Of the many words that can be used to describe a female lawyer’s work uniform, “fun” wouldn’t rank in the top 100.
And that can be problematic, as many of us head straight from the office to happy hours or other social or professional occasions at the end of the day.
No one wants to feel frumpy with a cocktail in hand, whether it’s on a date or at a networking event. Fortunately, there are options for lawyers hoping to transition seamlessly from a day at the firm to a night on the town—and look chic while doing it. It all boils down to knowing what kind of pieces to look for.
Little Black (or Blue, or Gray …) Dresses
When you want to avoid the standard suit or pencil-skirt-and-button-down look, which can feel a little too uptight after hours, dresses are a must. Seek out basic dresses in work appropriate colors that you can wear under a blazer or cardigan during the day, ideally with interesting but subtle details. Once you leave the office, remove the blazer. Even a simple little black dress jazzed up with accessories (more on that below) should prevent you from feeling stuffy at a bar. Jumpsuits, which are having a moment, can work here too.
Shoes That Shine
We don’t mean literally (your shoes don’t have to glitter!), but we’ll let you in on a little secret: Slipping on a pair of gorgeous heels will automatically transform both your outfit and your outlook—remember that scene from The Devil Wears Prada? You might not want to wear a pair of leopard-print pumps all day, but trading in your matte black leather for shoes with personality will immediately bring life to your look. A shoe upgrade will help you feel as though you fit in with the 9 p.m. crowd, not just the 9 a.m. crowd.
Blazers and Jackets with Personality
While you probably wouldn’t wear an electric blue blazer or a snakeskin jacket to work, there’s nothing preventing you from using such pieces to bring life to what you would wear on the job once you’ve left for the day. That aforementioned basic black dress will work with a plain black blazer, sure, but it’ll also look great under a cropped white leather jacket – and feel a lot more fashion-forward when you’re sipping on a martini with your friends. Pack an extra jacket when you leave in the morning, then swap out what you arrived at work in when the day ends.
Statement pieces, like large or bright necklaces, earrings, and rings, instantly make a work uniform feel less plain. They’ll attract attention and help make sure you don’t blend into the scenery in your lawyerly uniform, no matter where you’re headed when the workday ends. Do your best to coordinate the colors of multiple pieces to create a cohesive look. And as a bonus, jewelry is easy to stuff in a blazer pocket or handbag and put on at the end of the day.
No matter how much black or navy you’re wearing, the right handbag can instantly wake up your look. You probably won’t want to use that neon green crocodile-skin purse or tortoiseshell-detailed bucket bag to carry your things you work, but you can stash it in your desk for after-work occasions. If you must lug home your laptop, you’ll be relieved to learn even top designers are factoring in professional women’s needs to lug around work supplies these days. It’s never been easier to find a fun (and affordable) tote bag with style.