Dressing the Part: A Basic Legal Wardrobe

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Wardrobe — “A collection of wearing apparel (as of one person or for one activity).”

-Oxford’s English Dictionary


If you’ve been reading along since the beginning of my blog, then you’ll likely know that I work at Banana Republic part-time.  This basically means that outside of law school, my life revolves around fashion.  I absolutely love clothes, and the fact that I have three full closets of clothes between my school apartment and my bedroom at home should indicate that I take my clothing seriously (or haven’t grown in ten years so I can still wear things I bought when I was 12).  And going to law school means starting a wardrobe fit for a lawyer.  You might be thinking, “I’m only starting my 1L year, why do I need a dressy wardrobe?”  Well, you’ll be using some of these pieces sooner than you think, and purchasing one item at a time over a couple months will have you set for your 1L summer internship.

Three Piece Suit

So when you read three piece suit, I don’t mean your father’s three piece suit.  I will only consider a suit set if I can purchase the jacket, skirt, and pants all in the same fabric and color.  Having all three pieces gives you a lot of versatility while also having one cohesive look.  Choosing the same fabric is so important when it comes to suits.  For example, I had purchased a different pair of pants than the ones I linked below, but they ended up being a different fabric than the jacket and that meant the pants were an entirely different black than the jacket.  I also recommend purchasing one made of a wool blend, Banana Republic has a great lightweight wool blend that’s awesome.  A nice lightweight wool suit is light enough to wear during the summer, but warm enough that you won’t freeze when it gets colder.  I currently only have a black suit but I keep looking for both a navy and grey suits.

Comfortable Heels

Heels that don’t hurt your feet are a number one essential in any female’s wardrobe, at least in my opinion.  There’s something so empowering about walking around in a spiky pair of heels that make your legs look great.  But that only goes so far if it hurts to walk around in them.  That being said, I absolutely love the pair I linked down below, I have them in multiple colors.  They have enough cushion in the soles, and the angle of the heel isn’t too steep that your toes are being pushed down into the top of the shoe.  I recommend starting with a basic black pair of pumps, but definitely adding some fun colors, like a blush pink or burgundy, so you can switch it up depending on your outfit.

Lightweight Tops

My closet is full of tanks and dressy camisoles that are perfect for under suit jackets and blazers.  Lighter weight tops, similar to the one I linked below, ensure that you won’t be too hot wearing multiple layers to work.  Tops like these are also great for more dressed down occasions as well, I rock these with jeans to school all the time.  They can also add a needed pop of color to any outfit; I try to stay away from really loud colors with these tops since they can overpower your outfit and frankly you as well.  Delicate fabrics are something to keep in mind because a lot of these kinds of tops do come in dry clean only fabrics which can be hard to deal with on a law school budget.

Sweater

If you’ve read my post about what I carry in my bag to my summer internship, then you’ve already read about how sweaters are one of my essentials.  I love pairing my sweater with pants and a top when I wasn’t going into the courtroom this summer.  Similarly to the suit, I love Merino wool sweaters because they provide just enough warmth in the air conditioning but won’t cause you to sweat when it’s a little warmer.

Fashion Blazers

While not a complete necessity for a legal wardrobe, fashion blazers are a fun and stylish addition to anyone’s professional wardrobe.  I personally have a white linen blazer from J. Crew Factory and a hot pink blazer from Banana Republic.  They’re a little more tailored than the traditional suiting jacket so they don’t look as stuffy and can be dressed down as well.  These are a fun addition to add some of your own personality to your outfits.

Pants

In addition to having your basic suit pants, you should also have some dressy pants/trousers.  I personally love the Sloan pants from Banana Republic because they’re almost like a legging but a little more structured and they come in a multitude of different colors and patterns.  I also like chinos since they are a great basic to match with any top.  Introducing a few different pairs of pants can give you so many different outfit combinations so you’ll never get called a fashion repeater like Lizzie McGuire.

Dresses

Dresses are one of my favorite things to wear all of the time.  They’re so effortless but look so polished and put together.  For the start of your legal wardrobe, I’d definitely pick up a basic black dress, like this one.  But also don’t forget about some tasteful patterned dresses as well if you don’t have to be completely dressed up every day in the office.  I like ones that are easy to throw a sweater or blazer over in case you get cold or have to go to a meeting, like the one linked below. 

Flats

This was another item in my What’s in My Bag Internship Edition post because it’s something everyone needs!  I personally love matching my flats to the heels I’m wearing that day, but that’s more because I have like so many pairs of shoes more than actual necessity.  But sometimes, a dress or outfit will look better with flats or my feet will hurt so I’ll wear flats instead of heels.  And honestly, if you’re debating between a pair of heels or flats, I’d definitely go with a pair of flats over heels.  The ones I’ve linked are also a style that I have multiple colors in as well! 









Most of the items I’ve linked are from Banana Republic, and usually there are plenty of sales going on so you can get these items at a good price.  All of the reviews in this post are my own and aren’t influenced by working there, I wouldn’t link any clothes I wouldn’t wear myself.  In fact, all but one of these items are things I have personally tried on and own.  Also, none of the links are affiliate because I really just love helping people with styling and fashion in general.  Have fun shopping!

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