Don’t wear heels if you can’t walk in them. Nothing looks dumber than you and your gummy ankles. Don’t wear heels that are too high. If you have to ask if they’re too high, they’re too high. If you wear flats, don’t shuffle — pick up your damn feet. One shoe that isn’t okay, in my opinion, is wedges with the cork or rope platforms. What about cork or rope projects professionalism? Nothing, unless you’re a professional cork or rope maker. And finally, flip flops. I can’t believe I have to say this, but I actually saw a female attorney in court last week in a pair of those $2.50 Old Navy flip flops. If a male attorney walked into a courtroom in those, no one would think it was okay.
What I’m advocating for is that female attorneys present themselves professionally in the courtroom, in clothing and make up and shoes that put them on the same level of professional appearance as their male suit wearing counterparts. Of course there’s a common comeback here, that in general men have less to worry about regarding courtroom attire. And they have less to worry about because the standard for men’s court apparel has been set, the requirements are more or less clearly delineated and fairly easy to follow. However, this doesn’t mean that women should cave because of the extra effort required. Most of these things are not hard. They’re common sense. Your attire should be flattering, not distracting, and should project authority and confidence. You want people to remember your legal capability, not your wardrobe malfunction.
Author Note: I know I’m not the first person to discuss what women wear to court. For further reading, see the following:
- a piece on the definition of business casual (via ConstitutionalDaily) in May 2011;
- a panel in April 2010; and two female bloggers’ comments on the panel discussion (via abovethelaw)
- while another blog chose to comment on their comments.
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