Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

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EistMoran
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Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby EistMoran » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:14 pm

I was lucky enough to get several interviews with branch offices of BIGLAW in a secondary market. From the website pictures, it appears that the firms are pretty conservative. I have long blonde hair and wonder how I should wear it? In a bun? Half-up? Also, should I carry a purse and/or leather portfolio? I assume 3 inch black pumps are appropriate - should my suit be black or dark gray? Should I save up my money and buy a Theory suit or does it not matter? Are there other suits that would be equally professional? I know these questions are pretty superficial - but first impression is key. Men don't have as many issues/choices - so don't hate. :)

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:24 pm

Do you read Corporette? Super helpful on questions like these.

My 2 cents: bun or half up are both totally fine as long as they're neat and not going to distract you/you're not going to play with your hair in the interview; personally, I prefer no more than one bag/portfolio to avoid looking like a bag lady (so just a portfolio if you can swing it, if not - if you need to carry more stuff - an unobtrusive tote-shaped bag that can hold papers without folding them); either black or dark gray are totally fine; not necessary to save up for a Theory suit as long as what you have is clean, in good shape, and fits well - I'd get a less-expensive suit tailored to fit perfectly if it doesn't rather than buy a new one.

(Caveat: not actually in biglaw - went the government route instead - but I interviewed in a secondary market during law school. And I read Corporette a LOT.)

EistMoran
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby EistMoran » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:19 pm

No, I hadn't heard of Corporette. Looks very useful. Thank you.

I appreciate your 2 cents. I agree on the bag - prefer one. By portfolio, do you mean a small briefcase or a leather notepad cover type thing? I will have keys/cell phone and want to have everything put away but at the same time, don't really want to have a purse or a giant briefcase. Is there a brand name that is suitable? My grandparents want to get me whatever I need to make a good first impression, but at the same time, I don't want to get something too designer-oriented.

I'll look at Corporette, and would certainly appreciate any other real-life guidance or suggestions.

Are nude hose most appropriate?

Meep13
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby Meep13 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:24 pm

Bun or half up is probably best. I have long hair and wore mine in a ponytail. I carried a tote and a leather portfolio with me to my interviews. Not a small briefcase- just get a 12x14 leather zip portfolio. Most of these firms have closets at the reception where you can drop your bag off so you don't have to lug it around when you go to associate/partner offices for each interview. Therefore, the only people who will even see your bag is the recruiter/receptionist. Because of that, I would say it wouldn't really mater much what kind of bag you bring. I brought a bigger bag because I was traveling in on the LIRR and had a pair of comfortable shoes, and umbrella etc.

You didn't ask about this but I figured I would mention it- makeup. Don't wear too much, but don't wear too little. Appearance is key- wearing a little extra blush might actually help because, as in any profession, looking attractive at an interview can help you tremendously. Of course everything else must line up (grades, personality).

I did not have any type of designer suit. I wore a Calvin Klein/Express suit that cost $150 and I was fine (landed V10). Just make sure that the suit fits you. There is nothing worse than seeing female who is literally drowning in her suit- or popping out. Black or dark grey is a good choice, as well.

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Lwoods
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby Lwoods » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:10 pm

Congratulations!!

Overall, you just need to look nice and put together. The details are up to your taste and discretion. And ditto the Corporette suggestion.

Hair: I always wear mine down because I think it looks better that way. If you'd like to wear it up or half-up, though, that would also be totally appropriate provided it's clean, neat, and you have the fly-aways under control. If you do a ponytail, it should be low.

Purse/portfolio: for OCI, I would just carry my portfolio containing my resume, transcript, writing sample, and list of references. Off-site, I would also carry a small handbag with my keys, phone (which I would turn off during the interview), and wallet. In NY, where I didn't have a car to stash stuff in, I would carry my portfolio in my leather tote with other essentials.

Shoes: 3" basic black pumps are perfect. I wouldn't go any taller for a secondary market, though.

Suit: Fit is key. If suits from The Limited fit you correctly, I think they're great. If you have narrow shoulders, though, you might want to check out Banana Republic. I think it's nice to have one really nice suit that fits you perfectly (you mentioned Thoery; I also like Tahari), but it's certainly not necessary. Watch out before spending too much money at this point, too. I've never been one to see major weight fluctuations, but I inadvertently lost 20 lbs 1L year.
Check out outlet stores for deals when you are ready to buy a pricier one.

Suit colors: Women can do black, navy, charcoal for interviews, maybe light grey. A wider range of colors is appropriate for court or other suit situations.

Blouse color: A muted color is the safe choice. No need to wear white/beige, though. You can show a little personality with a pale hue.

Accessories: a necklace or earrings is appropriate. Again they should be modest, but you can show a little personality with them (pearls are lovely but not necessary of they're not you!)

Good luck!

SEngland
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby SEngland » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:59 pm

6 inch heels, short skirt, low cut blouse.


Boom-SHAK-A-LAKA

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neimanmarxist
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby neimanmarxist » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:45 pm

I had a range of suits for interviews, some were more expensive (Brooks Brothers) but I did also have a Banana Republic one that was half the price. There was a slight difference in quality, but I doubt it was visible. Just pick a suit that fits you well and that you like in a conservative, muted color (black, charcoal, light gray, navy).

Personally, I would wear my hair in a bun or a braid or a low chignon, having a lot of hair can be distracting and it's sometimes hard to keep it tidy for all four hours of the interview.

I carried a small black briefcase with a leather portfolio inside with resumés, etc. If they had a closet at the firm, I'd stash the briefcase and just carry the portfolio from office to office.

I would also note that I wore a skirt suit and nude hose to my interviews. Not everyone did this, but it is a more "conservative" look and a little dressier, which is appropriate for interviews. Good luck!

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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:21 pm

EistMoran wrote:I was lucky enough to get several interviews with branch offices of BIGLAW in a secondary market. From the website pictures, it appears that the firms are pretty conservative. I have long blonde hair and wonder how I should wear it? In a bun? Half-up? Also, should I carry a purse and/or leather portfolio? I assume 3 inch black pumps are appropriate - should my suit be black or dark gray? Should I save up my money and buy a Theory suit or does it not matter? Are there other suits that would be equally professional? I know these questions are pretty superficial - but first impression is key. Men don't have as many issues/choices - so don't hate. :)


I worked in Biglaw. Bun or half-up (though I have shoulder lenght hair and wore it down).
Nude hose, black suit w/skirt. Doesn't have to be theory, calvin klein is fine (and they usually have insane sales). White or blue button up beneath.

YOU'RE A WOMAN. BRING YOUR MICHAEL KORS PURSE. (as long as it's in black, nude, navy or gray)

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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:01 am

I went through OCI a couple months ago and I stressed about ALL of these things. Bottom line, that amount of detail does NOT matter. I will try to break it down because I think people greatly over-stress about this. You probably still will, but it's so unnecessary. [Disclaimer: I have an SA with Latham/OMM/GDC in LA, so I know for a fact you can get a great job without spending a truckload on clothing, shoes, purses, etc. for interviews]

The brand of your suit doesn't matter. I know Theory suits fit petite girls well, but if you can buy off the rack, Macy's has suits in the 100-150 range that are FINE. Just make sure it fits. I think skirt suits are the norm as they're considered more formal. Black or navy is preferable, though I wore a light grey suit on callbacks and it (of course) didn't matter. Just don't walk around in something a real estate agent would wear. You can wear a shell or a collared shirt, whatever is most comfortable. Again, keep the colors professional but don't stress about pale blue vs. pale yellow or something crazy like that.

Your shoes don't need to be Louboutins. That said, they shouldn't be scuffed. I bought some new ones from Nine West that were 3 inches, closed-toed, black and comfortable (and on sale). Use common sense here. Panty hose are NOT NECESSARY. I NEVER wore them. [Caveat: This was in LA, maybe it's different in other markets. But this summer was ridiculously hot and it just wasn't going to happen.]

How you wear your hair doesn't matter, but if it's down, it better be straight (or nicely styled curly) and look good (and you shouldn't play with it) and if it's up, it better be tidy with no random flyaways. I wore simple earrings that were pretty enough to get a couple compliments but innocuous enough that no one would comment because they looked out of place.

Your purse DOES NOT matter. Just have it be black, nude, simple. Not ostentatious. It is completely fine to have a padfolio with your resume/transcript/writing sample/references in addition to your purse. No one would care about this.

What DOES matter is that you are put together, professional, and most important, confident and comfortable. And to be honest, your grades matter the most. Since you're a 1L, you've already met that cutoff, but at OCI, if you don't have the grades, it won't matter what you're wearing and carrying. [EDIT: I realized it's impossible for your grades to be out yet - I interviewed for 1L SAs after grades were out so I was automatically thinking that had been accounted for. Obviously you have some other stellar credentials though or you wouldn't have gotten a gradeless interview for a 1L SA]

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:51 am

Totally agree with the above. I mean, given that one has to make decisions about what to wear, and I know that I at least obsess about these things, I threw out my 2 cents. But I completely agree that the minute details don't matter, except to the extent that controlling them makes you feel confident and not likely to worry/obsess about your appearance during the interview. For instance, I try to stick with one bag not because there's any problem with the portfolio/purse thing, but because I know that personally, the more things I carry, the klutzier and more self-conscious I become. I also wear skirt suits with nude hose, but that's because I find skirts much easier to fit than pants, and I'm uncomfortable on an interview without wearing hose (even though the hose, itself, is uncomfortable. Not saying it's logical). But I don't think an interviewer is going to care about either of those things in the slightest.

(Obviously this is all within certain basic boundaries. No, a fuchsia suit with a ruffled collar is probably not a good choice for an interview - though who knows, someone may chime in saying they wore this and got the job - but OP, everything you raised was already well within the boundaries of appropriate gear so you'll be totally fine.)

Of course, if you're looking for an excuse/reason to buy a new suit/bag.... go for it! :) (Or is it just me who treats interviews this way?)

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francesfarmer
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby francesfarmer » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:11 am

Piggy backing onto this thread with something I've been wondering about--I have a tattoo on my ankle. Am I doomed to wear pants forever if I end up in a biglaw environment or is it possible to wear booties? I know they cut me off at the ankle but I love skirts.

As an aside, I'm in NYC and a lot of people my age who work in professional/legal environments have visible tattoos. I'm hoping by the time my generation is 40-something I will be able to wear skirts without fear.

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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:33 am

French twist - professional, or too pin-up?

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby fruitoftheloom » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:39 am

francesfarmer wrote:Piggy backing onto this thread with something I've been wondering about--I have a tattoo on my ankle. Am I doomed to wear pants forever if I end up in a biglaw environment or is it possible to wear booties? I know they cut me off at the ankle but I love skirts.

As an aside, I'm in NYC and a lot of people my age who work in professional/legal environments have visible tattoos. I'm hoping by the time my generation is 40-something I will be able to wear skirts without fear.


[0L here]
You can get body makeup to cover tattoos if you want to wear skirts. In my office, we have to attend court hearings, mediations, etc frequently. I don't have tattoos, but my good friend has a tattoo on her foot. She covers it with makeup to attend.

Can't speak on the appropriateness of having it visible in biglaw.

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francesfarmer
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby francesfarmer » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:20 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
francesfarmer wrote:Piggy backing onto this thread with something I've been wondering about--I have a tattoo on my ankle. Am I doomed to wear pants forever if I end up in a biglaw environment or is it possible to wear booties? I know they cut me off at the ankle but I love skirts.

As an aside, I'm in NYC and a lot of people my age who work in professional/legal environments have visible tattoos. I'm hoping by the time my generation is 40-something I will be able to wear skirts without fear.


[0L here]
You can get body makeup to cover tattoos if you want to wear skirts. In my office, we have to attend court hearings, mediations, etc frequently. I don't have tattoos, but my good friend has a tattoo on her foot. She covers it with makeup to attend.

Can't speak on the appropriateness of having it visible in biglaw.

I'm aware of the makeup though it seems like a pain in the ass. Definitely a viable option for court though. I also could just slap on a bandage and wear black tights, I guess.

Hopefully my career in biglaw will only be long enough to pay off my loans and then I can move into something that doesn't mind my *super punk* asthetic. JK JK.

worksmart
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby worksmart » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:15 pm

As far as the tattoo, I have a friend with a big tattoo on top of her foot that can't ever be visible at work. She either 1) wears pants, 2) wears opaque black tights, or 3) uses that dense body make-up (though it's time consuming and is usually her last choice).

I would NEVER wear booties with a skirt to work at a firm. Pumps are professional. Booties make you look like a fashion blogger.

I also would predict that tattoos are never going to be considered "ok" to be showing in a professional environment, particularly given the formality in NY. You want a judge/jury/client to listen to you and a tattoo is distracting and to some degree detracts from your credibility. Just my opinion though.

cynthiad
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby cynthiad » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:21 pm

I recommend Ann Taylor for suits. The full prices are expensive, but they have 30-50% off sales all the time, so don't ever buy anything there full price. I like them because unlike most mid price range suits, they have suits made of natural fibers (tropical wool is great). With a sale, you can buy a wool suit for about $200, and you'll get a lot of use out of it.

BearsGrl
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby BearsGrl » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:24 pm

Anne Klein is also a good designer brand that is stylish, yet professional.

Kiwi917
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby Kiwi917 » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:59 am

cynthiad wrote:I recommend Ann Taylor for suits. The full prices are expensive, but they have 30-50% off sales all the time, so don't ever buy anything there full price. I like them because unlike most mid price range suits, they have suits made of natural fibers (tropical wool is great). With a sale, you can buy a wool suit for about $200, and you'll get a lot of use out of it.


I recommend Ann Taylor suits as well (especially the tropical wool). I also like their button-down shirts and shells. I did a 1L judicial externship that required suits most days, OCI and callbacks with about 4 suits - traditional black, traditional dark grey, a trendier cut grey, and a light beige-y one. It was more than enough, even when I had back-to-back stuff out of town. I did have some trouble with dry cleaning once and ended up wearing the light beige pantsuit to an interview with a firm where I thought it might be a problem to stray from black/grey skirt suits, and it was just fine. Two of my older pants suits are from Banana Republic, and I really like both of them as well, but their skirts just don't fit me and I tend to prefer skirts now. The BR ones were more expensive than Ann Taylor and I think the quality is about equal.

One thing that I have found very helpful is that when you can get matching pants and a skirt with the same jacket, you essentially get two suits. It really helped mix things up during OCI and callbacks. It's also good if you are concerned about wearing the pants more often than the jacket, since you want them to wear evenly - it lets you wear the bottoms separately without wearing them out faster than the jacket.

Another hint with Ann Taylor is that the tags have the fabric and color codes on them, and if you bring the tags to any store or go online, they can help you find matching pieces. For example, their black wool fabric usually stays the same from season to season, and you can confirm just by checking the code. I got a second skirt to go with my new suit this way; it was off the sale rack, marked way down because it was last season, but it still matched perfectly since it was the exact same fabric. It also helps if you need to pick up a different size top or bottom without getting a whole new suit.

As for hair, I have long hair and usually wore it in a low ponytail since it was easier to deal with. Kept the makeup light, and ditched the jewelry aside from my engagement ring (there are whole threads on that issue, but I'll just say it didn't cause any problems for me).

I never bought a padfolio thing, and just carried manila folders and a legal pad in a large-ish black leather purse with an interior laptop compartment. It helped to have this sort of bag for when I had to fly around with my laptop - I could keep all my interview stuff in it and not look like I was carrying a laptop case or need a separate purse. The key is to not have multiple things to fumble with, and I felt that a padfolio would have been cumbersome. That said, I think I was the only person at OCI who didn't have one. Oh well...

Anyway, that's a lot of rambling advice. Hope it helps, and feel free to pm with questions. Good luck on your interviews!

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francesfarmer
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby francesfarmer » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:40 am

worksmart wrote:As far as the tattoo, I have a friend with a big tattoo on top of her foot that can't ever be visible at work. She either 1) wears pants, 2) wears opaque black tights, or 3) uses that dense body make-up (though it's time consuming and is usually her last choice).

I would NEVER wear booties with a skirt to work at a firm. Pumps are professional. Booties make you look like a fashion blogger.

I also would predict that tattoos are never going to be considered "ok" to be showing in a professional environment, particularly given the formality in NY. You want a judge/jury/client to listen to you and a tattoo is distracting and to some degree detracts from your credibility. Just my opinion though.

I know booties are not ideal, but do people do it? I don't mind looking a little strange as long as its not egregious. I also physically cannot wear pumps, like I have a foot thing. Obviously tattoos should never be shown in court, I'm not saying I'm holding out for that to be acceptable in my lifetime, but in my current office and my old law office multiple people had visible tattoos.

Edit to say that I only plan to work in big law as long as I need to to pay off my loans and therefore will most likely suffer through the horrors of wearing pants for 4 years

idratherbetraveling
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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby idratherbetraveling » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:18 pm

Post-OCI and have a biglaw (V10) offer -- I've never seen anyone wear booties and I think it might look odd with a pencil skirt, especially in the summer. I totally get the problem of not being able to wear pumps, but can you wear wedges? There are a lot of really great black and nude wedges that might give you another option (with the makeup, probably).

To the OP, I think the most important thing is to wear your clothes and accessories well. You don't want to overwhelm a petite frame with bright colors and tons of jewelry/accessories, nor do you want to be lurching around in 3" heels if you can't walk in heels. As long as you feel comfortable and confident in what you're wearing, you'll exude that attitude and that's what interviewers will remember.

Don't overthink it too much and for interviews, err on the more conservative side. If you're interviewing in DC/NY/Chicago/etc. wear hose, they're much more conservative there than California :) Hope this helps!

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Re: Women: Clothing/hair/purse for 1L BIGLAW interview

Postby fsession » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:53 pm

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