Fashion Friday: Should Lawyers Follow Wall Street's Unspoken

by Vault Law Editors | February 18, 2011

  • My Vault

For female employees at Goldman Sachs, keeping things professional is all about simplicity. According to a recent article on Business Insider, the unwritten rules of professional appearance at the Wall Street firm are:

Hair: Neat, and pulled back or at least out of your eyes. No crazy 'dos.

Nails: Manicured red, pink, or nude. Trimmed short and round.

Make-up: Smooth, even-toned, fresh-looking skin. Mascara. No heavy eye-liner, ideally none. Light lipstick.

Going natural when it comes to hair and makeup seems to be the rule at other Wall Street firms like UBS and Morgan Stanley too. According to a former employee at Morgan Stanley, a woman is either categorized as a “flirt” or as a business woman. Consequently, those who are “there for business make it apparent in everything they do, and they don't ignore the importance of controlling the message they're projecting via their appearance.”

Do these same rules apply in law firms? Should female attorneys throw their eye shadow and lipstick in the trash and pull their hair into pony tails to be taken seriously? Or are law firm cultures different from those of the Wall Streeters?

I certainly don’t think it’s fair to categorize a woman as an unprofessional flirt if she dons some blush and wears her hair down. When I was a law firm associate, the unspoken rule was to keep a neat appearance—I don’t think that means a tight bun with a dab of chapstick on your lips. But, I do think there is something to be said for simplicity as the guide for professionalism. Just like certain makeup works better at night than during the day, certain styles work better in a social setting than an office setting. And sticking to simple hair and makeup styles seems to be a good way to err on the side of professional caution.

What do you think? Should women lawyers follow Goldman’s unspoken appearance rules, or do law firms give more leeway on personal appearance?

Business Insider Source

Read More:
Fashion Friday: Should Lawyers Get Leggy or Strut in Stockings?

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Filed Under: Law

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