Question of the Week

Have you ever been dressed down for your work attire choices? Was the criticism fair?


Tennessee Circuit Court Judge Royce Taylor
recommends that female lawyers in his
courtroom wear sleeves past the elbow.
Image from Shutterstock.

Summer is here, and so are the annual complaints about lawyers dressing too casually for work or for court. A judge in Tennessee announced that he plans to offer specific suggestions to female attorneys about attire in an upcoming bar newsletter. And men have not been spared: A partner at a national law firm sent out a mass email explaining to its male lawyers the firm’s standards for “business casual.”

One female commenter on the post about the Tennessee judge wrote about how her own fashion failures were handled by her supervisor, and noted that she is now grateful that he intervened. “He asked one of the other female employees to take me shopping ‘since I had come from out of state’ to show me ‘how folks dress here.’ Some of the best advice I received. After that, I realized that the public judged me based on initial impression. Dressing too casually undermined my position. I can’t imagine an attorney meeting with a client, let alone appearing in court, in less than a suit comparable to what men in the same area wear. Why put yourself at a disadvantage based on appearance?”

So this week—even though we’ve asked you about workplace attire again, again and again—please tell us: Have you ever been dressed down for your work attire choices? Was the criticism fair?

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week’s question: How much privacy would you willingly sacrifice in the name of national security?

Featured answer:

Posted by okiedokie: “ ‘Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety’—B. Franklin. That being said, however, I just assume my electronic life is public and act accordingly.”

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