Whilst Harvey Spector and Mike Ross have stereotyped the modern lawyer, to be sharp, concise and well dressed, this is not always the case.
In a conservative and traditional environment, your first impression is more important than you may think. Your attire will influence the way your client perceives you, and the firm you represent!
The global workforce may be dressing down, however it has never been more important for a lawyer to look their best (Especially if you're just starting out!).A well dressed lawyer is perceived as being confident and capable. Both incredibly valuable traits.
Dressing For The Job
When dealing with clients (inside or outside the courtroom) a successful lawyer should always be well presented, and follow a strict dress code.If you want to earn the big bucks, you need to dress like you deserve it.
Whether your just starting out, or at the top of your game. Start out by investing in several tailored suits, that are primarily constructed with wool. These should be tailored to your body shape, and will most likely require some form of alterations. Pay attention to the smaller details; sleeve length, pant length etc. These small alterations come at a low cost, but will have a big impact in your overall appearance.
Avoid buying cheaper suits, these will not only ruin quicker, but the dollars saved wont preserve your appearance, nor outweigh the business lost.
If available, purchase a second trouser. Suit jackets have a tendency to outlast their trousers. A second trouser will ensure you get decent wear out of your suit, and allow you to rotate the trousers. Worst case scenario, you can always the wear the trouser without the jacket.
Once the suits are sorted, purchase good quality business shirts. Primarily made of cotton, or a cotton blend. Start with the solid colours; soft blues, lilacs or white are incredibly versatile and will work with most suiting options. Again pay attention to the fit. The most expensive shirt will look cheap if it doesn’t fit well.
When putting it all together, keep it simple. Use colours that compliment one another. This can be done two ways. The first is by using similar colours. A good example of this would be matching a dark navy suit, with a baby blue shirt and darker blue tie. Alternatively make an impression with a statement piece, and use contrasting colours. Think navy suit, white shirt and solid red tie. This is where you get to incorporate your personality into your outfit. After all, your outfit should be an extension of you. A way to express yourself without speaking.
We suggest experimenting with some bolder ties and pocket squares. Not only is this relatively safe, but allows for many different outfit combinations with the same suit and shirt. It such a professional environment, we suggest to limiting your statement pieces. Avoid wearing pin-stripe suits, with check shirts and patterned ties. Keep it simple for maximum impact.
Finally ensure your belt and shoe colours match. Wear brown or tan shoes with your navy and grey suits. Alternatively opt for black shoes for your black and charcoal suits. With some care, a well made leather shoe should last for several years. Don’t forget the little accessories either, your cufflinks and tie clips are a sure way to add credibility to your outfit.
In The Courtroom
Suit and tie for court appearances are non-negotiable. Darker suit colours are generally safer options.
PS: Keep a plain black or navy suit in the office for last minute client meetings and court appearances. You'll be surprised at just how useful this little trick can be.