First impressions can count for a lot, often determining how others perceive you. Your outward appearance and the clothes you wear can be top factors that influence others’ perceptions of you, followed by good posture and giving a friendly, firm handshake. The clothes you wear and the impressions you make on others are essential in any field, but lawyers should always dress well and aim to make a great impression. As an attorney, you want a look that demonstrates to your boss, colleagues, and especially your clients that you take being a defender of federal and local laws seriously. Keeping in mind that the clothes you wear can impact your physical and mental performance, listed below are ways you should dress for ultimate success as a lawyer.
Wear clothes that follow the dress code enforced by your law firm.
In recent years, many workplaces across various domains have begun relaxing their professional dress codes. However, the legal industry continues to embrace traditional, conservative business wear. The reasoning behind this likely connects to the notion that wearing formal business attire in the workplace demonstrates an ability to increase abstract thinking and improve one’s focus and ability to negotiate—skills necessary for attorneys. Smaller law firms may be more willing to change, permitting more casual dress for lawyers. However, larger firms typically remain in line with tradition. As a professional, it’s in your best interest to find out what kind of attire is in code with your firm and dress accordingly.
Build a wardrobe of slacks, suits, ties, pencil skirts, and more.
Suppose you’re a slip and fall lawyer handling a personal injury case for a claimant who is a fall victim that sustained serious injuries slipping on a wet floor or staircase. As a result of the slip, your client may have sprains, a wrist or head injury, or even a brain injury or spinal cord injury. Representing injured clients and seeking the maximum compensation for their fall injuries, emergency room visit, and medical bills on their behalf will likely require you to have many meetings with the victims and many sessions in the courtroom proving negligence on the defendant’s part. You’ll want to look your best at every appearance you make.
Any time you step into the office or the courtroom, you’ll want to exercise great taste. Arrive at work wearing clean, pressed collared shirts, blazers and jackets, sweaters, pants, skirts, and slacks. Most retailers have classic button-downs, men’s shirts, women’s shirts, and blouses that vary in sleeve length available. The best retailer has enough variety in the professional attire they offer that you won’t end up like a cartoon character who always wears the same outfits. When buying from the best, whether you shop in person or go on an online shopping spree, stock your wardrobe with shirts with long sleeves, as they’re typically considered more appropriate for the courtroom. The right retailer will have stylish, sophisticated clothes that allow you to be fashionable and professional.
Avoid wearing uncomfortable, unprofessional clothes.
When asking what you should wear to work as a lawyer, you may also begin wondering about what you shouldn’t wear. In keeping with standard professional dress, avoid wearing tees, sweat suits, shorts, denim, bold colors, or animal print attire that could distract the workplace. Ultimately, it’s best to leave such casual wear outside of the courtroom. Regardless of your years of experience—whether you’re a new lawyer or an experienced lawyer—dressing in a dignified and sophisticated manner can earn you respect in the office and motivate your clients to decide that it’s worth pursuing a lawsuit with a professional like you.