This week’s fashion column just went up and it’s already generating some controversy. A couple of readers have asked whether a column on jeans reflects my view that denim is suitable attire for female (and presumably male) lawyers. To be honest, it never occurred to me that a post on jeans might be viewed as license to wear them everywhere. After all, past fashion columns have discussed outfits of all varieties. Some are suitable for court, others for the office and still others for even more informal situations like spending the day a at CLE, working in the office on a weekend or casual Friday. I assume that my readers have the judgment to decide what’s appropriate.
Still, for those interested, I personally do not endorse wearing jeans to meet clients and absolutely never, ever for court (I’m so conservative on court dress that I only started wearing pants to court — and still don’t for my rare jury appearances — after Hilary Clinton made them respectable for professional occasions.) On the other hand, what’s even worse than jeans in my view is suggestive clothing in the workplace – tight pants, thigh high skirts or low cut shirts – which are not only unprofessional but can make many clients uncomfortable. (I’m being mocked for that on Twitter but I see it all the time. Once when I was in court, I confused a suit-clad student trainee for the lawyer, and the big hoop earring, short-skirted professor-adviser for the client)
I know that there’s always an ongoing debate over dress between three different camps: “I’ll dress how I want,” “formal dress only” and “my clients don’t mind my jeans.” So where do you fall on this continuum and why? Comments are open below.