By Mikki Collier • April 11, 2010•Writers in Residence
So many women attorneys allow themselves to fall into a wardrobe rut (insert the term 'frumpy attorney' here). Day after day, they drag themselves to work wearing the same old tired clothes without care or concern for their appearance . For some, the daily demands of the profession do not allow for the time or mental space necessary to put towards creating a stylish outfit. For others, the thought of putting together a look that is both chic and conservative is daunting, so they simply give up . But consider this, in today's ultra-competitive environment, advancing in the profession is as much about image as it is about performance. Like it or not, all else being equal, the best way to be noticed and get ahead is by presenting yourself in a polished and professional manner that still remains true to your personal style. So, how do you transform a work wardrobe that is dull, drab, and uninspiring? It's all about how you accessorize. That's right! The right accessory (be it a scarf, jewelry, or standout pumps) can speak life into an otherwise blah ensemble and polish it to perfection! Not only that, accessories have the ability to give a variety of looks to a single outfit, update classic clothing styles, define your personal style, and pull together unrelated pieces. So now that you know what accessories can do for you, how you accessorize is key.
First and foremost, keeping in mind that the legal profession is a conservative environment, choose accessories wisely - the adornments you don should reflect that you are serious about your career. Avoid the urge to over-accessorize at the office. With this in mind, I suggest adding the following essential pieces to update and rejuvenate your wardrobe:
Hold This - A great bag can make an outfit. Choose something with structure and quality to the material that is large enough to hold everything you need, but doesn't look like you are on your way to the Hampton's for the weekend. Consider playing with color (like subtle greens, and deep blues) and exotic skins, to really pop the ensemble.
Sole Mates - If a handbag makes an outfit, the shoes give it life. A classic black closed-toe pump (exposing just a little toe-cleavage) can take you from the boardroom to the ballroom with minimal fuss. However, don't be afraid to incorporate colors (such as a subdued green, neutrals, and a wine red), exotic skins, and textures and fabrics into the mix. In addition, be mindful of the height of the heel- three inches and under is appropriate for the workplace. Anything higher than that and you run the risk of looking like an employee at a stripper bar as opposed to being a member of the bar.
Tie It, You'll Like It - Add glam factor to your office attire by investing in scarves. They come in countless colors and patterns and can be tied in a variety of ways. Whether looped and tied in a knot around your neck, or wrapped around the strap of your handbag, a scarf will instantly make for a chic and sophisticated look.
Cinched at the Waist- A belt turns an ordinary outfit into the extraordinary. Done right, a belt can create the illusion of a proportional figure, add a dramatic touch, and complete an outfit.
Add a Little Sparkle, to Shine - When it comes to wearing jewelry at work, less is more. Classic pieces, such as a pearl or other small beaded necklace, small diamond, silver or gold studs, and an elegant watch, can be sophisticated additions to your attire.