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By: Jamie Collins
I must admit, I’m almost chuckling aloud as I begin to type this blog post. I certainly take pride in my professional appearance. I waltz into my law firm each day wearing attractive, appropriate, and half way fashionable, paralegal attire. Yet, I don’t consider myself by any means, a fashionista. What I’ve discovered over the course of the past year is there are a few things in my current, working wardrobe that I simply wouldn’t live without, now that they’ve found their way into my busy life. So, here I am, and here are my go-to, must have items for your next wardrobe infusion:
[Pursuant to the friendly arm twisting of Lynne DeVenny, fashion blogger extraordinaire, I am sharing a few pics along with this post. Pic one – check out my super cool, Lia Sophia “Muse” necklace above – about $40 on sale, and one of my fav’s. Can we say statement piece? My statement is: I love this necklace!]
FOR THE LADIES
Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Fast Dry Nail Color: You laugh…you proclaim that you already have nail polish. But let me ask you this – could you paint your nails and type 3 minutes later without a smudge? Hmmm….could you? If not, you really need to get your hands on a bottle of this nail polish! It costs about $5 a bottle at the local drug store. Granted, it doesn’t come in a million shades of color, but there is a fairly decent assortment of hues, and don’t forget about the main perk – the fact that you can paint and then type, fold laundry, or fetch a glass of chocolate milk (quite literally) 3 minutes later!
Whether you’re on the couch or sitting deskside, this is the go-to polish. Hey, let’s face it, it’s either Sally’s three minute polish or you don’t paint your nails again until your children turn 18 and escape the polishless nest! The former seems like a much more viable option. I really think they need to change the name of this one to “Sally Hansen – Paralegal Polish.” Try it. Paralegal polish – I’m giving it a 3/5 on the durability scale, but a 300/5 on the fact that I can actually paint my nails like a normal living, breathing human being again, while remaining gainfully employed as a paralegal and becoming the finest, chocolate milk fetcher the world has ever seen.
Small disclaimer: As a former nail technician, I will candidly admit that this particular brand of polish will start to chip in about 2 days or so (hence my 3/5 durability rating), but you can reapply another coat (or twelve…depending upon your work/life struggles and sanity level) before being forced to strip it and start anew. Still totally worth it. Paralegal Polish – run out and purchase a bottle today! [“Slick slate” pictured to left]
A Jewelry Infusion: Aren’t there many times when you feel like your wardrobe could use a major infusion? Heck, I’m internally screaming “yes” as I sit here typing this post! I believe every legal staffer in the nation is simultaneously engaged in an affirmative head nod on the present line of text.
What I’ve noticed is even if I go spend $100 on new dress shirts with the intention of infusing my wardrobe, I really don’t get much bang for my buck. That buck doesn’t stretch real far in the “pretend I have a new wardrobe” department. Even for those who opt to thrift in lieu of new, it’s usually pretty difficult to walk away with more than a small handful of suitable duds because, let’s face it, thrifters must divide and conquer rack by rack, one carefully selected garment at a time in order to walk away with a handful of fashionista bargain pieces. So what does this mean for all of the working legal folks in need of an updated look? It means that even if you go spend $100 on a wardrobe infusion, chances are, you’re only going to feel “infused” for about a week or so, depending upon the level of bargain shopping glory you achieve with said hundo.
Over the past year, I’ve learned that the best way to infuse my wardrobe is with some great pieces of jewelry! Who knew that putting on a super snazzy, long necklace or cool bracelet with an old outfit could transform it from a state of blah into full-on fashion glory? Seriously. My husband laughed when I initially bought my first few pieces of jewelry from Lia Sophia because I would look in the mirror at my plain outfit and go “bo-ring outfit” then hold the necklace up next to it and go “fashion supa-star!” This went on for a period of weeks…until the newness wore off. However, it still holds true today.
You are just one trendy necklace or super cool bracelet away from infusing a drab wardrobe into something far more fashionable! As for jewelry, you don’t have to go with the high priced lines, like Lia Sophia or Silpada or the high end stores, like Macy’s. They even have decent jewelry at […wait for it…] Walmart! Also think: Target, Kohl’s and Stein Mart. Pick one outfit that’s “drab” and go spend $10 on a necklace that will readily transform you into a fashion super-sta! Who knows, you may even be mistaken for a fashionista while walking down the city streets, half sane, with freshly painted nails, and a cool “new” jewelry infused outfit!
[Bangle bracelets pictured above from Kohl’s – $13. You can’t see if from the pic, but they boast tiny stones, which really give them some classy bling. Who wants to wear a boring ol’ white and black sweater when you can throw these babies on?!]
FOR THE FELLAS
You guys totally thought I was going to forget about you, didn’t you? Nope. Not a chance. I may not be a man, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what looks good on one! Here are a few fashion perk me ups for you fellas:
Tied Up In Fashion: Literally…as in wearing a fashionable neck tie! This is a great, inexpensive way to add a little pizzazz to an otherwise drab wardrobe. Take the purchasing plunge and invest in a handful of new neckties. Heck, go wild – step outside your comfort zone and go for a new color, pattern or design. One of the first thing a person notices about a man when he’s all dressed up is his necktie. We either find ourselves liking it, hating it or falling somewhere in the gray area on that imaginary, fashion plot chart. We also assess how well the selected tie goes with the rest of what you’re wearing, as we internally issue an unspoken, fashion rating in our heads. It may be a bit more expensive for you fellas to buy those expensive suits, but one inherent perk of being of the male species is the ability to spend a small amount of money to majorly infuse your wardrobe with really cool ties.
Rock the Socks: If you find yourself wondering if I’ve lost my mind when typing “socks” onto this list as a fashion pick me up item, think again! Socks are one of the most underrated fashion accessories out there. As far as socks go, they typically say one of two things:
- “These are socks.”
- “These are really cool, help to make an outfit look great, kind of socks.”
I know, seems like a subtle difference, but a distinguishable one, nonetheless. If you are headed to a trial or big interview, you should probably go with option one. However, if it’s a normal work day and you have a bit of fashion freedom, I recommend buying a few pairs of socks which fall into the latter category.
The Killer Combination: One of the quickest ways for a man to infuse his wardrobe is with the purchase of a few really cool tie/sock combos. In other words, maybe it’s a blue striped tie and some suitable, not-too-loud, blue, striped socks. Maybe you’re wearing a nice cashmere sweater and a pair of argyle patterned socks would really compliment your look. My point is, venture out onto the sock ledge to see what you can find at the store to infuse your sock wardrobe with more selections from sock category number two listed above…and less of “these are socks.”
The Dress Shirt/Zippable Sweater Combo: This is one of my favorite casual looks for men. You take a great collared dress shirt, and pair it up with one of those zipper neck sweaters (you know the ones that have a zipper below the chin that zips down about 7 inches or so below to your mid chest area – that kind!) Every time I see my husband rock this combo, I think to myself, “Wow…that really looks great!” Granted, you could separate the pieces too, but when you wear them together, it creates a very poised, polished, and professional, business casual look. Makes me think of a GQ cover…and what fella wouldn’t want to be on the cover of GQ?!
TO ALL PARALEGALKIND
I’m hoping these Paralegal Perk Me Ups add as much happiness into your life as they’ve added into mine. I’d love to stay and chat, but I’m painting my nails with “Paralegal Polish” in a lovely shade of slick slate before typing 22,000 pleadings, and heading out the door in search of a few additional, coveted, fashion accessories. Image may not be everything, but perceptions certainly are. Rock the Paralegal Polish, fashion jewelry, really cool socks, neckties and dress shirt/sweater combos loud and proud, people. We’re hoping to remodel the American legal landscape one legal staffer at a time!
Starting with you…
If you have any fashion tips for infusing one’s wardrobe, be sure to send ‘em our way! We’re always looking for the next great idea – and always in need of a wardrobe infusion!
Happy Thriday – that’s Thursday and Friday, TPS Nation! Have an absolutely sensational weekend. We’ll see you round these parts again real soon, Fashion Supa Stars!
Pam Shropshire said:
I love Lia Sophia jewelry – get lots of compliments on it.
I find that a professional manicure, pedicure or salon visit are also great pick-me-ups, whether regular or occasional. Nothing says polished like a professional mani-pedi (ok, bad pun, right!). Seriously, I indulge myself in a professional manicure every two weeks, and in the summer months, a pedicure at least once a month. I visit my hairdresser every 6 weeks for color and a trim. Perhaps this makes me high maintenance (wink at my husband), but it really does help me keep my sanity in my crazy life as part-time college student, full-time paralegal, lifetime wife & mom.
If you can’t afford regular professional treatment, go as often as you can – it really makes a difference! As the L’Oreal commercials say, you’re worth it!
The Paralegal Society said:
Pam, It is a fabulous jewelry line! I initially thought it was kind of pricey, but I like having the lilfetime guarantee that allows me to ship it back if it breaks, I get tired of it or don’t wear it. It really does dress up an outfit.
Not only does a manicure/pedicure do a lot to enhance one’s image, but also one’s sanity! (And who couldn’t use a little help in that department?!) And who could argue with L’Oreal?
Thanks for your comment!
Bryan King said:
Do you have picture of Paralegals in the 1960s and 1970s in Business attire. I’m a college student and I have to do a report