As many of you know I am a lawyer in recovery or rehabilitation (per Kate Carruthers). Accordingly it is with some relief and a  fair bit of fatigued surprise to read that the silent dress code police are alive and well and picking on women in the legal profession.

My thoughts on dress code bullies have been documented elsewhere in the past in relation to:

Female Politicians

Women over 40

as well as female lawyers.

In an age when people send out formal letters by text incorporating phrases like ‘How u going?’ I find it incredible that folk in the legal profession consider that their time is well spent peering at heel heights, hem lengths and hair colours.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why law firms are losing out on work?  The traditions and standards of dress that were once so respected are perhaps now seen as anachronisms of an elitist age.

 

Amicae Curiae

The Culture of Professional Dressing 

There’s been a lot of talk on this blog here and here amongst others, of women’s (and some men’s) experiences as legal practitioners, in terms of what to wear.  We could ask why these posts are so popular with readers.  Is it because women love clothes?  (I mean – you know what women are like, right?)  Perhaps.  However I have another theory.

It’s about culture – in particular, the dominant culture of the law. Read on.

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9 thoughts on “

  1. I used to go to court a lot but not as part of the legal fraternity. I was educated anything other than black was frowned upon. I like women who dress to please themselves and others, so you would never get a complaint out of me. However the dress sense of some of the defendants were crimes in themselves!

    • It seems to me that if you dress to suit yourself and the occasion it is hard to get it wrong. That said, some of the things that I have seen folk wear to weddings in Sydney tends to contradict that theory.

  2. Thanks for your reposting, unstated rules are the worst rules. My partner is currently having a discussion on another forum about the ‘rules’ against wearing certain clothes (eg high visibility work clothing) in the airline ‘club’ lounge. Now that’s elitism!

    • As you know from our lunch discussions (thank you & @soshoemi again xxx) I only really have issues with midriffs and bare legs in inappropriate places. Also nudity on public transport is not something I will ever find easy to deal with.

  3. Interesting… I started reading a book on Sunday that deals with this (part of the contents)… I can just say that we tend to judge people by appearance, in general. So dress codes apply to different places. I go to the beach with a T-shirt and a sarong. And trainers. I can’t sunbathe, it harms my skin. People in their bikinis look at me and laugh.
    On the other hand, an ex colleague of mine (teacher) used to go to school to teach wearing circle skirts and wellies and it was awkward where we taught. But she used to live in Alaska, and that was normal there. Guess what, she was sacked. People commented about her clothes everyday. Prejudice.
    Mmm… food for thought.

    • Isn’t it funny how we are judged? If there is only one lesson that my children learn from me I hope that it is this – let other people do their thing, don’t comment, point or poke fun. Hopefully the same courtesy will be extended to them in return.

  4. As you may, or may not, know, I was the first woman to wear a trouser suit lecturing at Edinburgh University. Nobody commented there. But when I taught at the convent and wore trouser suits, the nuns complained, the PUPILS complained, but I persevered. They got over it.

    • That doesn’t surprise me somehow. I do remember the trouser suit complaints from the High School. At least I never received complaints there about my ethnic hair unlike another school that shall not be mentioned.

  5. Pingback: Blawg Review #320 – A Call to Arms « Amicae Curiae

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