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.
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.
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.........
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.
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!
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!
What about sleeveless tops? I have a bit of a problem with those too......in 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
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.