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'If you can't dry clean it, don’t wear it'; partner advises male lawyers on business casual


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Harrumph! After receiving several complaints, the office managing partner of a national law firm has decided the firm’s poorly dressed male lawyers need some business-casual guidelines.

No. 1 on the list: “If you cannot dry clean it, don’t wear it.” Above the Law published the entire memo from the unnamed partner who set out to help the “fashionably challenged.” The advice includes:

• Socks are required in a business environment no matter what Esquire says.

• Polo-type shirts which look like they have been crumpled in the back corner floor of your closet do not count as acceptable business casual. This is true even when you attempt to smooth them out for 15 seconds before you put them on in the morning.

• Slacks should be pressed and have a crease.

• Shoes need polish … like weekly. Ask your father if you are so lucky to have him living what civilized people used to say you could tell about a fella based on his shoes.

• Shirts with ties that don’t have button downs or collar stays make you look like the guy in the Three Stooges (or worse).

• Most days you should wear a sport coat with the rest of what constitutes your “casual dress.” This is still a law office and coats are generally a part of the kind of casual business dress we allow/tolerate/reluctantly permit.

• There are actually unofficial rules about appropriate combinations of brown/black shoes, brown/black socks belts, and brown/black belts based on the color of your clothes and the color of the belt/sock/shoe you are wearing. Typically, they should be the same color. This is a little complicated for some. If in doubt, wear the same color. Or, ask your spouse/significant other or purchase a book.

Above the Law sees some “low grade sexism” in the guidelines. They contemplate “a time when men were men and somebody else did their laundry,” the blog says. But it judges the rules “pretty standard.”

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