The way you dress often has a lasting impression on people. Lawyers are typically known to wear sleek suits that give them an appearance of authority and power.
While some law firms may be adopting a business casual dress code, associates and lawyers would be wise to ignore this. Formal business appearances will always be necessary if you’re heading into the courtroom or providing a client consultation.
Being caught in a casual outfit is not going to set a professional impression. To truly look like a lawyer, you’ll want to dress like a lawyer. If you’re wondering what you should wear at the office or when heading into the courtroom, here’s some advice about suits to wear.
Suit Color for Lawyers
Before reviewing a few suits for you to consider, you may want to know some of the latest trends in fashion.
Just like in business, you should follow the K.I.S.S. principle: Keep It Stylish yet Simple.
Black – tends to be seen as the most professional go-to for suit colors, however, it may not be suitable to wear in the courtroom. Black suits are often worn at funerals and this is not the impression you want to set when you step in front of a jury
Navy – this is a common color found in the courtroom and having the additional pinstripes is a classic lawyer’s look.
Brown – this color is often seen as informal and may be best to wear in the office and not in the courtroom.
Charcoal – here’s another common color worn in the courts, charcoal can be paired with many colors to give yourself a complimentary look.
White – you might have to be a lawyer working with high-class celebrities to pull this off.
Olive – think about your skin complexion, olive is a color that is difficult to match.
While color is an important feature when considering what suit to wear at the office and when going to court, style is equally important. Polka dots may be your thing, but it may not convey the impression you desire. Remember to keep it simple, flat colors with the occasional pinstripes can provide a great foundation for your lawyer’s wardrobe.
Suit Accessories for Lawyers
Your suit serves a few specific purposes: to look sharp, to look prepared and to look professional. When selecting accessories, there are a few items that can put your suit together or strip away the appeal.
Neckties – every lawyer in a suit needs a necktie. Depending on the style of suit you wear, choosing the right necktie can accentuate your overall appearance. Having a simple silk necktie with stripes or a solid color can maintain a professional appearance. Using bright colors, while showing off your personality, can be distracting.
Cufflinks – getting a sophisticated pair of cufflinks that add a touch of style to your lawyer’s suit. Try not to get anything too bold as a simple set of cufflinks should be all you need.
Tie Clips – while not a significant enhancement to your overall appearance, having a tie clip makes your suit more functional and looking neat.
Maintaining Your Suits
There’s something about suits that have an effect on people’s personalities. Suits tend to add a boost of confidence, make you feel stylish, and of course, convey that you are serious about your career in law.
However, suits can be pretty expensive. If you’re in your first year of practicing law or you’re experiencing a financial crisis, you may try to use the same suit from your university years.
In all likelihood, the body you had years before is not the same body you have today. Having a properly fitting suit can make all the difference when interacting with new clients at a free consultation. Consider getting your suits refitted at a tailor or make an investment and restock your wardrobe.
Another important thing to do with your suits it to properly care and tend to them. Here are a few tips to guide you:
- Never put it in the laundry, always dry clean.
- Hang it up with a hanger whenever you don’t wear it.
- Have multiple suits to give some suits a break
- Brush it down with a soft brush to reduce dry cleaning visits
- You’ll ruin your suit if you use an iron
Suits for Female Lawyers
Women’s fashion tends to have much more diversity and flexibility than men’s. However, even with the acceptance of casual attire in some law firm’s, sticking with a conservative attire works well with interviews, court appearances, and client meetings.
In the past, skirted suits were the expected dress code for female lawyers. However, this has changed and women in law are now seen wearing pantsuits. If you are considering to wear skirts, the common rule of acceptance is that your skirt should fall below the knee.
While suits are a common necessity for lawyers, women can wear other acceptable clothing such as cardigans, vests and collared polo shirts.
Women searching for suits to practice law have a few more things to consider than men. Wearing tight-fitting suits and low cut tops of any kind will be seen as inappropriate. As well, wearing skirts above the knee can be distracting and unprofessional.
Overall, there are similar rules that apply to both male and female lawyers: wear suits that fit properly and maintain professionalism.