Legal Attire for the Attorney New Hire


One Suit, Two Suits, Red Suit, Black Suit?
Only Black or Navy Blue?
Watch the sleeves and watch the hue?
Don’t buy the Pantsuit, stick with the Skirtsuit,
One Suit, Two Suits, Red Suit, Black Suit?

Dr. Seuss wrote “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” as a simple rhyming book for the beginning reader. I borrow his theme for the beginning lawyer. What color suit for court? I have heard from some attorneys “no colors in court.” I heard from others, “it depends.” Recently I heard from a judge that he doesn’t care if a woman wears a red suit or a man wears a brown suit, as long as they are dressed for court and not a cocktail party (apparently this has become a recent issue).

I understand that you do not want to take attention away from your client (or perhaps you do?). Thus, I am confused. I have beautiful dresses and suits made for the business environment in various colors and sleeve-orientations, but have realized that my jaune (French for yellow) sheath dress or violet suit I wore as a global digital manager may not be the appropriate attire for court. In my search for best practices, I have failed to find consistent dress guidelines for the legal profession. Is it acceptable to wear your turquoise Trina Turk sheath dress in the office, but only your navy Carson’s suit in court? Is hosiery required? Should toes be covered?

While I may have started this discussion with a bit of whimsy borrowed from Dr. Seuss, I am truly curious as to best practices for dress. Please share your thoughts.