of the facts of your case should be
As coco chanel advised us, “Dress
shabbily and they remember the
dress; dress impeccably and they
remember the woman.” 3 We’ll add:
Dress professionally and they remember your argument. nwl
is an attorney
The firm con-
sists only of
lous clothes with an incredible
collection of fabulous shoes).
Carol Bailey and Associates:
Integrative Family Law focuses
on minimizing conflict to assist
their clients in achieving long
term well-being. Du Four is a
frequent speaker at CLEs on
family law and is co-author of
the King County Bar Bulletin
quarterly column “Family Law
Matters.” She has practiced
family law for over 18 years,
both in private practice and
as a senior deputy prosecuting
attorney with the King County
Family Support Division.
The views and opinions
expressed in this article are
those of the author and do not
necessarily reflect an official
policy or position of any court
or bar association. Assumptions made within this analysis
of appropriate clothing for the
female attorney are for information purposes only. There are no
claims, promises, or guarantees
about the accuracy or completeness of this analysis.
1. coco chanel quote from Chanel by Jean
2. NWSidebar website dated June 21, 2013.
Wear: business suit
and jacket) or
Fun jewelry and handbag. Nice shoes — generally I don’t recommend
open toes. Don’t wear:
fuzzy sweaters, suits
that have wild prints or
animal prints, hats, or
self whether your makeup would be
appropriate if you were on television
as a news anchor (on a major network,
not cable news!).
Purses can be a fun color, but be
sure to place them behind or next to
you on the bench or on the floor. It
is not appropriate to clunk a huge,
heavy purse down on the bar. I prefer
not to take a purse to court. Instead, I
tuck my cellphone, keys, and wallet in
Shoes and Legs
The women at carol Bailey and Associates: Integrative Family Law agree
with the NWSidebar blog post that
describes shoe styles appropriate
for the woman lawyer: flats, pumps,
heels, wedges, and even kitten heels. 2
Shoes can have heels of any height,
as long as you can walk in them. You
do not want to wobble on high heels in
the courtroom. White shoes with dark
nylons should be avoided. We have
mixed reviews on sandals: While it
may not raise eyebrows to wear sandals at the office, they are usually not
appropriate for court. Very few people
want to see someone else’s toes in a
formal business setting. If you choose
to wear sandals in the summertime,
then be sure your toenails are clean
or freshly painted.
To wear nylons or go bare-legged?
It is acceptable to have bare legs in
court if your legs are an even color.
pearing for a
a too-tight short
skirt and a clingy, low-cut
fuzzy sweater. She lost the
hearing. I think the com-
missioner was in awe of
her outfit and did not listen
to what she had to say.
Again, you want people to focus on
you — not your legs. or you can avoid
the nylon issue by wearing pants or a
longer skirt with boots.
Skirt length may depend on your
knees. If you have great knees, then
wear a skirt above the knee. Long
skirts hanging around your ankles
are not professional and can make
you look short and dumpy. Skirts
past the ankle are hard to walk in
and gather dirt and dust on the hem.
If you have great legs, some of the
attorneys at my firm think it is acceptable — in moderation — to show
• Fit is important. Do not wear
clothes that fit 10 years ago if they
don’t fit. Some men can buckle
their belt below their belly and
their pants will still fit. Women do
not have that option.
• Only wear colors found in nature
in the courtroom. This allows a
rainbow of colors but excludes anything neon or extremely bright.
clinks, squeaks, or bangs into other things.
not fidget or pick at them.
represent your client. Anything
that places the focus on you instead
The Bar Beat
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