What Should Lawyers Wear To The Holiday Office Party?

On this site we have talked about the difficulties female lawyers face when it comes to dressing for work. Kat Griffin, founder of Corporette.com, a site that advises professional women on how to dress told The Grindstone:

“Lawyers in particular have to adhere to conservative rules for clothes, primarily because they are very rarely speaking for themselves.  If a judge or jury hates you, you want it to be because they heard and considered your client’s argument… not becase your clothing conveyed a lack of respect, or offended them in some other manner.”

Now there is no doubt that your attire can impact your job performance and women can be especially hard on eachother in terms of dress, but it seems like in the legal industry, it is a whole different ball game.

So what do female lawyers wear to the office holiday party? Tough question, right? It is a party, which usually invokes a sense of casualness, but at the same time you are with all the people you work with. Even a Santa hat may be pushing the envelope too far. Well, we decided to go straight to the source tp get our questions answered. Lynsey Michelle is the founder of the style blog Law of Fashion and a lawyer. She guides women, though she claims to not be a work wear expert, on how to dress for corporate life while still maintaining their own sense of style. We asked her her opinions on female lawyer attire during the holiday season.

The Grindstone: What would you suggest a female lawyer could wear to an office party at a very corporate firm?

Lynsey Michelle: I think it is important to think about what is acceptable during normal work hours and then apply those same standards when selecting party wear.  Don’t use the office holiday party as an opportunity to test the dress code.  If sleeveless dresses are inappropriate at your office during regular work hours, don’t experiment at the holiday party.  And strapless is a guaranteed no, no.

My go-to holiday ensemble generally involves a cap-sleeved sheath dress with a statement necklace or shoe.  Black velvet pants, a silk blouse and a blazer is also a chic yet safe option.

The Grindstone: Can she wear sequins or really loud shoes? 

Lynsey Michelle: The best place to experiment with fashion in the workplace is with your accessories, so I say “yes” within reason.  For example, the office holiday party is probably not the place for a sequined mini-skirt, but a sequined handbag would be perfectly festive and would spice up a more traditional dress.  In terms of shoes, throwing on a pink court shoe with a black frock is the perfect way to be both traditional and fashionable.  Which is exactly what you want – your normal dress code taken up a notch.

The Grindstone: What are some fashion trends we are seeing now that she could or couldn’t get away with at a party? 

Lynsey Michelle: Staying away from digital prints and other heavily printed garments is a good idea.  Although I love a good print, when you are with work colleagues you want to stand out for looking professional, fashionable and put together.  Your above-average taste in kaleidoscope prints is of little to no importance.  Remember, not everyone in the office is scrolling through fashion blogs or has the same taste.  A great way to stay on trend AND professional would be to don a chic jumpsuit or anything menswear inspired.

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