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Earlier this year we gave the guys some advice on business casual dress, so we thought it was only fair to share some tips for the ladies. Generally, you'll want to follow your bosses' lead, and always err on the side of over-dressing. As Oscar Wilde said, "You can never be overdressed or overeducated."
The most important thing to remember is the "business" in business casual. Here are more detailed tips on how to walk the fine line of business casual dress.
You may not need to wear a jacket, but your tops should be the next best thing such as a button-up shirt or a sweater twin-set. Ideally, your top should be able to work with a suit, in case you get called to sit in on a court appearance or deposition at the last minute (remember that suit you keep in the office?). Also, if wearing a silk blouse that may be a bit sheer, wear an appropriate shell.
Again, you don't need to wear a suit, but the same rule applies here, as it does for tops -- the next best thing. That means two options: trousers/dress pants or skirts. Jeans are not business casual -- they are "Silicon Valley casual" -- even if you work at BigLaw in Silicon Valley. Your clients (and FindLaw bloggers) can dress that way, but you shouldn't.
Shoes & Accessories
You should wear the same shoes and accessories you would with business dress, as you would with business casual dress. Sorry, no sneakers, unless you're pulling a "Working Girl" and wearing sneakers on the commute. Just change out of them as soon as you get to your office.
Leave the motorcycle, denim and army jackets for the weekend. For a BigLaw office environment stick to wool coats, trench coats -- coats that look professional. Also try to make sure that accompanying outdoor accessories match, and are equally professional. For example, these hats won't make the cut -- not matter how casual your office dress policy is.
Sometimes working at BigLaw is hard enough; you don't need to stress out about what to wear. Think of business, or business casual dress, as a uniform. Figure out good key pieces that work on your body type (and play well together) so you can mix and match your way to work without the worry.
Do you have any tips for business casual dressing? Share them with us on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.