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Wear This, Not That

November 27, 2014

As law students, we are part of a different community and that different community has standards. We are preparing to enter the legal field and that means our wardrobe has to follow us to this next stage in our lives. This article is meant to be a guide for those of us (myself included) who sometimes forget, or prefer, to sport a not-so-professional look while at school. I am an advocate for bum-status-wear, you all know what I mean: sweats or yoga pants and comfy t- shirts. But those looks should be rocked when appropriate.

For the most part, we need to be more conscious of what we wear, especially when there are at school functions, such as guest panels. Not only is our attire a reflection of who we are as individuals, it also speaks to the reputation of our school. Like it or not, we are representatives of the school too. A good tip I have found handy is to plan ahead. Let’s face it, we live on a schedule now, and we have to mark our calendars for everything and anything. Pick out your clothes the night before, or if you are super organized, have your week set out. Just in case you happen to forget an event, keeping a pair of professional shoes and a blazer in your car could be a lifesaver. Your new golden rule should be: if by throwing on a blazer and dress shoes, I still can’t look business casual, then I should save that outfit for the weekend.

I volunteered at the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) a few weekends ago. The guest speaker was Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor.

One of the topics discussed by the guest panel of judges was the work attire of younger attorneys appearing before the courts. Justice Sotomayor spoke of how much easier it is to criticize than to give advice. She said that as fellow colleagues we should help each other out. She gave an example of how some female attorneys wear shirts far too low cut.

She also pointed out that her male counterparts had much more to say about what some of the male attorneys wear to court.
We have to be cognizant of our futures and have to dress the part. How would you react if your potential future employer walked into the school tomorrow and met you in sweats and a t-shirt?