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Dressing up the Workplace

November 9, 2007

There was a recent blog by a colleague on how much harder it is for women to find affordable work-appropriate clothing in today’s legal and business world.  I completely agree.  I think that back in the day (about seven years ago), when firms and businesses started the trend towards “business casual” clothing, it always was an easier transition for males.  While women struggled to go from suits to less formal alternatives, men could simply put on khakis and a button-down shirt (essentially, what a man would possibly wear out to a nice dinner) and be all set.  Some women I know even “rebelled” against the forced casual nature by continuing to wear suits most days.   Most younger male lawyers, of course, embraced the new trend.

That said, perhaps it is time for more “equality.”  Perhaps firms and businesses should go back towards a more formal environment in terms of attire, requiring suits for male and female lawyers alike.  I actually find that I often do more work and seem more professional when wearing a suit than in more “relaxed” clothing.  

It’s just a thought, and it’s likely that firms won’t go back to the “old” ways any time soon.  But at the very least, it would be a lot easier to pick out what to wear in the morning.   

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Fern permalink
    November 9, 2007 6:36 pm

    Why do you think it is more difficult for women to dress in business casual attire? This isn’t a problem I have encountered. It seems like many of the clothes at Ann Taylor (or Ann Taylor Loft), Talbots, Banana Republic, Coldwater Creek, Chico’s, J. Jill, etc would be suitable. Heck, even Old Navy has quite a few options that would seem appropriate.

  2. johne118 permalink
    November 9, 2007 7:22 pm

    I think the key was that back during the transition stage, it was difficult to determine exactly what would qualify as appropriate for business casual for women. For guys, it was easy. For women lawyers, it was a little less straightforward. Certain firms (mine included) even had to issue rulings on whether capri pants and open-toed shoes were appropriate (they were eventually deemed so). At the other end, I believe that a lot of what constitutes women’s “business casual” attire would also pass for “formal” attire in a deposition, client meeting or even courtroom setting. The reverse is not true for men’s “business casual” attire. That said, I do believe though that a lot of women’s stores, such as Chico’s, Ann Taylor and others you mentioned, have done a good job in recognizing the current needs in the marketplace and selling those types of clothes.

  3. Abbie permalink
    December 3, 2007 12:00 am

    It is still sometimes difficult depending on who or how many partners you work for. An associate who works at a mid-sized law firm recently shared this story with me: On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the managing partner sent out an email that stated it was ok to wear jeans on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. My friend did not have any hearings that day, so she wore jeans. Another partner who she works for looked her up and down and then rolled her eyes.

  4. July 15, 2010 8:24 am

    My friend did not have any hearings that day, so she wore jeans. Another partner who she works for looked her up and down and then rolled her eyes.
    killing games

  5. October 29, 2010 5:38 pm

    mens clothing should be comfortable and very fashionable *

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