Why is it that female lawyers feel the need to dress like asexual, feminist monks? Seriously, what are we so afraid of, ladies? Having men think we’re actually women?
Erin Andrews (and the masturbatory outbursts she provokes in 8.5 out of 10 heterosexual male sports fans) is perhaps the best example of the unique power a (reasonably) stylish, non-overweight, attractive woman wields in a male-dominated business. Men love her and, surprisingly, even respect her. More importantly, her career is blowing up. If you ask me, ol’ Erin should be required viewing for female lawyers. In fact, she should be our patron saint.
I suppose any of my naïve, Miranda Hobbes-ian illusions should have been eviscerated my first day of law school when I was introduced to my disheveled, frizzy-haired, makeup-less Contracts Professor. But she was a high-brow, serious-minded Harvard academic. Women like her aren’t supposed to look sexy. Just smart. Big Firm associates and partners, on the other had, are a different story. Part of their job is to be stylish and au courant. And they rake in enough money to stock their closets with Theory. Maybe even Jil Sander. Or so I thought.
After three years at Big Chicago Firm, I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion that most female lawyers are horrible dressers. Worse yet, they don’t care. They almost take some sort of absurd, post-feminist pride in looking ugly. The uglier you are, the smarter you are, which means the more successful you’ll be. Right?
Wrong. Not caring about your appearance is career-suicide. Or at least career-idiocy. Especially for young associates. Looking good helps women advance. In my experience anyway. I’m no Gisele, but I definitely look good in clothes—and like it or not, I’m not afraid to wear suits that accentuate my long-legged, genetic good fortune. Ask me, it’s no coincidence that I’m one of the only female associates whose name comes easily to the managing partner and is often invited to client dinners. I’m pretty sure it’s not because I’m a better researcher or writer than the other 50 women lawyers at my firm. I just dress better.
You might say I’m the Big Firm Erin Andrews.