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What does a hip young thing wear in court?!

(57 Posts)
littlehalo Sun 30-Dec-12 11:35:18

My job is normally community and/ or office based but is now taking me into the courts.

I'd like a nice pencil skirt suit (or similar) but sites like TM Lewin make me want to cry. I'm 20-something, size 6/8, 5ft 4 (but live in heels), nick named 'the clothes horse', please tell me I'm not destined for bland colours and frumpy cuts for the rest of my working life!

I'm not actually averse to grey or black but I would want to 'lift' these colours with nice blouses or camis.

To give you an idea of my usual style, I like bold pieces, love Vivienne Westwood, winged eyeliner etc, not frightened of print.

Any suggestions would be great, thanks in advance.

tethersjinglebellend Sun 30-Dec-12 22:25:49

Some nice VW bits in the sale here...



BadDog Sun 30-Dec-12 21:55:56

Probation always look a mess tbh. Any advance on that is good.

littlehalo Sun 30-Dec-12 20:41:45

I think it will make you look young

This is a valid point - to take the argument to the other extreme, I am absolutely not going to try to look older. Fact is, I am on the young side and at the lower end of what the role usually demands in terms of experience. I fully expect that somone will try to have a pop at some point, I need to head this off with a robust, confident response. The superficial stuff is just window dressing, this is where my practice really must speak for itself.

The only 'window-dressing' trick I might employ is wearing my glasses as opposed to contacts. I genuinely do have dreadful eyesight so shouldn't feel too much of a fraud!

Thanks for all your advice ladies, I'll be thinking of your various viewpoints when hitting the sales!

ClaraDeLaNoche Sun 30-Dec-12 19:24:06

I don't agree that you have to dress conservatively to be taken seriously. High fashion is fine. I have known plenty of professionals who look fashionable. I have done court work with very glamourous females and I felt a frump because I was doing the conservative trouser suit. At the time I felt you had to conform because I was young and just starting out but now I wish I'd had the balls to dress up a bit more. It would not have affected the outcome of the case.

Just don't look like you're going to the dancing.

I am now fairly glam at work and I am taken seriously. Be yourself, you are obviously interested in fashion.

blueshoes Sun 30-Dec-12 19:09:06

I am not sure about that outfit for court. It is the tight cut and skinny trousers. It is trying rather hard IMO to give yourself individuality clothes-wise when the last thing you want to do is stand out for your clothes.

I think it will make you look young which detracts from the seriousness of your role.

higgle Sun 30-Dec-12 18:52:10

I was a solicitor doing a lot of magistrates work until a career change 7 years ago. If you are a social worker you will not be expected to dress in the same way as the legal representatives and provided you are smart and decent you will be able to get away with a more relaxed style. Dresses in dark prints or jersey dresses with a jacket are a good way to go. When I was pregnant and got very hot in court I used to wear a dark T shirt dress with a navy jersey jacket over and a chiffon scarf and pearls and looked very dressed up when I really was not - a jacket adds a bit of gravitas to any outfit.

SweetieSnowball Sun 30-Dec-12 18:29:02

Good luck in your new role. Try not to worry too much on clothes, and see what your new colleagues and peers wear.

I am a Magistrate and in the court where I sit the bench is quite a bit higher than everyone in the well of the court. The biggest fashion mistake made by ladies is tops worn are too low. They may seem respectable when viewed from straight ahead but from the slightly elevated position gives the bench an eyeful on occasion. You mention cami tops, these were the worst offender I am afraid. If in doubt wear high neck or drape a scarf. Think pussybows or thin polo necks in muted colours under conservative jackets.

PavlovtheCat Sun 30-Dec-12 18:19:39

I personally don't like that outfit, but I guess it is personal taste. I think it's a bit too 'funky' for court personally, more appropriate for the office. But then, I am not a young hip girl any more wink

Mockingcurl Sun 30-Dec-12 18:06:23

I sit in court regularly.
You should look smart and fairly subdued . Anything too sexy, short or revealing WILL get commented on and will detract from your professional role. You will be known as the one in the sexy skirts,or whatever.

Keep it simple and smart. Trousers are ok but some judges don't like it.

ItsaTIARA Sun 30-Dec-12 17:49:23

I think that's a lovely outfit OP. fashionable enough to make you happy wearing it but oozing respectability and professionalism.

littlehalo Sun 30-Dec-12 17:42:26

Blimey, sorry for huge link!

littlehalo Sun 30-Dec-12 17:42:00

Thanks to whoever mentioned Reiss, I love this:,r:3,s:0,i:97

blueshoes Sun 30-Dec-12 17:28:43

I agree with Cunningplan, cassel and don'tlaugh.

None of the designer outfits linked to on this thread would work. They are too fussy, perplexing and make everyone look at bit sideways at you.

You are young. Make the best of it with a black pencil skirt, fitted jacket with good tailoring and heels. Gives you presence. You will look like a solicitor (not sure if that is good or bad).

PavlovtheCat Sun 30-Dec-12 17:20:00

this is very similar to the dress I wear, but I am short so it is not high above my knee, mine it just on my knee, with a jacket over.

BadDog Sun 30-Dec-12 17:17:05

Nothing ostentatious basically.

BadDog Sun 30-Dec-12 17:16:47

I wouldn't say too high heels. You'll be running around a bit.

PavlovtheCat Sun 30-Dec-12 17:14:46

I wear either dark/black pinstriped trouser suit and mid heels or a black knee-length shift dress and jacket, back mary jane mid heels to court. Minimal make-up and hair done simply, not much jewelry.

BadDog Sun 30-Dec-12 17:13:27

Trousers and a blouse. No one will look. Court is not about you.

littlehalo Sun 30-Dec-12 17:11:11

You should not, IMO, rely on your outfit to convince people that you know your stuff

I won't need to rely on an outfit for that, thankfully.

*I am a Probation Officer and have previously worked in both Mag and Crown Courts. My role being to advise and assist the Court.
I have never really conformed to the black skirt suit and court shoe look. But I think you do have to dress appropriately for the setting and for your role in the court*

Thanks Meggles, that's really helpful, I'm going to be a family court adviser so I guess there are some parallels there.

CunningPlan Sun 30-Dec-12 16:23:23

If course, I use spellcheck at work

your, not yor hmm

CunningPlan Sun 30-Dec-12 16:22:39

Another solicitor here advising to let your evidence and professional manner do the talking, NOT yor clothes. You should not, IMO, rely on your outfit to convince people that you know your stuff, but of course an unprofessional outfit can spoil an otherwise professional impression.

I'm not in court but for big meetings I wear suits in black, grey, navy and, when I'm feeling really wild, charcoal grey. I have rejected suits from the high street before because I was running the risk of looking like an air hostess.

Lots of the big London firms give dressing advice to their graduate trainees and the advice is as follows: keep it plain and if you must use Bol colour, restrict it to scarves that can be whipped off if you feel the need to dial it down a notch.

Meggles76 Sun 30-Dec-12 16:07:29

OP - I am a Probation Officer and have previously worked in both Mag and Crown Courts. My role being to advise and assist the Court.
I have never really conformed to the black skirt suit and court shoe look. But I think you do have to dress appropriately for the setting and for your role in the court.
I tended to wear a slim fit fine wool trouser suit in charcoal with a fitted white or light blue shirt. Killer heels. Add colour with a silk scarf. Alternatively I wore a below the knee black jersey pencil skirt with black patterned tights, shirt and heels.

littlehalo Sun 30-Dec-12 13:26:30

Gosh Charlotte that reminds me, there was once a mix up and I was summoned to attend court on a s.7 case with only 30min notice. I knew the case inside out so I had no qualms on that front. However, it was thick with snow outside and I had originally planned to be out and about covering contacts and doing home visits all day so was wearing wellies, a lumberjack shirt, jeans and a parka jacket!! I felt like such a plonker.

I got a notoriousy grumpy judge but he must have been in a good mood that day as he looked me up and down, gave a wry smile then moved on blush

NorthernNumpty Sun 30-Dec-12 12:59:09

That last one is fab but would be a head turner in the sea of black and navy, a lawyer couldn't get away with it but maybe you could on my behalf!!!

littlehalo Sun 30-Dec-12 12:59:03

Ha love it Djembe

Absolutely, I would always opt for below-the-knee in a pencil skirt Northern, is it just me or do above-the-knee pencil skirts smack of Viv Windsor out of Emmerdale?! Victoria Beckham always gets it right with pencil skirts, so flattering.

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