She's smart and funny and you'll love her (I've met her in real life - she's great!). http://elefantitasalegres.blogspot.com/
So there you have it - how to dress like a lovely lady lawyer. As always feel free to spout off in the comments or to send me an email if you have a question/comment - firstname.lastname@example.org
And muchas gracias to Daisy and Kate for letting me steal some of their material!