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  1. HELP!!!! I just got hired as a pharmaceutical rep. I have some questions about what is appropriate business professional attire.
    -Is a DVF jersey wrap dress ok to wear?
    -What is the rule on dresses that don’t have a jacket…ok or not?
    -If wearing a dress or skirt suit do I have to wear stockings?
    -Can I wear open back mules with stockings?
    -Can I wear a pant suit with pumps or slingbacks without stockings or knee highs?
    -Are sheer black stockings ok to wear w/ a black skirt suit?
    -Is a tweed jacket w/ slacks ok to wear instead of a traditional suit?
    -When do you wear the jacket, and when can you take it off?
    -Do you always have to wear a button-up blouse w/ collar under a jacket?
    I think that’s it. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  2. I’m a new attorney and one of the best things about what I do is getting to dress up for work everyday. I recently bought a navy blue suit that I love, but once I got it home, I realized I had no idea what color shoes to wear with it. Is it okay to wear black shoes with navy? I’ve looked around the courthouse, but where I work there are definitely a lot more male attorneys, and they seem to go for different shades of brown with their navy suits. Help!

  3. I’m trying to build my collection of jewelry and am wondering – what is work appropriate? I’m assuming dangly earrings are out, but how about chunky rings or those kind of structural necklaces?

  4. associate :

    Hi, I’m a third year associate who has been working exclusively with a partner and two senior associates. While our firm is large, we were essentially the only people in our particular specialty. The partner and one associate have decided to leave to start their own firm. The other associate and I are not going with them. The firm has been very supportive and clear that they want me to stay, but I now have to pick a new practice area. Luckily, I was in litigation and have some transferable experience.

    The firm has been clear that they will find a spot for me but that I have to be patient. They don’t really want me trying to find my own spot. I understand the need for patience and to let the powers that be do their thing, but I also want some control over and say in the situation. I do want to do my own investigation and find out if there are areas I would like. Also, some partners are better to work for than others, and I want to stay clear of some personalities. Do you have any recommendations for how to handle this appropriately?


    PS. I should add that I am very pregnant at the moment and will be going on maternity leave soon.

  5. Hi Corporette!!

    I’m a 1L, and I’m trying to spruce up my business/business casual wardrobe for my summer internship. My feet get really hot in the summer so I like to wear sandals, but in the last couple summers I’ve been stuck with less businessy, less professional, outdoorsy type Merrell sandals because I’ve been having arch support issues. Specifically, I’m wondering if you could suggest some work appropriate sandal styles that also have good arch support (or at least ones that I could put some arch support into)? I’m not afraid of some heel height but I usually max out around 3 inches, if that helps.

    Thanks! Looove your site!

  6. Help!
    Is it okay to wear ivory or off-white pantyhose with a brown suit in winter?

  7. HELP!
    I’m a 2L getting ready for a summer associate position this summer and I need help. The dress code at my firm is formal—so I’m guessing suits every day.

    Can you suggest affordable suits/combinations for the summer (such as 100 suits or so)?


  8. Daily reader here – love the site – thanks!! I have what may be a very odd question that I hope you and/or your readers could help with…Specifically, is there a “right” way to walk in heels?

    The reason I ask is that when I walk around the uncarpeted areas of the office, my heels make what seems to be a very loud clacking noise – and some other women do not seem to have this problem. Should I be walking more on the balls of my feet?


  9. I too love your blog. IMO your style choices are also spot on for women who simply prefer classic clothing – working or not. In my case, my work wardrobe after 30 years is pretty set. However, I’m currently in recession mode, i.e. my job has been misplaced. I find that my non-work clothes are just not suitable for walking around in the supermarket, given that in my community (high tech in Silicon Valley) I might meet someone there who would hire me. So I want to upgrade what would be my weekend wardrobe (if I were working). Can you help? I have my dilemma posted here. I thought you all might have some great ideas. I hope this doesn’t take you beyond the scope of your blog, but once we get to the executive ranks, I have found that networking etc. can extend the requirements and definition of “professional style”. Thanks in advance. LPC.

  10. Another 2L :

    I’m another soon-to-be summer associate in a New York law firm. Would love it if you could address dress codes given the current economic climate, and the boundaries of “formal wear” for women.
    Another 2L

  11. I love your blog. seriously – love it. I frequently check out things you recommend and love the websites. I have little time to shop and buy most of my suits online these days – so much easier with your recommendations (I am fashionally challenged!). thank you!

    I actually have a question for you. I am a mid-level law associate and my husband is a teaching physician at a local hospital. His boss is getting married in DC in April. It is the bride’s first marriage and it will be a huge event. The wedding is at 5 and then dinner and dancing at 6 at a country club.

    I have NO idea what to wear. Can I wear a black cocktail dress? I am so bad at these things and I want to make a good impression for my husband and look professional for my own benefit!

    this may seem like an elementary quesitons, but did I mention I am fashionally challeged?

    Thank you!

  12. oh. one more thing. I am barely thirty, but my husband is a good ten years older. I don’t want to look like a airhead, but I don’t want to look fourty either! ha ha. any suggestions would be appreciated.

  13. So, I’m a first year associate, and I’ve recently become a huge fan of “Damages” — or at least the fashion on it. I even find myself thinking, “Ahh, if only I could be like Ellen Parsons!” (minus the whole murdered fiance thing, of course). I think you guys should do a write-up about her character’s fashion choices! They are conservative, while at the same time pretty, and usually have a bit of personality or interesting details. My biggest office attire problem is figuring out how to look professional and like myself at the same time, and I think her character is a good role model for this!

  14. I want to second/ third all the 2L’s above asking for summer associate wear. I’m headed to a firm where the dress code isn’t quite formal. It didn’t seem like most of the women wore a suit everyday, but I don’t want to step on any toes, and the men were wearing suits and ties. How many suits does one need? 5? 10? 15? (I had at least 10 different work outfits in previous jobs, but 10 suits will be cost prohibitive at least at first). Do they all need to be black and navy or is a more causal grey or camel ok? How about ivory or dark green or burgundy? Patterned in some way? Linen? Seersucker? Skirts and/or pants?

    Then if I am wearing a suit, what on earth do I wear under it every day? The same collared shirt I wore to interviews (x10) or a sleeveless shell, or a short sleeve shell or sweater? Where can I get those? I’m sure some of this depends on location, weather, and office, but a starter list would be great!

    What should a summer associate wear to get the offer at the end of the summer in these “difficult economic times”?

    As a bonus challenge- I’m a size 18 in most lines, but don’t let that scare you too much. I’d love the advice even in sizes and stores I can’t do so I know what to look for!

  15. Hi C! Love your blog — I check it every day and frequently buy something that you suggest. My question is about blazers. It seems that a blazer/jacket really makes an outfit look more put together — you can go from the typical blouse/sweater with black/grey pants to something that looks a lot more professional. Do you have any suggestions about where to look for blazers that can go with lots of different outfits? Personally, I’m 5’9″ and usually need to lengthen my sleeves or order a tall/long size, but I’m open to suggestions for blazers in general.

  16. Thank you very much for this blog. You do not understand how helpful it is to someone with NO fashion sense a.k.a. me.

    I have one question…

    My boyfriend and I are in an argument over what is best to care on your arm for the financial industry. purse vs. briefcase vs. gear bag.

    Please keep in mind that I carry both a book and calculator in my purse.

    I saw your article on what is a good summer purse and I love it, but is a purse the best choice or should I go more for a briefcase?

    Thanks you so much!

  17. Recently I made the decision to move from a high-paying position to lower-paying but more personally satisfying career, which still requires professional, tasteful clothes. I’ll still be making a decent salary, but will not necessarily have $300 to drop on a pair of shoes or $400 on a suit. Problem is, the transition is coming just when my suit wardrobe could use a serious refresher– any ideas on less expensive suit basics, preferably well under $100 a piece?

  18. By the way, one issue I have is that I wear a small size (usually a 2) so sometimes department stores are not the easiest places to shop, especially in the lesser-expensive areas of the store.

  19. Stephanie :

    I am attending the annual banquet for Law Review and will be sitting with one of the firms I am clerking for this summer. The invitation says cocktail attire and I have a good feel for what that is. However, my question is whether or not that changes since this is a somewhat work related function. Should I avoid strapless? Should I avoid dresses that are too flouncy or feminine? I have several basic black dress options, but need to know which one to choose.

    Contrasting examples:

  20. I am in my second year at a firm in NYC and I have some orthopedic issues that prevent me from wearing high heels (or even the shortest of heel). Due to the same issue, I prefer shoes that offer as much ankle “support” as possible are ideal (if it were up to me, I’d wear sneakers all the time). I have a simple, comfortable pair of inexpensive black flats that I have worn every day at work for the past year, and I really need to fix this situation! I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t like heels, so it would be great if you could offer a few examples of comfortable flats that are appropriate for work (bonus points for budget options!). Thank you!