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Bare legs - sensible for summer or unprofessional?

(73 Posts)
Issymum Tue 26-Apr-05 11:21:36

I'm a lawyer and my assistant is a paralegal (a mix between a secretary and a lawyer who is hoping to qualify as a solicitor in a couple of years time).

We were discussing in a girlie way, what we would wear to the office in the summer. My view is trousers work best in high summer, otherwise one has to wear tights because bare legs (however smooth, slim and tanned) look unprofessional. Her view is that bare legs are fine, providing they are smooth, slim and tanned. She of course possesses such a pair and I don't.

I wouldn't make an issue about it, but I'm just wondering if I'm being hopelessly stuffy or if she, by being too informal, might undermine her professional credibility.

One for the Mumsnet Arbiter of Good Taste.

Tinker Tue 26-Apr-05 11:24:42

As a possessor of non-tanned legs, I would agree with you. If just in office or fairly informal situation, would go without. But would be very grateful for excuse of a formal situation in order to justify wearing tights/trousers. I remember my dad being horrified that I was intending to go to my granny's funeral (in July) without tights.

motherinferior Tue 26-Apr-05 11:25:36

I think if her legs are totally glossy with upkeep they're probably fine. With a pedicure and not overly-tarty nail varnish.

Listen to me, you'd think I had a proper posh job and all

Chandra Tue 26-Apr-05 11:25:46

I think it depends more in which place are you based, as there are different dressing codes for different areas.

I agree with you thugh, I found bare legs a bit unprofessional for a solicitor's office.

motherinferior Tue 26-Apr-05 11:26:03

Tinker, I have two words for you: fake tan. Fab stuff.

Tinker Tue 26-Apr-05 11:28:07

Testing them will be my new hobby when on mat leave mi

beachyhead Tue 26-Apr-05 11:29:04

I remember meeting a very good friend of mine (now) when she was doing her articles and I was a client....IU was horrified that she came into this external meeting (mine) in a skirt and no tights - I thought it highly unprofessional!!!! We laugh about it now, but I still think that a skirt has to be fairly long and legs pretty tanned for no tights to be acceptable in a formal (say, client) meeting. In the office, where they are unlikely to bump into third parties, I think it is fine......

However, this summer, as I am pregnant, I shall be wearing whatever I like, whenever I like and etiquette be dammed.........

NomDePlume Tue 26-Apr-05 11:29:33

My initial reaction was bare legs are fine so long as they are of the palatable variety , but I'm not sure now.

I think the bare legs thing would also depend on the length of skirt, IMO naked shins are much more acceptable than naked knees. If your skirt is above knee length or on the knee, go with tights, if slightly longer then a bit of glossy, smooth, tanned shin should be absolutely fine.

beachyhead Tue 26-Apr-05 11:30:16

Then I think that shoes that show your toes are unprofessional so I'm a bit of a stickler....

NomDePlume Tue 26-Apr-05 11:30:28

Buggerm I thought I was being all profound then will my skirt length theory and then beachy's post x.

Prettybird Tue 26-Apr-05 11:31:35

I would say bare legs - fuzz free and (fake) tanned are fine - but bare toes are not. So no to open toed sandals. Posh court shoes woold be OK and look professional.

I remember having this debate years ago with a colleague in the States - and over there bare legs were an absolute no-no.

That was in the chemicals industry which was fairly staid and suspicious of females (so maybe not that different from the legal profession! )

NomDePlume Tue 26-Apr-05 11:31:51

Strappy sandals are not good for work, but a nice cheeky, peep-toe, 50's style, court-type shoe would be ok, IMO. So long as the nails were neatly painted and well kept.

Anchovy Tue 26-Apr-05 11:37:45

How useful - I was just thinking about this a couple of days ago. Can we extend this to take in feet? I'm also a lawyer and was wondering how to deal with the inevitable outbreak of open shoes/painted toenails/toe rings in the office (and the inevitable view that as one of the female partners in the department it seems somehow to be my job both to have a view and to enforce everyone else's). Bear in mind that a city law firm is not the cutting edge of avant garde fashion - I remember a note going round about 10 years ago saying it was now deemed acceptable for women to wear trousers - subject to the following "taste guidelines".....

I'd say "no" to the no tights for me and "no" for anyone else unless their legs look as though they might be wearing tights (IYSWIM) (ie very tanned, smooth etc). And I think visible toes are a big non-no, even with a plain suit. (This might have something to do with my general feet aversion though. And I do have painted toenails and a toe-ring of my own for the weekend!).

Can't believe I'm thinking about this when I really should be working!

expatinscotland Tue 26-Apr-05 11:40:04

As long as the legs are in good shape, I'd think bare is fine. I hate tights to the extent that I'd rather wear trouser suits for life.

expatinscotland Tue 26-Apr-05 11:41:17

I should add that one of the partners in a firm where I worked, a VERY stuffy, formal one, had legs to die for. She went bare in summer and believe me, the only complaints were from jealous cows. She was an inspiration - after 3 kids she looked fabulous!

beachyhead Tue 26-Apr-05 11:42:15

What about sleeveless tops? I have a bit of a problem with those case anyone thinks I'm Ann Widdicombe, I'm not - just would like women looking like they are doing a days work, not off to the beach for the day......after all, can you imagine a man coming in in a vest, even on a casual day

expatinscotland Tue 26-Apr-05 11:44:01

I think sleeveless tops are fine, too, as long as the arms are toned and tanned.

Ditto tasteful open-toed sandals - but a professional pedicure is a must!

Tinker Tue 26-Apr-05 11:44:12

Was just about to post about sleeveless tops! Hate them. It's the possible flash of the underarm that makes me shudder.

beachyhead Tue 26-Apr-05 11:48:23

could we all stop talking about toned and tanned - it is making me feel very inferior......

beachyhead Tue 26-Apr-05 11:48:58

a burka would be OK

expatinscotland Tue 26-Apr-05 11:50:47

Don't feel inferior, beachy! Hit the gym and go St. Tropez! If you can't lick 'em, join 'em.

I'm always inspired when I see women looking fab after having kids.

Prettybird Tue 26-Apr-05 11:51:38

I'm a bit iffy about bare shoulders too. Hadn't thought of it in terms of the arm pits though !

I'll wear cap sleeve tops though.

The only exception if it has been really hot for a really long time - everyone seems to get a bit more relaxed then (or is just that we start wilting and no longer have the energy!)

Issymum Tue 26-Apr-05 11:58:04

Paralegal and I agree 'no' to open-toed sandals. No to sleeveless tops too, although we might make an exception for a smart, sleeveless shift dress or top with capped sleeves. Provided of course underarms are smooth and preferably tanned. We have agreed to differ on the bare legs point.

dinosaur Tue 26-Apr-05 11:59:35

How the hell do you get your underarms tanned?

expatinscotland Tue 26-Apr-05 12:01:03

You have a St. Tropez spray tan done. That's one way to get 'tanned' underarms.

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