Lawyer Fashion 101: 'What Not to Wear' in Your Free Time

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on October 27, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

There's been a lot of criticism of courtroom fashion in recent years, but little has been said about lawyer fashion outside of work.

A recently aired episode of TLC's guilty pleasure What Not to Wear demonstrates just this point. Hosts Stacy and Clinton ambushed Sarah, a then-2L from Nashville School of Law. What she wore at the courthouse wasn't necessarily inappropriate for a cash-strapped law student.

But what she wore on a day-to-day (and nightly) basis?

It left a lot to be desired.

Sarah's daily fashion choices can only be described as juvenile and revealing. Her clubwear was typical of a 20-something, and though she covered-up at school, she often looked sloppy and immature.

This ordinarily wouldn't be a problem, but what if she ran into her boss? Or a co-worker? Her mentor? A client?

Should her daily clothing matter?

Even if non-courtroom lawyer fashion shouldn't matter, it does. Both men and women are judged by what they wear. A woman showing both legs and chest is going to be called promiscuous. A man wearing a t-shirt with a sexual slogan will be deemed immature.

These are character judgments that reflect directly on how someone is viewed professionally--even when made outside of the work environment.

None of this is meant to suggest that attorneys should go business casual during their free time. Instead, it's a question of whether attorneys should put more thought into what they wear off the clock.

What do you think? Should lawyer fashion be tamed down outside the courtroom? Let us know on our FindLaw for Legal Professionals Facebook page.

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