The Court here certainly does not care these days as long as you are professional and presentable.
If the same material, designed with the intent to be worn together, I think they can be the most formal of female options. Definitely suss out your judge s first. Rural midwest here, but this is completely acceptable for anything other than a civil jury trial in our courts. I work with an appellate attorney, in a building with lots of women attorneys. A dress and blazer are fine, in pretty much any venue here, as long as the dress is professional covers the chest and is not too short.
Some women wear suits with pants. Some very successful female attorneys never wear a suit! The Court here certainly does not care these days as long as you are professional and presentable.
There are suits available where one of the pieces is a dress. To me there is no difference between a pant suit, skirt suit and dress suit. Anything else is separates, which, at least where I am, is not formal enough for court. I disagree that they have to be part of a suit. The pairing does have to look intentional though. I frequently wear tailored solid dresses with coordinating tweed jackets, even in trial.
You would be shocked to see what people where to Chambers here not the same as chambers in the US, here Chambers is where we do interim applications in a traditional court room setting. For the most part people dress in a proper suit nylons for women if wearing a skirt but it amazes me that the outliers get away with their attire. I have seen a courderoy jacket, I have seen a cardigan instead of a jacket surprisingly the judge said nothing and I have seen UGGS although it was in provincial court, still not acceptable, ever — again judge said nothing.
Not worn by lay-litigants, but by lawyers. In that context, a dress and a non-matching blazer are considered completely fine. For trials though we must wear robes, with a waist coat and tabs. A suit is a must if you are going to be selling your case to the strangers in the box. And in some locales, jurors, particularly women, can be judgmental about pantsuit wearing women attorneys.
This is my situation exactly as an assistant prosecutor. I drive by a courthouse every day and it seems like such a mismatch when the general public wears its third-worst t-shirt with words and flipflops in the summer. Not finding that, Talbots does a lot of sleeveless-dress-with-jacket offerings in each catalog. Get through the first week or two to see what will really work for you. Express would probably be a way of adding to an existing suit wardrobe that will be in heavy rotation while not costing too much.
Formal dresses are so, so much more expensive. I think part of why a great dress seems more formal than a suit is that the annoyance of finding a shirt goes away. IMO many blouses, whether worn with skirt suits or pant suits, are prone to gaping, sheerness, distracting or fiddly necklines, etc. Not hexicon, but a government lawyer barely over 40 who finds bare legs amazingly inappropriate in court.
And what do you mean by stripper shoes? There really was a time, not all that long ago, where anything stilletoish or more than a couple of inches was seen as unprofessional in the courtroom. If you are appearing in front of any judge over 45 pretty much all of them , you are taking a chance with the super high heels and bare legs. Plus, it is tacky. As foot ware goes I defer to function over fashion. I never wear anything much beyond an athletic style shoe. Nothing with a smooth sole, even a ballet flat is safe.
As a woman with a disability walking is a chalange. That I am present under my own power trumps any shoe formality issue. I am glad to read all of these comments because I struggle with being a full time vial painter and looking as a professional at the same time. I am trying to merge my two selves. I got many ideas from reading your responses. Thanks for taking the time to share.
You will get a better idea of what your wardrobe is supposed to be than we can give you. Yes, go to the courthouse and observe the other attorneys. This will also help you realize that the threshold is much lower than you think. I do not, not, not recommend that, but it at least made me feel much more secure about wearing something I previously questioned, like a dress and blazer.
To me, a cardigan dresses an ensemble down, and brings the level of formality way down. I once saw a Crown attorney run a preliminary in a cardigan. It was a murder prelim. People still talk about it. While in general I agree with the above advice, you should wait until you start work and see what others are wearing. While I like the ideal of us dressing formally as we represent the People…..
The public defender is probably wearing leggings as pants with uggs. Ha, yeah, one of my dear friends who is a public defender has a black pair of uggs that she wears to court all the time. Signed, Someone who recently saw an attorney appear in federal court wearing a yellow linen sundress that had clearly been balled up in the back of her trunk for the last year, topped with a plaid cardigan.
Some people pull it off better than others, of course. Separates can be dressy enough for court, federal, appellate even. The dress and blazer do not have to be out of matching suiting fabric. I have been a federal clerk in a major metro area on and off for 10 years, and I am certain of this. Anyone who cares is idiosyncratic. Do you think there is a difference in court formality between the east coast and the west coast, for example New York and Los Angeles?
LA friend never wears a suit. Usually, she wears slack and a dressy blouse. I once knew a public defender who wore flip-flops with big jewels on them, already to court every day. And I saw a private defense attorney try a whole case to a jury wearing leggings-as-pants.
Madness, I tell you…. I am a patent litigator and have a national federal practice. I have been absolutely shocked by what I see attorneys wear in court in many jurisdictions, including C. Blazers look great with a dress tunic, a knee-length dress or a dress of any length in between.
The dress can be casual, fancy, floral or sequin. The fabric and the color of the dress determine the type and color of the blazer you should wear. The blazer should always complement the dress. Focus on the shape and cut of the blazer. A fitted blazer does not need to be super tight to look good. The bottom part of the blazer should be fitted to counteract the slight bulkiness of the top. The ideal blazer to fit a dress would be the classic tuxedo-cut blazer which can be worn day or night.
Pick the fabric and color of the blazer. The fabric of the blazer should complement your dress, not necessarily match it. If the dress is a neutral color, the blazer can be neutral, or you can wear a black blazer with a black dress.
The possibilities of the color matches are endless, but the blazer and dress must complement each other.
Blazers look great with a dress tunic, a knee-length dress or a dress of any length in between. The dress can be casual, fancy, floral or sequin. The fabric and the color of the dress determine the type and color of the blazer you should wear. Fix up and look fierce in a super sexy and totally chic tailored tuxedo dress from Missguided this season. In a wide range of killer styles from the blazer look to the buttoned up tux dress, there is something for all your wardrobe needs. The dress/blazer combo is very common and % acceptable. Outside lawyering circles, it’s more and more common not to wear a full matching formal suit, so long as you look business-appropriate for the occasion. We wear blazers a lot, but not too often with a matching suit bottom.
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