SA business casual - women's clothing thread

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Anonymous User
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SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2012 10:17 pm

Rules? Suggestions? Potential fashion faux-pas to avoid?

sidhesadie
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby sidhesadie » Tue May 01, 2012 11:18 pm

From what I've read, women have more of a tendency in business casual to go "too" casual. My understanding of true business casual (as opposed to just, casual..) for law is think slacks, nice top and a blazer or cardi. Real shoes. Accessories. Or skirt and the above. Or sheath/other businesslike day dress. Maybe khakis (trouser style, not like, cargo pants/weekend khakis) and a sweater/blouse so long as they are nice fabric and a professional cut.

I do think it depends on your office, too.

thatgirlthere
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby thatgirlthere » Wed May 02, 2012 8:44 am

Don’t wear open-toed shoes, flip flops, or tank tops.

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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 02, 2012 1:57 pm

What about heels? Obviously not too high, but what is the approximate range?

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neimanmarxist
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby neimanmarxist » Wed May 02, 2012 2:22 pm

I've been sticking to heels in the 1.5" - 3" range.

ETA corporette.com has a big community of ladies in biglaw that have tons of fashion advice. highly recommended, though the blog leans towards the conservative, clothing-wise.

keg411
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby keg411 » Wed May 02, 2012 5:09 pm

neimanmarxist wrote:I've been sticking to heels in the 1.5" - 3" range.

ETA corporette.com has a big community of ladies in biglaw that have tons of fashion advice. highly recommended, though the blog leans towards the conservative, clothing-wise.


I <3 corporette, but the clothes tend to be pricey. However, it's probably a good basis for women's business casual should be.

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neimanmarxist
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby neimanmarxist » Wed May 02, 2012 5:39 pm

keg411 wrote:
neimanmarxist wrote:I've been sticking to heels in the 1.5" - 3" range.

ETA corporette.com has a big community of ladies in biglaw that have tons of fashion advice. highly recommended, though the blog leans towards the conservative, clothing-wise.


I <3 corporette, but the clothes tend to be pricey. However, it's probably a good basis for women's business casual should be.


Totally agree. The clothes they feature are "I've got my loans paid off" type clothes (even a lot of the "frugal" options) but in the comments people talk about what's OK/ not OK to wear and they have a lot of old articles about wear-to-work wardrobes (bare your arms or not? what kind of handbag is good for an SA? etc.)

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alirod12
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby alirod12 » Wed May 02, 2012 7:26 pm

What about ballet flats?

cpdc2013
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby cpdc2013 » Fri May 04, 2012 12:45 am

how high you can go with heels depends on your height. if you're short, you can get away with going taller / if you're tall, you should wear shorter heels

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eandy
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby eandy » Fri May 04, 2012 2:02 am

Like everyone else, I can't recommend Corporette enough. Lots of good articles and the commenters are really helpful as well.

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Lwoods
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby Lwoods » Fri May 04, 2012 7:06 am

Shoes: ballet flats to 4" heels. To be safe, steer clear of sandals and flip flops (unless you just wear them to commute). No more than 1/2" platform. Peep toes are fine. I'd personally avoid a chunky heel because it gives me bad flashbacks to the late 1990s. Within this, though, don't be afraid to show a little bit of your personal style; I definitely saw female SAs bond with female partners over shoes and pedicures.

Bottoms:
No jeans, obviously. Some old school folks consider khakis to be casual wear, so I'd avoid those and stick to black, grey and navy slacks.
Skirts can hit just above the knee but no shorter. Use good judgment when it comes to slits. Here you have more freedom with colors, but I'd avoid prints that look like resort wear.

Tops:
No cleavage. If most of your blouses are v-necks/show cleavage, wear a cami underneath (I really like this one from The Limited).
You can wear sleeveless blouses, but always have a cardigan or blazer to wear over them in the office, and make sure they're still presentable without the blazer or cardigan (no exposed bra straps, etc.)

Dresses:
Combine the rules of tops and skirts (just above the knee at the shortest, no cleavage, etc.)

Accessories:
You can show some personality here, but within the right context. Chunky bangle? Doable. Giant gold hoop earrings? Probably not a good idea.


Start with conservative looks the first week (3" pumps, dark neutrals on the bottom, solid-color conservatively cut blouses, delicate necklaces or stud earrings) and just observe how the female attorneys dress. If they all look frumpy, you don't have to mimic them, but if there are a handful of a little more fashion-forward attorneys, you can follow their lead (within reason...and keep your ears open to make sure their bosses don't have negative opinions about their dress).
Overall, though, if you look in the mirror and think you look put together, clean cut, and powerful, you're probably in good shape.

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alirod12
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby alirod12 » Sat May 05, 2012 10:24 am

In my opinion, kitten heels are an awful fashion decision, always. Jcrew has great stylish work clothes, probably my favorite after Theory (and much more affordable).

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bazinga!
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby bazinga! » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:56 am

any suggestions on how to wear a cardigan without looking like a librarian or secretary? also, are hose still required with a skirt in a business casual office?

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lawyergirl47
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby lawyergirl47 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:11 pm

Tagged. I've been waiting for a thread like this for a while :)

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akili
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby akili » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:41 pm

I'm going shopping with my mom (haha) to get clothes for OCI/next summer where my office won't be just casual. We are going to hit up J.Crew and Ann Taylor Loft, but do yall have any other recommendations for affordable work clothes?

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bazinga!
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby bazinga! » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:31 pm


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bazinga!
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby bazinga! » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:37 pm

Last edited by bazinga! on Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ozymandias
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby Ozymandias » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:39 pm

bazinga! wrote:any suggestions on how to wear a cardigan without looking like a librarian or secretary? also, are hose still required with a skirt in a business casual office?

As long as it's not a twinset with pearls, you're not going to look like a librarian. Cardigans are really common in the business casual workplaces I've been in. I think they look much better and more on the stylish side (as opposed to the buttoned-up sweater conservative side) when paired with a dressier shirt underneath and not just a plain camisole.

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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby formerbiglawpartner » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:57 pm

I'm going to disagree with a few of the comments here. First of all, it is always best to err on the conservative side. Just because some women attorneys in your office are more fashion forward doesn't give you, a young summer associate, license to do so. She's earned her stripes. You haven't. With that in mind, I would steer clear of open toed shoes, cardigans (do you really want to be mistaken for a secretary or legal assistant?), colors other than the standards (black, navy, gray, beige, taupe), etc. Wear some sort of closed toe heel--not ballet flats but not stilettos. Most of what LWoods said is spot on.

"Business casual" is basically a land mine for women attorneys, unfortunately. Frankly, most women don't look good in pants, especially if worn without a jacket. A better bet are sheath dresses, pencil skirts with various shirts, and always having some sort of jacket to wear over them. The bottom line is know your body type and stick with what looks best on you. Spend some money on alterations to be sure whatever you wear fits perfectly.

I realize this sounds pretty boring, but the objective of the summer associate program is to be remembered for your intellect, team work, personality, etc., and not about what you wore to the office. You can certainly show more flair at social events during the summer, of course, so long as you are reasonable. Think "sophisticated" not "sexy" and you should be fine in the evenings.

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sarcasticswede
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby sarcasticswede » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:58 pm

I went to nordstrom before I started my SA job this summer and that worked out really well, I told them what I was doing and they started pulling stuff for me. Most of what has been said already is spot on, but I would say that flats don't seem to be a problem at all (I'm in LA if that makes a difference, and a lot of women in my office wear ballet flats like Tory Burch or Attilio Giusti Leombruni- side note, these are on sale for the anniversary sale at nordstrom and are a complete dream for your feet), I wear nice flats most days of the week. Definitely steer clear of tank tops and open toed shoes though. I've been throwing blazers on over my tanks instead of cardigans.

Maybe this is just LA related too, but every time somewhere wears bright colors here, they get a ton of compliments from associates.

Definitely don't shop for this stuff alone when you go, I actually went with both of my parents, it was nice to get both a female and male perspective on my choices, my dad definitely spotted a lot of issues with certain pieces that my mom and I would not have.

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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:40 pm

Stopped by H and M the other day and bought the blazer in the top left of the picture on this page (but in black, not white): http://www.myhereandnowlife.com/2012/05 ... yle-h.html . Now I'm having second thoughts because of the ruffles on the sides. Appropriate for business casual? What about OCI? If not, can I take it to a tailor and get the ruffles removed? It fits me really well and I have a hard-to-fit body, but I can return it if it looks too weird.

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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:55 pm

Question re. hair: mine is super super curly. I've gotten the impression that curly hair is somehow more unprofessional looking so I either straighten it or put it up. Is this just a ridiculous assumption or is curly hair actually more casual looking?

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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Question re. hair: mine is super super curly. I've gotten the impression that curly hair is somehow more unprofessional looking so I either straighten it or put it up. Is this just a ridiculous assumption or is curly hair actually more casual looking?


I also want to know this. Not that putting up my hair helps it look better...

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jessuf
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby jessuf » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Question re. hair: mine is super super curly. I've gotten the impression that curly hair is somehow more unprofessional looking so I either straighten it or put it up. Is this just a ridiculous assumption or is curly hair actually more casual looking?


I also want to know this. Not that putting up my hair helps it look better...


I put my hair up for interviews. I think it looks a bit more unprofessional than straight hair because of the volume and its tendency to frizz in the humidity. However, when I'm just in the office, I wear it down when it looks good.

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jessuf
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Re: SA business casual - women's clothing thread

Postby jessuf » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Stopped by H and M the other day and bought the blazer in the top left of the picture on this page (but in black, not white): http://www.myhereandnowlife.com/2012/05 ... yle-h.html . Now I'm having second thoughts because of the ruffles on the sides. Appropriate for business casual? What about OCI? If not, can I take it to a tailor and get the ruffles removed? It fits me really well and I have a hard-to-fit body, but I can return it if it looks too weird.


I think it's adorable, but I say no to OCI. Seems too fashionable for OCI.




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