Courtroom Attire for Women Lawyers

what-women-lawyers-wear-to-courtWhat is the best courtroom attire for women lawyers? What are the best suits to wear to court -- and must you wear heels and pantyhose? We discuss many topics relating to conservative offices and looking professional as a young woman -- but below is  collection of our best posts discussing fashion questions about court appearances. Pantsuits or skirt suits? Interesting/fun suits? The best budget suits? We've talked about it all. These other features and guides may be of interest to you, as well:

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How to Dress Professionally on the Coldest Days

Reader C wrote in, wondering how to dress professionally on the coldest days when going to court. We’ve rounded up our favorite winter coats, and talked about how to interview in a snowstorm — but I don’t think we’ve directly discussed what to wear to court in winter. Here’s her question:

I’m driving myself crazy trying to prepare my outerwear wardrobe for winter. I can’t get a clear answer on what people do on the coldest days when going to court. I have a VERY warm down-filled parka but I want something more polished for court appearances. I’m curious about whether people change when they get there or dress less appropriately and just brave the walk over? Does it make more sense to get a sleeker parka for all the time or a longer wool coat for the court commute?

I’m sure this is going to vary a lot from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and I can’t wait to hear what the readers advise for how to dress professionally on the coldest days and what to wear to court in winter. (Psst, here’s all of our advice on courtroom attire for women lawyers…) For my $.02:

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Can You Wear Interesting Suits to Court?

Can Lawyers Wear Interesting Suits to Court?Can you wear “interesting” suits to court — colorful, patterned, fanciful, haute? (You know, kind of like in our weekly Suit of the Week feature?) Reader E asks — specifically wondering about this teal LK Bennett suit that Kate Middleton is wearing here and here — and I think it’s a great question for all the women lawyers:

This is a lawyer-specific question – can you wear interesting suits to court if it’s still a suit? I agree with previous suggestions here that a dress/blazer combo, unless its meant to be a suit, is not formal enough for court. But, my question is, what about things that are true suit sets but are more interesting – like an AT tweed suit, or the LK Bennett dark teal dress and jacket suit set that Kate Mid. has? Or do you think court suits have to be black/grey/navy and totally plain? Thx!

I can’t wait to hear what the readers say here.  For my $.02, I always think of my reaction to an article years ago about a young public defender who wore Balmain (at the time, their blazers had super pointy shoulders) and other couture suits to court.  The impression it left on me was a bad one — it seemed like she was not showing any respect for her clients or the fact that she was there to represent THEM, in life-altering matters, before stodgy judges and juries who may or may not have approved of her fashion choices (or her designer budget). Plus, as readers have pointed out in the past, wearing ostensibly designer, moneyed things in front of juries can be a bad move, particularly if you’re a public defender.

NOW: A crazy/trendy Balmain suit is one thing — a dark teal LK Bennett dress and jacket is another.  But where is the line? And are there different rules for “first appearance before the court” and “day 30 of a 6-month trial”? For my $.02:

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Suiting Brands for Women: Plus Size Suits, Petite Suits, Tall Suits and More

plus size suitsIn case you missed it, we did a major round up of the best suiting brands for women a few weeks ago, from the budget brands to the boss brands. As promised, we’re back with a focus on specialty suiting brands for women — if you’re looking for plus size suits, petite suits, tall suits, or even suits from independent/specialty boutiques, this round-up is for you.

Ladies, if you’re on the hunt for one of these types of suits, which are your favorite brands and styles? Where do you shop the most, and what kind of sales have you found? 

The Best Plus Size Suits For Women

plus size suits

Awesome Options for Tall Suits for Women

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The Guide to Pantyhose for Work

Guide to Wearing Pantyhose For Work

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice for how and when to wear pantyhose to work — links have been updated below. 

If you were to write someone a guide to pantyhose for work, what would you say? Reader H wonders, and since pantyhose is one of the biggest topics we’ve talked about through the years, I thought I’d give it a go.  Here’s H’s question:

Hi! I know you write a lot about pantyhose/tights/stockings–sorry to bring it up again–but I am so confused about them. I grew up in Southern California where no one wears pantyhose, ever, and tights only as a fashion statement or on very rare cold days. I know you’re supposed to wear nude pantyhose to an interview and in very formal situations like court, but on a regular day in the office, is it okay to wear sheer or opaque black tights in the office? How about with a suit in the office? Or with a pencil skirt? Are there color rules e.g. no black tights with a black suit? I suppose what I really need is a Dummy’s Guide to Wearing Stockings. Thanks so much for any sort of information that could help sort me out

We have talked about this a lot, but I still see a lot of confusion about it.  So let’s get into it — I’m curious to hear what readers say. (Pictured: readers have always sung the praises of Donna Karan’s The Nudes pantyhose in the past; they’re $20-$25 at Nordstrom.) 

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Short-Sleeved Suits: Yea or Nay?

Short-Sleeved Suits: Yea or Nay? | CorporetteAre short-sleeved suits appropriate for young women in professional jobs — or are they horribly frumpy and tacky? Reader C wonders.

What are your thoughts on short-sleeved suits? Appropriate or tacky? To provide some context, I am an attorney in my late 20s in Kansas City, and I work for a non-profit which is generally business casual, erring on the side of casual. I also never have to appear in court. I’m looking for a summer suit for any big meetings and/or conferences that may pop up, and last summer it was blazing hot for months. Is a short-sleeved suit (probably khaki, white, or navy) ever appropriate in these settings? Or would I just look like an idiot? If I get one, I’d make sure it was fairly plain styling. If not short-sleeved, does 3/4 length work as a compromise? I am lacking in work attire role models in my office so advice would be much appreciated!

Difficult question.  My gut reaction here is: when you say “short sleeved suit,” I think of something like the picture above — horribly frumpy.  But that said, I have recommended short-sleeved suits at least four times here on Corporette (pictured below): [Read more…]

Introducing: The Corporette Guide to Women’s Suits

interview attire for womenNov. 2016 Update: We just updated our Guide to Suits

Our new “Guide to Women’s Suits” is now up! What are the best tips you have for basic women’s suiting? What brands are your favorite? What is your ideal interview attire — or what would you recommend as the ideal courtroom attire for women lawyers? Skirt suit or pantsuit? Black, gray, or navy? C’mon over and weigh in.

(As with our other guides, please note that any off-topic comments will be deleted. Instead, feel free to leave off-topic comments here, on this post.)

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