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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Where to Find Interview Suits if You’re Pregnant

where to find interview suits if you're pregnantThis summer we’ve been updating our Guides to Suits (here are our latest roundups of the best suits for women in 2018, a specific roundup of plus-size suits and stylish petite suits) — so over at CorporetteMoms today we’re updating our roundup of the best maternity suits for professional women. Of course… pickings are slim, as always with maternity career suits. We’ve talked before about what to wear to work when you’re pregnant (in general) and whether you really need to wear a suit to court if you’re a pregnant lawyer — but it’s been a while. So what DO you wear on “big career days” if your normal clothes no longer fit and your maternity clothes aren’t professional enough? (For example, where can you find interview suits if you’re pregnant?) Did you find a mythical maternity suit? Thrift one from an older collection? Buy a too-big maternity suit off the rack and tailor it? Wear two black pieces to “make” a suit? Or did you just shrug and wear whatever, like a dress and blazer? (Another question: do you think it matters how close to your due date you are — i.e., if you have one interview in week 39 it may not be a big deal to wear a blazer and dress, but if you have a 3-month jury trial starting around Month 5, you may want to try to find an official maternity suit?) Do tell…where to find interview suits if you're pregnant

Psst: here’s our last discussion on the fun of taking a new job while pregnant, and our best on-campus interview tips and resources.

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Where to Find Stylish Plus-Size Suits for Work

where to find stylish plus-size suits for workHere’s a topic we haven’t addressed in a while that seems apt since we just did our big roundup of the best women’s suits in 2018: where to find stylish plus-size suits for work? Plus-size readers, please chime in — which are your favorite stores to buy plus-size workwear, from dresses to blazers to suits? (We’re actually working on a story on plus-size splurges and investment shopping — please share any favorites if you have them!) We haven’t talked about this since we did our last roundup of plus-size suits and more (including business maternity suits, petite suits, and suits for tall women) or the best workwear for plus sizes.

(If you are interested in plus size workwear, please sign up for CorporettePlus, our newsletter, for plus-size news as well as workwear picks in plus sizes! Signing up helps us gauge interest in the project, and we promise not to blast your email more than once a week at most. (Right now it’s more like once a month.))

Wondering where to find stylish plus-size suits for work? These are some of the top spots we know of, in alphabetical order — your best bets for conservative interview suits are in bold…

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Stylish Tops for Under Suits

stylish tops for under suitsWe try to keep our major shopping guides updated regularly, but sometimes they need a major overhaul — that’s been the case for our Guide to the Best Tops for Under Women’s Suits for a while now.stylish tops for under women's suits - stock photo of a young woman wearing a bow blouse under a suit I’m proud to say we’ve finally done it — you can check it out here. In the meantime, ladies, let’s talk: what are your favorite, most stylish tops for under suits?

For my $.02: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’ve always been a fan of wearing slightly fancy t-shirts under suits whenever possible, provided they’re easy to launder — I particularly like that a sleeved bottom layer means that my suit blazer can go longer without being laundered. I’d say my next favorite option is the popover blouse, like many readers have noted — much less problems with gaping! On the flip side, a cowl top is one of my least favorite things to wear under suits — they never seem to lay properly with the lapels. Similarly, wrap tops can sometimes fight the line of the lapels — and for me anything that’s too high-necked (like a crew neck or turtleneck) is usually not flattering, and requires extra thought to “lower the neckline” with a pearl necklace or something. The secretary blouse, as pictured here, has never been one of my favorites — too hard to get the tie just right — but it can be a great look (and it’s one of Selina Meyer’s favorite looks!).  Ladies, let’s hear from you — what are your favorite stylish tops for under suits? Is there anything you definitely wouldn’t wear under suits? Do you prefer to layer different tops under jardigans or cardigans, or can your closet do double duty?

Pictured: Deposit Photos / CITAlliance

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The Best Women’s Suits of 2018: Affordable, Designer, and Everything In Between

Whether you're looking for a stylish interview outfit, courtroom attire, or an investment suit with that "corner office chic" look, check out our roundup of the best women's suits of 2018. We're also asking the readers what their power suits are, as well as what their favorite interview suit or work outfit is! Which are the best women’s suits of 2018, whether for a stylish interview outfit, a power suit, or some other major career event? (Or, hey: a simple, chic suit often makes a great work outfit all by itself!) We’ve recently updated The Corporette Guide to Interview Suits, but we haven’t talked about the best suits for women in ages (aww, here was one of our first discussions on suiting basics for women!) so I thought we’d do a roundup. (We’ll also be updating our guide to plus size suits, petite suits, tall suits, and more in the coming weeks as well!) Readers, which are your favorite interview suits right now? What do you consider to be your “power suit”? What are you looking for in a suit in 2018?

(June 2018 Update: Check out where to find stylish plus-size suits for work! Looking for petites? Check out our roundup for where to find stylish petite suits for women.)

First, some general tips on what to look for in a great suit:

  • Confidence is the key to interview attire and power dressing. The goal of any interview suit or other suit like this is to let your brain do the talking and let your fashion sense take a back seat — so if you feel best in a pants suit, or flats, go for that. You don’t want to be that “baby giraffe” trying to walk in uncomfortable heels that are too high for you and sitting awkwardly in your interview fussing with your jacket. Really: whatever makes you feel like a polished professional is what’s going to make you the most confident. So take the rest of these tips with a grain of salt, BUT for my $.02, here are some shopping, styling, and budget tips: 
    • If you’re hunting for a budget-friendly interview suit: go for a
      black skirt suit rather than a pants suit
      , because pants fit is by far the hardest thing to get right. In my experience a $60 skirt suit looks OK but a $60 pants suit makes you look like you come from Planet Frump. Furthermore, the skirt suit will go farther — you can wear the pencil skirt as a basic bottom in your wardrobe (but always dryclean all pieces of a suit together!), plus if you have a “dressed up” occasion, a skirt suit is always going to be the more formal option. Another pro for a simple pencil skirt: you completely avoid the issue of what length/type pants to get, which really does feel like we’re in a period of flux — for a while all you could find were ankle pants, even though they were too trendy to wear to most conservative workplaces — now that flared pants and bootcut trousers are coming back I feel like the ankle pants will look outdated pretty quickly. Other trends I’ve seen with suits: jumpsuits! culottes! short suits! You want 1) a pencil skirt + hip length jacket or 2) a fitted sheath dress + hip length jacket — these combos have been in for years and probably will be for years to come. (Here’s our guide to pantyhose, which yes, if you want to be “safe,” you should probably wear for any interview if you’re junior, particularly in more conservative areas — but go back to our first point on confidence/comfort and factor that in.)
    • If you’re shopping online, look for words such as: seasonless wool, stretch wool, tropical wool, gabardine, triacetate. Avoid words like sateen, shimmer, linen. Crepe can be really tricky — sometimes it means a polyester drapey blend for suiting and sometimes it means a bridesmaid’s dress/MOB type thing.
    • If you’re busty: traditional wisdom here is that you want more buttons on your blazer, not fewer. I’m plenty busty and have had some favorite one-button jackets over the years, though, so your mileage may vary here. Depending on trends you can sometimes find suits with as many as four or five buttons. Check out this post for more workwear style tips for busty women.
  • Treasure hunting for a suit (where you MAY or may not find something good): T.J. Maxx, Yoox, ASOS, OFF5TH, and Nordstrom Rack
  • Consider taking your suit to the tailor.  Common suiting alterations include shortening sleeves, adjusting the waist. Note that the blazer (specifically the shoulder/arms) are the hardest part to tailor, so focus on that fit when you’re shopping.
  • Please don’t forget to cut your Xs, always dryclean suiting pieces together, and — if you’re wearing the suit somewhere Very Important like an interview, make sure you use the mirror trick.
  • For other tips on buying a basic interview suit (including considerations on colors, care, accessories, layering, and more), please check out The Corporette Guide to Interview Suits. (We’re in the midst of updating our guide to what tops to wear under suits!)

Looking for older versions of this post? Here’s our roundup in 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, and (aww) 2008.

We’ll put a few handy pins at the bottom of this post for you with general prices for suiting alterations and general advice for what to wear on interviews. But first: on to our roundup of the best women’s suits of 2018!

Affordable Suits For Women

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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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