How much does appearance matter?

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goosey
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How much does appearance matter?

Postby goosey » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:54 pm

I've asked for advice about this before when I was going to an interview for a government internship, but I'd like some perspective as far as legal professions go:

I wear a headscarf and an abayah (the long, loose black dresses you see arab women wearing)---the only way to make it more "professional" is by throwing a blazer on top. I've had trouble in the past getting a job---even at places like Macy's--because of the way I am dressed.

I invested in some suiting fabric and had dresses stitched in that fabric so that its not so overtly abayah, but still accomplishes the same goal. I've also gotten some long tailored coats made (theyre kind of fitted on top and then flare out and go slightly past knee length) that I can wear with some some slacks.

My question is: do you think that this will suffice? I really don't want to compromise my values but at the same time I want to be realistic and not waste 3 yrs of my life in law school when nobody will hire me.

Secondly, should I focus on staying away from litigation or the likes? I am used to people making assumptions about me the minute they see me---this can be good or bad, depending on the persons own world view. I would imagine, however, that this can be a risky thing in terms of litigation. Thoughts?

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bk1
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby bk1 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:57 pm

I don't think nobody will hire you. However, when people are recommending to stay away from pants in case the partners are older, I think it will be a serious detriment. The question is, to what extent will that be?

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DoubleChecks
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby DoubleChecks » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:00 pm

goosey wrote:I've asked for advice about this before when I was going to an interview for a government internship, but I'd like some perspective as far as legal professions go:

I wear a headscarf and an abayah (the long, loose black dresses you see arab women wearing)---the only way to make it more "professional" is by throwing a blazer on top. I've had trouble in the past getting a job---even at places like Macy's--because of the way I am dressed.

I invested in some suiting fabric and had dresses stitched in that fabric so that its not so overtly abayah, but still accomplishes the same goal. I've also gotten some long tailored coats made (theyre kind of fitted on top and then flare out and go slightly past knee length) that I can wear with some some slacks.

My question is: do you think that this will suffice? I really don't want to compromise my values but at the same time I want to be realistic and not waste 3 yrs of my life in law school when nobody will hire me.

Secondly, should I focus on staying away from litigation or the likes? I am used to people making assumptions about me the minute they see me---this can be good or bad, depending on the persons own world view. I would imagine, however, that this can be a risky thing in terms of litigation. Thoughts?


sry i cant help w/ your predicament, but its saddening to hear about your concerns (mostly because they are valid lol). i cant imagine many ppl being able to answer this question unless they were in a position of recruiting for law firms -- and even then, this may be something that varies greatly from individual to individual (im also having a hard time perfectly visualizing it in my head haha). obviously there wouldnt be some kind of company policy, but individual prejudices always survive.

i, however, wouldnt compromise my own values. i can understand not dressing professionally and having ppl make assumptions about that...but outside of that, we're in the murky world of the gray

NonTradHealthLaw
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby NonTradHealthLaw » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:02 pm

Just a quick googling came up with this website --LinkRemoved--. Inquiring with some of those women or others at large cities' Muslim Bar Association may be a far better place to direct your question.

hopefulIPgirl
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby hopefulIPgirl » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:04 pm

I work at an IP law firm and wear a headscarf (not an abaya though, but always full sleeves, high necks and pants). I have never had any problems. My workplace is pretty open-minded, and, though, they've obviously asked about the scarf (why I wear it, under what circumstances I can take it off, etc), I have never felt uncomfortable or misjudged. It really helps to have a supportive boss, though.

On the client-side, I work mostly with engineers or legal counsel in engineering companies who couldn't care less what people wear.

There are opportunities out there, you just have to work a little harder selling yourself because certain perceptions are automatically associated with you as soon as someone sees a scarf/abaya.

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chicoalto0649
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby chicoalto0649 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:11 pm

goosey wrote:I've asked for advice about this before when I was going to an interview for a government internship, but I'd like some perspective as far as legal professions go:

I wear a headscarf and an abayah (the long, loose black dresses you see arab women wearing)---the only way to make it more "professional" is by throwing a blazer on top. I've had trouble in the past getting a job---even at places like Macy's--because of the way I am dressed.

I invested in some suiting fabric and had dresses stitched in that fabric so that its not so overtly abayah, but still accomplishes the same goal. I've also gotten some long tailored coats made (theyre kind of fitted on top and then flare out and go slightly past knee length) that I can wear with some some slacks.

My question is: do you think that this will suffice? I really don't want to compromise my values but at the same time I want to be realistic and not waste 3 yrs of my life in law school when nobody will hire me.

Secondly, should I focus on staying away from litigation or the likes? I am used to people making assumptions about me the minute they see me---this can be good or bad, depending on the persons own world view. I would imagine, however, that this can be a risky thing in terms of litigation. Thoughts?


I had no clue you were a girl! I just thought you were a regular bro cuz of your avatar

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A'nold
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby A'nold » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:17 pm

Why do women have to wear the scarf?

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chicoalto0649
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby chicoalto0649 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:22 pm

A'nold wrote:Why do women have to wear the scarf?


Why do you have to be culturally insensitive?

:wink: jk

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bk1
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby bk1 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:26 pm

chicoalto0649 wrote:
A'nold wrote:Why do women have to wear the scarf?


Why do you have to be culturally insensitive?


Why do you have to pass judgment on other people's questions?

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chicoalto0649
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby chicoalto0649 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:26 pm

bk1 wrote:
chicoalto0649 wrote:
A'nold wrote:Why do women have to wear the scarf?


Why do you have to be culturally insensitive?


Why do you have to pass judgment on other people's questions?


Why can't you read the fine print?

edit: please refer back to the 8th post of this thread and read very carefullly :wink:

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traehekat
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby traehekat » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:27 pm

Oh boy...

IBTL.

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jks289
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby jks289 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:29 pm

The Muslim Student's Association is going to be a much better position to give advice. Seek them out when you start school. It is sadly, probably going to be some degree of challenge for you. But certainly not impossible. I haven't run across a practicing attorney who wore more than a head scarf and pant suit, but I have seen a few UK lawyers who do. They may be a better source of navigating religious/fashion choices. I wouldn't stress too much. Plenty of observant Jews practice in religious apparel. And you're going to want to be looking at firms who are accommodating of your beliefs. Essentially, if someone won't hire you based on your belief or apparel, you don't want to work for them anyway.
Last edited by jks289 on Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bk1
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby bk1 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:30 pm

chicoalto0649 wrote:Why can't you read the fine print?

edit: please refer back to the 8th post of this thread and read very carefullly :wink:


Probably because it wasn't very funny or witty so I assumed it wasn't sarcastic. My fail then.

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sundance95
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby sundance95 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:31 pm

NonTradHealthLaw wrote:Just a quick googling came up with this website --LinkRemoved--. Inquiring with some of those women or others at large cities' Muslim Bar Association may be a far better place to direct your question.


TITCR. They will have real information, whereas what you will get here is mostly speculation. I commend you on your determination not to compromise your values-I'm sure there are firms out there that will respect that, even if some don't.

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sundance95
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby sundance95 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:32 pm

jks289 wrote:if someone won't hire you based on your belief or apparel, you don't want to work for them anyway.


+1^10

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goosey
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby goosey » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:33 pm

chicoalto0649 wrote:
I had no clue you were a girl! I just thought you were a regular bro cuz of your avatar


lol..everyone always thinks im a guy on tls for some reason


also, thanks for the responses everyone---i will check with karamah

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Waterman47
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Waterman47 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:33 pm

I think the headscarf has become widely accepted in most fields, especially one as vast as the legal field.

But to be perfectly honest, I think the abayah is unfortunately an entirely different issue. I think Muslim women wearing the headscarf are able to "mitigate its harm" to their career prospects by wearing fashionable clothing along with it. It's sort of a way of saying, "we're not that different, I just cover my hair! Look at my clothes!" But with the abayah, you are wholly different than others in terms of dress, and it would be naive to say that this won't negatively effect your job prospects.

I'm not sure how difficult it would be for you to wear traditional business clothing (altered in line with Muslim dress) along with your hejab, but if it is something you could be at peace with, I think it would make a huge difference in job prospects.

That is the unfortunate reality of the situation.

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bk1
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby bk1 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:34 pm

goosey wrote:
chicoalto0649 wrote:
I had no clue you were a girl! I just thought you were a regular bro cuz of your avatar


lol..everyone always thinks im a guy on tls for some reason


Wentworth Miller 'tar is the credited response. :P

09042014
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby 09042014 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:36 pm

A'nold wrote:Why do women have to wear the scarf?


Aren't you a fundie? You should know about doing dumb shit your religion says.

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traehekat
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby traehekat » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:38 pm

Star of Prison Break AND the creator of LEEWS? I'm impressed.

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dominkay
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby dominkay » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:38 pm

jks289 wrote:The Muslim Student's Association is going to be a much better position to give advice. Seek them out when you start school. It is sadly, probably going to be some degree of challenge for you. But certainly not impossible. I haven't run across a practicing attorney who wore more than a head scarf and pant suit, but I have seen a few UK lawyers who do. They may be a better source of navigating religious/fashion choices. I wouldn't stress too much. Plenty of observant Jews practice in religious apparel. And you're going to want to be looking at firms who are accommodating of your beliefs. Essentially, if someone won't hire you based on your belief or apparel, you don't want to work for them anyway.


Not really comparable. Unmarried Jewish women don't cover their hair. Married Jewish women mostly wear wigs (that look just like regular hair). A skirt suit is perfectly acceptable according to the Jewish laws about modesty, as long as the shirt under it covers the collarbones.

I think it's naive to think that this won't effect her career prospects.

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Waterman47
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby Waterman47 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:43 pm

dominkay wrote:
jks289 wrote:The Muslim Student's Association is going to be a much better position to give advice. Seek them out when you start school. It is sadly, probably going to be some degree of challenge for you. But certainly not impossible. I haven't run across a practicing attorney who wore more than a head scarf and pant suit, but I have seen a few UK lawyers who do. They may be a better source of navigating religious/fashion choices. I wouldn't stress too much. Plenty of observant Jews practice in religious apparel. And you're going to want to be looking at firms who are accommodating of your beliefs. Essentially, if someone won't hire you based on your belief or apparel, you don't want to work for them anyway.


Not really comparable. Unmarried Jewish women don't cover their hair. Married Jewish women mostly wear wigs (that look just like regular hair). A skirt suit is perfectly acceptable according to the Jewish laws about modesty, as long as the shirt under it covers the collarbones.

I think it's naive to think that this won't effect her career prospects.


Agreed, not comparable at all.

And I think going to MSAs is a good idea, but there is the danger that their advice will be more concerned with respecting religion than securing career prospects. I understand that OP is definitely concerned with the former, but I think the fact that she posted here probably means that she is legitimately concerned with her prospects as well. I don't think this is a time for answers like "dress however you're comfortable, you don't want to work for someone that doesn't respect that." Unfortunately, given how far from the norm OP's dress is, she needs to know how her dress will affect her career prospects, especially given the time and effort and $ she'll be investing to secure those prospects in law school. And I think the honest answer to that is that the abayah will have a significantly negative impact on her prospects. Maybe in some very specific types of firms or organizations she will be received warmly, but I think the majority of private firms would hesitate to hire someone wearing an abayah in today's America. That's the reality of it.

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YCrevolution
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby YCrevolution » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:44 pm

..

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lilybbloom
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby lilybbloom » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:45 pm

why can't you just wear your headscarf with a (relatively) loose-fitting pantsuit and dark-colored tights underneath? why does it have to be a big shapeless thing if all your skin is covered? honestly i think it will be problematic if you can't somehow find a way to wear business attire.

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lilybbloom
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Re: How much does appearance matter?

Postby lilybbloom » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:47 pm

also, I've seen older women wear skirt suits with longer skirts (like, mid calf or even longer)- would that work? it doesn't matter if you look attractive, but i think you need to wear something resembling a suit that isn't totally shapeless.




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