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Can a Lawyer Wear Leopard Print to Work?

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

Most industries no longer demand a formal dress code. Suits are rarely required, and corporate casual has simply become "casual." In offices across America, people are wearing jeans at this very minute.

But not you. You're stuck in a suit.

Congratulations: Law and finance are practically the only industries where formal business attire is still the norm. And yet, there's hope. Even the formal industries are starting to embrace a little sartorial flair.

Can that flair include leopard print? Why not? Leopard is a neutral now.

Lawyers are no longer limited to dark suits, solids, and subtle stripes. These days, you can mix and match with color and print, according to Corporette.

Unless your office specifically dictates that a full suit (jacket + pants/skirt) must be worn every day, you can have fun with your clothes. On an in-office, no-client-meeting day, that could include a splash of leopard, whether it's a leopard sweater, belt, bag, or shoes.

But please -- shudder -- not all of the above.

There are, of course, a few caveats. While you probably know that you should avoid low-cut tops in the office, you really need to avoid low-cut leopard tops. And tight leopard skirts. You don't want to wind up looking like a hooker from an 80s film, right?

You should also avoid wearing leopard print to court. Court is the most conservative dress environment for lawyers. You have to strike the appropriate balance between professional and likable, especially if you're trying a case before a jury. As much as we like leopard, it remains a divisive print. Judges and jurors will judge a book by its spotted cover. Don't compromise your client's case to prove a point.

As for the gentlemen ... Sadly, men should avoid feline prints altogether.

A leopard can't change its spots, but a modern lawyer can change into leopard print. Just remember to return to solids before entering the courthouse.

Editor's Note, March 5, 2015: This post was first published in March 2013. It has since been updated.

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