advice, apparel, articles, attorneys, best, blog, coworkers, dress code, experienced paralegals, fashion, how to, jamie collins, law firm, new paralegals, not to wear, paralegals, pointers, rules, the paralegal society, tips, top, trends, unspoken rules, unwritten rules, what to wear
By: Jamie Collins
Happy High Heel Friday, TPS readers! Today, we’re going to have a little fun!! During our many collective years in the paralegal profession, we’ve definitely seen some things in the fashion department that we’d rather forget. We know you have too! We’ve had paralegals reach out to us from all across the country (and beyond) to confirm similar sightings, which fall under the “over abundance of ridiculousness” fashion category. We know this occurs in other business realms too. It’s a widespread issue. So today, we’re here to shed a little light on paralegal fashion…or lack thereof.
Up for a challenge? See if you can read this entire post without laughing or nodding your head in agreement. We double dog dare you!
With the emergence of the lovely, warm, spring weather, a particular genre of fashion begins to rear its ugly head and graces us all with its oh so tacky countenance as it makes its way into our otherwise normal work worlds. What is it that I speak of today? The fashion etiquette nightmare that is plaguing law firms all across the country. Oh yes. It is. You know the one. The runway of shame. This can’t possibly be occurring only in isolated pockets or certain demographics, so I’m sharing this post to showcase the general insanity and utter disbelief with others, in an attempt to promote paralegal sanity among the masses.
You know that saying “safety in numbers,” well for our purposes here today, it’s “sanity in numbers.” If you haven’t seen this “over the top” spring attire – (1) just wait; and (2) thank your lucky paralegal stars. Seriously. If you have observed this obnoxious trend, please read and enjoy. After all, we’re all in this big hot mess together. Just me, you, and 274,998 other paralegals, smack dab in the middle of Spring 2012, immersed in a full-on fashion crisis in the land of legal, in a state of total paralegal disbelief.
There are no words.
I know you’ve all been there. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, in sashays the next recipient for induction into the Paralegal Hall of Shame, wearing the biggest fashion disaster, club hoppin’ get-up that has ever graced the doors of a law firm; a professional work environment, at least in theory. What I’m referring to here is the barely there, oh – my rump just fell out dresses, razor short mini-skirts, and tops – don’t even get me started on the tops. You know what kind of tops I’m talking about…the ones that reveal way too much, in way too many places, with way too little fabric, are often transparent like tissue paper, and readily promote the brassiere, “the girls” and various other body parts like you’re involuntarily viewing a bargain end-cap at a human grocery meat mart. It’s mind boggling really.
How in the world these people manage to get dressed and arrive to work (at a law firm, I might add) without realizing that they have committed a major fashion atrocity, the likes of which are unparalleled (with the exception the spring/summer of 2011), is absolutely astounding. Yet, into the professional realm these people arrive, in their finest club-hopping attire, and there you sit, in utter amazement, astounded by the fact that these people were not seized at the door and promptly removed from the building, by force, served up secret service style, by those professional people you work with, otherwise known as your attorneys. Yes, they get to stay, and you get to continue to be amazed at how in the world you ended up at the club…I mean your law firm…today.
I have but one question: How in the world is this happening? Seriously. It defies logic, and professionalism, for that matter. We need to hire fashion police to stand guard at the law firm doors all across America. Hide the women and children! Burn the teeny bopper magazines. Who am I, and what planet did I land on?
Now, the scantily clad might infer that people taking notice of this trend have low self-esteem or feel threatened by those who choose to dress themselves as the self-declared Charlie’s Angels of the office, rather than adhering to the fashion sense of a working professional. Let me clear that myth up right now. I’m glad you’re pretty. Good for you. I would argue that I could dress you in something more appropriate and far less provocative…and you’d still be pretty. I take no issue with that. In fact, I’d be happy to run a street poll featuring me, wearing a classy, black suit and stilettos, and you, flaunting your colorful, hooker garb and stilt shoes any day of the week. I’ll take you down, Charlie — angel clothes and all. It’s likely that the unsuspecting individuals participating in such a poll would believe me to be your attorney, representing you on a prostitution charge, but I’m game.
We (your paralyzed and dumbfounded coworkers) do not need to be able to readily ascertain your bodily measurements because your outfit was spray painted on this morning and various parts are hanging out and jiggling about, causing those around you to have the saucer eyes and distorted mental images of professional fashion in a work atmosphere. Seriously. Get a clue. Get a grip. Get a professional wardrobe. Is this really too much to ask? I think not.
To all the newbies out there, I’m here to tell you that this is one of the unspoken rules. You need to dress appropriately. Even if no one ever reprimands the “clubbers” at your law firm, there isn’t a set dress code or club apparel somehow seems acceptable, and even embraced (for God knows whatever reason) at your law firm. Do not be confused as someone lurking through the law firm halls, ready to order a Bacardi and Coke, and dance to “My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard,” while on the clock. You are at a law firm. To work. They pay you. It is not okay. People do take notice. They wonder about you. They secretly wish for your professional demise. And you better believe that if we (the normal paralegals) could vote the club goers off in the same style as the game of Survivor – we would – and happily.
In the event of a tribal council today, you can rest assured that all of the dark clouds (a/k/a keepers of the misery) and scantily clad maidens will be the first to go, leaving behind a happy tribe of paralegals, perched on executive chairs, sporting professional attire, soaking it all in, as we dream about changing our clothes, and ordering a Bacardi and Coke after work, in your disenchanted honor.
So, to all the paralegals out there who dress professionally, I say: “Good for you. Way to represent.” Score one for the paralegal team.
To all the fashion atrocities, I say: “Where’s the parchment paper?” I’m totally writing your name down. Get a clue. Get a grip. Get a professional wardrobe.
There are no words.
So…did you make it all the way through this post without laughing or nodding your head in agreement? We didn’t think so!!
It is time for the owners, partners, attorneys, managers and human resources departments of law firms to remove the blinders and begin to enforce policies that are most likely written in their HR manuals, some code of ethics or in this case…the Code of Human Decency.
We’d love to hear your thoughts, TPS readers. We know you have something interesting to share on this enthralling topic. See that comment button? It has your name on it!