Gen Y and Professional Appearances (For the Ladies)

December 11, 2009 at 2:52 pm (Legal Professional Tips)

When I think of professional attire – my mind automatically directs itself to images of the “Hilary” pantsuit or a “Jackie O” inspired skirt suit.  Both of which are beyond my years and I would look ridiculous sporting either looks.  Often, when I go suit shopping I feel like a little girl playing dress-up with her mother’s work clothing.

So I beg the question: how does a 20’s something professional look respectable, business-like without looking boring or “dress-up” like?

The first mistake a lot of freshy lawyers make is investing in a suit that is too trendy.  If you’re going to shell out some serious cash for a killer suit – it better be one that will not only last (in quality) but will also be timeless and stay with the trends for many years to come.  Hair should always look profession regardless of the length of your hair or the way you chose to style it. I think a low pony with a sidepart is acceptable as long as it is neat and tidy – same with long flowing hair or a short bob, both can fit the bill if they appear to be well kept.

I think there are two approaches to ladies suit attire.  The first is to play up the slightly masculine ultra serious New Yorker look.  I will call this the “New Yorker.”  The New Yorker starts with a dark – usually black pant suit.  This suit should boast a neatly tailored 1-3 button jacket with full-length sleeves and a straight leg pant, cuff and uncuffed pant legs are both acceptable.  Now you may be thinking what I’m describing is a men’s suit – here’s where we get feminine.  Heels are a must – preferably a 2 to 3 inch thin heel with a pointy toe.  Accessories will playup the feminine quality in this look though accessories should be either black, silver, pearl or sparkly (but not too “bling!”)  Hair should be neatly styled – not wild.  My preference would be a low pony-tail or bun with a side part; the general idea is no lose hairs.

The second approach is more feminine, a little flirty, and allows for more color and accessories.  The idea is to stick with a dark toned suit, but stay in the blacks, greys, maroons, navy blue color groups.  Pants or skirts are acceptable, though skirts may not be shorter than two inches above the knee.  Accessories can be pretty much any color so long as they fit into the color of the suit.

One could also brighten a dark suit by adding a flash of color underneath – I would recommend accessorizing the undershirt with jewelry, shoes, bag, etc.

When choosing accessories, be careful to not let the accessories overpower your attire – or yourself for that matter.  Remember that the purpose of accessorizing is to compliment the entire look – think of it as a teamwork effort.

Makeup is also a big deal.  Office makeup can be a little tricky.  I have yet to meet anyone who looks fabulous in florescent lighting.  Usually more blush is needed and pastels can help counteract the green hues glaring from the ceilings.  All the while not looking like a drag queen.

Beautiful for the club, but way too much for the office.

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1 Comment

  1. Blawgs I Read: A Paralegal’s Journey to Lawyerhood « 0L to 3L: My Journey to & through Law School said,

    […] Gen Y and professional appearances (for the ladies) – advice for women about looking professional […]

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