As a lawyer, you have a lot of eyes on you, whether in the courtroom or meeting with clients. It’s important that you always look put together and professional so that you look trustworthy, knowledgeable, and reliable.
So, why do first impressions matter so much for attorneys? And what kind of wardrobe should you invest in? Here’s what you need to know when you’re putting together your attire as a lawyer.
First impressions matter for lawyers.
In any industry, a first impression can lead to a new client, sale, or win, and a good first impression often means more focus will be put on physical appearance. The legal world is even more cut-throat than most. Sometimes people’s livelihoods, families, lives, and freedom rest with how an attorney does their job making their case, and they want to make sure they’re hiring an attorney that they can trust. Dressing for your job with the right style and attire shows that you are professional, trustworthy, responsible, reliable, and more.
People put a lot of weight on first impressions. In the courtroom, there’s no time for you to get to know a judge or jury. They will make a decision based on the little time you spend defending your client or making a case, so it has to count.
Let’s look at a few tips on how to send the right messages with your wardrobe and overall appearance.
Always opt for the suit.
No matter your gender, a suit or equally formal attire is always the best bet for the courtroom. Navy, black, or gray suits look the sharpest for legal professionals, and women can pair a blazer with either slacks or a pencil skirt. Pantyhose is usually acceptable with a skirt, but avoid wearing jackets or coats when you’re indoors, which can look unprofessional.
Other types of business attire
There may be certain situations when other types of business outfits are appropriate, like a nice blouse or button-up shirt without the blazer, or a business-casual dress. However, unless a meeting is very casual, avoid jeans, shorts, sandals, t-shirts, or any revealing clothing of any kind. Even in informal situations that demand more casual attire, you still need to portray yourself as professional and put together.
Make sure your hair and makeup are professional.
It’s true that attorneys can still have their own style, but it’s important that the hairstyle you choose aligns with the professional attitude you’re going for. Neon-colored, messy, or dirty hair may look bad when you’re trying to make a good first impression. And while it’s understandable that you want to show who you are, the truth is that a first impression doesn’t usually get that far. Keep your hair simple and put together.
Similarly, make sure not to cake on too much makeup, which can look unprofessional in the courtroom. Use more subtle makeup so it doesn’t stand out in a negative way.
Attorneys at law firms like Dante Law, with years of experience defending clients who have been victims of a wide range of personal injury accidents, provide a great example of how to make the best impression with formal business attire in meetings or the courtroom. You won’t find sweatpants or t-shirts in the law offices of Victor Dante — it’s all business dresses, slacks, blouses, and a collared shirt with a blazer. This law firm knows how important it is to look professional — that’s just one of many reasons that they win compensation for their clients so often.
What about shoes?
Some lawyers may not know the best kinds of shoes to pair with their professional attire. The best advice: wear smart and practical shoes. Women should wear professional heels or nice flats, and men should wear nicer shoes that work well with their suit. Just make sure that whatever you choose to wear, you’ll be fine standing on your feet and walking around and won’t be distracted by pain, so opting for stilettos is probably not a great option.
These are basic tips about how to make a good first impression in the courtroom as an attorney. Remember that there is a lot on the line in the legal world, and you need to dress the part. You’ll look more professional, smart, and put together when you choose the right attire, don’t overdo makeup or hairstyles, and wear shoes that are practical and comfortable while still professional.