Some Women Attorneys are Trading in Their Power Suit

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 30, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

"Attorneys need to wear a suit."

Can a woman attorney look authoritative if she is wearing something else?

A "power suit" got its name for a valid reason, after all. Suits bring a sense of professionalism with them. 

But wearing a two-piece suit may also make some female attorneys feel dowdy and uncomfortable. Not surprisingly, some women attorneys are turning to jumper dresses and other chic frocks to fill their work wardrobe.

Is this a good idea?

It depends. Clothing retailers like Ann Taylor and Anne Klein reveal that work clothes don't need to be boring.

They can be colorful. Some retailers offer career-oriented dresses that mix fabrics, print, color and texture.

Attorneys worried about looking "dowdy" may be drawn to these more flattering lines.

Are these clothes really appropriate for the office? "Under-dressing" for the office can cost you points with clients and with your managers. No attorney wants to feel the sting of their partner's ire.

But since most attorneys practically live in the office, it would be nice to have some variety beyond your standard suit.

There's probably little harm in donning a well-tailored dress with clean lines and a neutral color.

There are still some fashion "don'ts" that associates should avoid. Attorneys should probably steer clear of miniskirts and plunging necklines.

And as much as you might wish for a drink while finishing your document review, keep the cocktail dresses at home. Women attorneys may not need to wear a suit to look professional, but donning a frilly fuchsia pink mini-dress might be a little too much.

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