Sartorial style in the law has long been an issue that ranks high in white-shoed Big Law firms, not perhaps as high as gender equality and pay scales, but high nonetheless. And the issue that was recently raised was whether brown shoes should be warn with a blue suit.
Well, should they?
The issue arose at a ‘Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law’ conference in London last week in the context of helping people from non-traditional backgrounds who would not know “unspoken dress code rules” about blue suits and brown shoes.
It was designed to assist ‘unsuitably attired trainees’, which resulted in a strong social media backlash
“This is silly,” Matthew Richardson, a family law barrister at Coram Chambers said, while another user wrote, “sounds like lack in sense or fashion; or quite possibly both. People should wear what they want. The partner should get out of others’ wardrobes, or just get out more. People see an expert for his/her expertise, not for their dress sense”.
Paras Gorasia, a barrister specialising in employment law at Doughty Street Chambers, said of the comments: “Not entirely sure that the fashion sense (or lack thereof) of potential trainees is a priority, it is clearly advisable to dress professionally but this level of prescription is probably a step too far.”