Attire has drastically changed over the years. Standards of dress aren’t what they used to be, especially with the likes of athleisure taking over society one pair of Lululemon leggings at a time. But how casual is too casual? Showing up to work in the same outfit you wore to your pilates class is probably not for the best. Working at a law firm is a highly regarded profession, and often, a law firm will have its own dress code that is agreed upon when you’re hired. Knowing what to wear takes the worry and stress out of an already stressful career, so let’s break down the expectations of everyday wear at a law firm.
What you wore to lectures while attaining your law degree is vastly different than what you will wear to your law firm. Wearing the proper clothes to work can drastically change the morale of both the company and the employee, and organizations like Dress For Success dedicate themselves to empowering individuals to put their best foot forward in the business world. Dressing well can be the secret to excelling in your work life.
Clothes should be pressed, wrinkle-free, without holes or frayed stitching, and lean on the side of modest. Avoid casual outfits with large logos and distracting colors or prints, or basic loungewear like a graphic T-shirt.
You should consider a relaxed fit when choosing the best pants for men and women as they allow you to stay comfortable while looking classy and put together throughout the day. Navy blue, black, and beige are safe colors to lean toward when choosing your wardrobe. Many professionals opt to have different pairs of outfits stashed in their offices in case of an emergency. You never know when you may need a quick wardrobe change!
Select styles of casual wear can be acceptable if your office offers a “casual Friday” where moto jeans may be acceptable, but it is most likely never acceptable to wear sweatpants or sweatshirts to the office. You can, however, follow in the footsteps of Malliha Wilson, renowned human rights lawyer on the world stage, and accessorize with a patterned scarf to add a little flare to the outfit.
As the first visible minority to hold office as the assistant deputy attorney general of the Government of Ontario, Wilson is fully accustomed to the pressures of both being a woman and a minority in a white- and male-dominated field. With these challenges, she is devoted to fighting for inclusion and diversity. Throughout her impressive career, she has specialized in human rights, Indigenous, constitutional, corporate, and labour law and other complex litigation.
While modern times in the United States are greatly adapting to modern fashion and the many unique ways in which people dress, there is still a rule of thumb when dressing professionally. Some offices allow more versatility in casual style like khakis and collared polo tees, but always check with your coworkers to find out. You shouldn’t be showing up to work like you’re going on a hike or are about to work up a sweat. You by no means need to hold yourself to the look of a school uniform, but use common sense and caution when deciding your outfits for work.
Dressing for hot weather versus cold weather is an important task as well. Keep an eye out for what is acceptable during especially warm summer months and opt for pieces with breathability. If you’re a lawyer taking on New York City in the wintertime, shopping at places like Todd Snyder will keep you warm and classy. If you’re shopping on a budget, stores like Old Navy and Everlane offer affordable work-appropriate pieces, and if you have a bit more financial freedom to build your wardrobe, Nordstrom is a one-stop shop to offer you everything necessary to impress and prosper in your workplace. Now, go forth toward making an impact at work, both on paper and in the mirror!