Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

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Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:53 am

KJD (female) starting in biglaw this fall. I've never had much desire for luxury stuff. During my summer associateship, I just wore stuff I bought from Zara, etc. that looks business formal. The handbag I brought to the office cost me ~$50. Even with the biglaw salary, spending over $1,000 on a single item makes zero sense to me. My question is, will I be judged in any way by partners/other associates for never wearing things that are from a luxury brand? Is the standard different in occasions where we get to meet with clients?

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:KJD (female) starting in biglaw this fall. I've never had much desire for luxury stuff. During my summer associateship, I just wore stuff I bought from Zara, etc. that looks business formal. The handbag I brought to the office cost me ~$50. Even with the biglaw salary, spending over $1,000 on a single item makes zero sense to me. My question is, will I be judged in any way by partners/other associates for never wearing things that are from a luxury brand? Is the standard different in occasions where we get to meet with clients?


At my firm (NYC V5) the majority of the women in my circle and who I come across in passing dress the way that you do, purses included. Luxury items make an appearance rarely enough to be commented on when they do.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:KJD (female) starting in biglaw this fall. I've never had much desire for luxury stuff. During my summer associateship, I just wore stuff I bought from Zara, etc. that looks business formal. The handbag I brought to the office cost me ~$50. Even with the biglaw salary, spending over $1,000 on a single item makes zero sense to me. My question is, will I be judged in any way by partners/other associates for never wearing things that are from a luxury brand? Is the standard different in occasions where we get to meet with clients?


No, but you will be judged for not being well groomed. I'm four years out of law school and most people I know don't own luxury items over $1000. If they do, I can't tell (it's not like they come to work with a YSL bag). Invest in a couple nice suits (e.g. from Ann Taylor) so you can look presentable at meetings, depositions, and/or professional functions. Having a plain black purse/tote/laptop bag is helpful since they'll match your suit. That's all you really need.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby AndroidLawyer » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:35 pm

Relatedly, how much do guys typically spend on a suit?

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:04 pm

AndroidLawyer wrote:Relatedly, how much do guys typically spend on a suit?


Petite female here (about 5 ft 2", under 110lbs). Currently working in biglaw. I buy all my suits from Ann Taylor, so I'm thinking in the $350 range (full price). I think I only ever bought a suit full price when I was starting out and needed it immediately. Four years post-grad, I only buy suits on sale. I wait till Ann Taylor has a 40-50% off everything sale and buy my suits then if I'm in need of a new one (which is very rare). You can get them for pretty cheap. A former coworker from HLS also said she bought all her suits from Ann Taylor, thought she never ended up working in a firm (clerked in fed. dist. ct. though).

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby foregetaboutdre » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:34 pm

granted i live in a fairly major midwest city, but out managing partner wears jos a bank no joke lol

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:58 pm

Just buy nice stuff on sale. I buy Theory stuff but only when it's on sale (they just had a sale). You'll look good and feel good.

I love Zara but I'd never wear a Zara suit to work. Any suit that isn't black from there looks cheap.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:No, but you will be judged for not being well groomed. I'm four years out of law school and most people I know don't own luxury items over $1000. If they do, I can't tell (it's not like they come to work with a YSL bag). Invest in a couple nice suits (e.g. from Ann Taylor) so you can look presentable at meetings, depositions, and/or professional functions. Having a plain black purse/tote/laptop bag is helpful since they'll match your suit. That's all you really need.


Does not wearing makeup count as "not being well groomed"?

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:52 pm

There are many actual rich people don't dress that nice.

San Jose and its surrounding area, the young billionaires and multi-millionaires walk around in t-shirts, jeans, and hoodies. No one is impressed because someone thinks they're baller with a $1000 purse.

Also, the vast majority of people, including the people at your firm can't tell the difference on first glance from clothing you bought at Zara versus Prada or Jimmy Choo. If you walk into your firm meeting with a Timex on versus a Patek Philippe, I doubt anyone would notice either.

It's just in your head. Most of this stuff, probably 99% of the population can't actually tell the difference without you telling them.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:05 am

Luxury brands =/= quality. Especially those "blingy" luxury designers with their brand names splashed everywhere. Women don't have good professional equivalents to Allen Edmonds or Canali or Brioni etc. for men.

IMO, It's fine to wear J. Crew, Ann Taylor, BR, Express, etc. but make sure you're replacing them as they get worn. The fast fashion stuff will shrink or stretch or fade or the threads will run or pill or the material won't quite drape the same way after awhile. You only start looking like crap if you start not to notice.

I have had some success (from expensive to cheapest) with Paul Stuart, St. John, Tory Burch, Theory, Equipment (for blouses), and Everlane. I look for everything on sale and hope for the best - stuff comes out to about $150-200 per piece, which isn't too bad because I wear those basics every single week.

Brooks Brothers is surprisingly very hit or miss for me.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:45 am

you aint gonna be judged. But at my v5 there are just people who are into that kinda of things wear visible designer suits. think Armani and louboutin heels. It's a cliquey thing, as in you aint gonna be judged to fit into some box. But you will be judged if you do have nice stuff. One associate legit has a birkin and there is no fuss but people know.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:18 am

I once had a staff attorney give me crap for wearing a fitbit rather than a real watch...

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:30 am

People won't notice your lack of brands. From my experience, people are only noticed negatively for their clothes when they are dressed overly provocatively (skirts a foot above the knee, platform stilettoes, semi-sheer blouses without a cami etc.); consistently unkept/sloppy (stains, clothes that have never seen an iron or dry cleaner); overly business casual in a business formal environment (a 'statement cardigan' and a 'cute dress' in the midst of a bunch of navy and charcoal suits).

No one will attribute anything negative to you if you are neatly and appropriately dressed for your firm. The level of formality depends completely on your firm culture and practice area. I do notice when people look particularly sharp, but I don't know what luxury brands they are wearing - moreso, they are put together, clean, and pressed and their clothes fit well.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Toni V » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:15 pm

You will not be judged if what you wear looks nice. I have received compliments on the one expensive item I wear, my Rolex. My tip, buy a nice watch.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2018 4:26 am

Toni V wrote:My tip, buy a nice watch.



I would guess 50%+ at my firm have Apple watches, so don't even bother breaking the bank.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Traynor Brah » Tue May 01, 2018 9:33 am

lawyers don't magically have good style once they get off campus. Money helps, but at elite NYC law firms, in my experience, "crusty professor chic" is the norm.

And even I wear Zara stuff to work (as a man); you can certainly find pieces that don't look cheap (and that, I think, are also badass). Use your judgment and be confident in what you're wearing, and you'll be fine. Also essentially nobody will care either way.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Aptitude » Tue May 01, 2018 12:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Toni V wrote:My tip, buy a nice watch.



I would guess 50%+ at my firm have Apple watches, so don't even bother breaking the bank.


I see a lot of Fitbits where I work. I'm pretty confident that almost no one at a law firm can tell whether someone is wearing a Timex or a Patek Philippe. Or even tell the difference without the logo between Timex/Rolex/Patek/Seiko/Cartier. Vast majority of people in your firm won't even know the actual cost of a Patek or Richard Mille or a Japanese Grand Seiko. They'll likely just be in the "oh Rolex nice" crowd.

They might be "nice watch" but it takes a pretty discerning eye to tell the difference without logo. Totally not worth breaking the bank unless OP themselves appreciates nice watches. And if looking fashionable is all you want, you can get a knockoff and your coworkers definitely won't be able to tell the difference.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby albanach » Tue May 01, 2018 2:22 pm

AndroidLawyer wrote:Relatedly, how much do guys typically spend on a suit?


I have suits that range from $50 finds on ebay to $500+ off the shelf things in sales. I try not to pay full price for suits because you can routinely find decent ones on sale. I don't usually wear my jacket at my desk, so buy one or two extra pairs of pants for each jacket - that massively extends the life of the suit.

For suits, and this might be even more the case if it's a woman, tailoring makes a huge difference. A cheap suit that's seen a tailor will look better than an expensive suit that hasn't. Like suits, dresses, blouses and blazers can all benefit from a tailor's touch. It's also great to find a tailor you like, because if you need a last minute alteration - say you get a wedding invite and put off shopping for an outfit - you're more likely to get your stuff altered in time.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 01, 2018 3:24 pm

albanach wrote:
AndroidLawyer wrote:Relatedly, how much do guys typically spend on a suit?


I have suits that range from $50 finds on ebay to $500+ off the shelf things in sales. I try not to pay full price for suits because you can routinely find decent ones on sale. I don't usually wear my jacket at my desk, so buy one or two extra pairs of pants for each jacket - that massively extends the life of the suit.

For suits, and this might be even more the case if it's a woman, tailoring makes a huge difference. A cheap suit that's seen a tailor will look better than an expensive suit that hasn't. Like suits, dresses, blouses and blazers can all benefit from a tailor's touch. It's also great to find a tailor you like, because if you need a last minute alteration - say you get a wedding invite and put off shopping for an outfit - you're more likely to get your stuff altered in time.



Suits are the pants and jacket that came together. Once you switch out a different pair of pants for the jacket, it's not a suit. You're wearing dress pants with a suit jacket - separates.

Not a big deal, but if OP is concerned about fashion, and status, and she thinks her coworkers care then guys who are really into suits notice that type of stuff.

An alternative to an off the rack suit taken to a tailor, is a made to measure suit. You can sometimes find made to measure suits within $500+ price range. If you have a tailor you like, they might sell these and the suits will fit better than off the rack, especially if you have a less common body type. You can get these done online but usually they don't work out well (IndoChino is a popular company).

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby albanach » Tue May 01, 2018 11:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:

Suits are the pants and jacket that came together. Once you switch out a different pair of pants for the jacket, it's not a suit. You're wearing dress pants with a suit jacket - separates.


What on Earth are you trying to get at here? Who suggested anything other than a suit being matching pant and jacket? I sure as heck didn't.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 02, 2018 8:04 am

I think they're confused by the prospect of buying more than one pair of pants that matches the jacket.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby albanach » Wed May 02, 2018 10:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:I think they're confused by the prospect of buying more than one pair of pants that matches the jacket.


Ah, okay, I can see that. In case it was in any way unclear, your pants (and I imagine skirts) get a lot more wear than your jacket. Particularly if you can leave some jackets in the office so they don't bear the brunt of a commute. They're also the cheapest part of a suit.

Therefore, if you're buying a suit - particularly if it's a staple and unlikely to be going out of style any time soon (charcoal, navy, etc rather than windowpane or purple pinstripes) - buying an extra pair or two of identical pants/skirts adds a little cost but should get you an extra few years worth of wear. Undoubtedly this might be of more benefit for guys who could go to work every day wearing the same suit and never have it commented on.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 02, 2018 12:01 pm

I completely agree. I think some people expect a suit to be sold only as 2 pieces that come together, but obviously that’s not universally true.

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 02, 2018 1:57 pm

So, it's no big deal at all to wear different trousers than the one that came with your suit jacket. Again, the chances of anyone at your law firm noticing is slim to none.

But if the OP is concerned about "not having expensive clothing" so I assume she wants to appear status to status oriented / superficial people. And for those specific types of people who care a lot about that stuff, the trousers that came with your suit are suppose to be made from the exact same swatch of fabric as the jacket. When you mix with different trousers with expensive suits, then this may no longer hold true. Also, you hold the risk of a difference of color to develop between the pants/jacket if you're washing at different frequencies and also depending on how you wash.

Again, not a big deal to 99% of the population. But the OP seems to care about what people who cares about the expense of one's clothing is to think. And people who collect Hermes bags or are willing to stomp someone for the next Jimmy Choo release might notice.

Those people would never be seen out with attorneys though. They have fashion friends. Unless they're attorneys for Vogue, then maybe that's okay. :lol:

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Re: Will I be judged for not having expensive clothing/bags?

Postby minnbills » Wed May 02, 2018 2:36 pm

Such a shame that so many people in this profession think it's okay to look like a slob in the office



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