Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Confessions of a Fashion DA

by Robin Sax

It’s almost Fall . . . and what is Fall without a little fashion?

Okay, everybody, I am going to admit it. . . . If I could think of my dream job, I’d be a stylist, a personal shopper, a fashion policewoman. I would peruse catalogues, go to France, China, and India, meet designers, and rip people’s outfits apart. I would play with fabrics, sample accessories, and find new designs. I wouldn’t be just any type of stylist though. Oh no. I wouldn’t cater to celebs, A-listers, or the people with money. I would cater to my peeps, my folks—the ordinary, the working ones, the ones who speak to juries, the ones who go to court, the ones who spend their careers serving others.

Every day I go to court and my chin drops when I see some of the outfits people don for the courtroom. I see shirts too short, pants too long, and skirts too long and too short. I see ties too skinny and outfits that belong in the beach or at a night club. I see people wearing stockings with sandals, crumpled ties, and even saw blue jeans that were way too tight and way too low cut on a lawyer who was arguing to the court.

When these fashion no-no’s happen, people whisper, critique, laugh, or worse yet, lose respect for you. Yet, political correctness and sexual harassment has made it such that when one of these fashion atrocities happens, everybody just sits there. Judges don’t tell lawyers to go home and change their clothes and lawyers don’t tell witnesses to go home and change their clothes. Everyone just sits there in amazement, trying to look the other way.

No matter how judgmental or politically correct people think they are, the fact is that we are a judgmental society. If you think I’m kidding, just ask any of your women friends. They will tell you that a woman can hate another woman and pure sight, without the other person saying a word. And why is that? It’s because we draw conclusions and opinions about people from what they are wearing, what their hair looks like, what kind of jewelry they are wearing, and of course, the expression on their face.

And it is for this reason that it is so critically important for people to look professional, clean, and appropriate for court. Whether in front of a jury, in front of a judge, or meeting with a lawyer, how we look makes a statement about who we are and our credibility. In order to be most credible in front of a jury, I offer the following suggestion—dress for court as you would dress for church or for an important job interview. And if that guidance is not clear enough, let me give you some pointers that should assist you through any fashion emergency:

Avoid outlandish looks in hair, clothes, and makeup.

Wear age-appropriate clothes. Don't wear the same thing your teenage daughter wears.

There is no place for super spiky heals of flip-flops in a courtroom.

Never wear anything that reveals your lingerie. That means no matter how trendy low-slung pants are, if you can see the skivvies, skip it!

Don't wear your wealth on your hands, wrists, fingers, ears and neck—especially not all at the same time.

Don't wear pajamas to court.

Navy blue and black suits are always safe. But mono-color (shirts the same color as the suit) went out of style about five years ago.

If you're over 50, do NOT wear sleeveless. As a matter of fact, no one should wear sleeveless in court.

By all means, iron your suit and shirt.

Take a once-over look in the mirror for anything that sticks out when you swing around. If it's there, take it off immediately.

Don't wear anything with a logo across the buttocks.

Never, ever wear a fanny pack!

And in case you were wondering what this crazy prosecutor is doing writing about fashion, know that I have made a hobby out of watching trends, spotting fashion finds and being a cultural connoisseur.

In May 2008, I started SaxFacts Weekly, a weekly newsletter spotlighting what you MUST know about fashion, beauty, baby, food, exercise, and many other websites. What originally began with the desire to feed my own consumerism has become an outlet of learning what’s out there for everyone to enjoy.

With a subscriber list of over 3,000 people in just 12 weeks, I provide my readers with resources, suggestions, and contacts for everything from the mundane to the quirky. Whether you need to know how to scout for a nanny, where to buy the best holiday gifts, when there is a great sale, how to locate an affordable web designer, or who can notarize your trust at 3 a.m., I have the scoop. So, if you want to be in the know, sign up for your FREE newsletter at robinsax.com/saxfactsweekly.html.


Robin Sax, Stacy Dittrich, Susan Murphy Milano said...

You forgot to mention the importance of an appropriate bra. So many women in court wear blouses so shear you can see the color and lace of their undergarment. Or blouses so tight they barely button.

Great post!!

M.A. said...

I admit, I have gazed in shock and awe at some of the "outfits" defendants, defense counsel, and prosecutors wear to court. For most female attorneys, the biggest fashion crime I see committed is continuing to wear (without updating) the trial suits purchased when they began prosecuting. 70's polyester and 80's power suits in fluorescent hues are not complimentary to anyone and should only be worn for Halloween. I must concur with Robin on the sandals and pantyhose. When is that EVER appropriate?

Stacy Dittrich said...

I love it! Since I had the pleasure of spending some time in LA with Fashionista Sax, believe me, she means what she says!

Another tip--the piercings! Please remove your nose, lip, eyebrow, and bellybutton menagerie. When a human tacklebox walks in, the jury takes notice!!

Remember ladies, it's all about the shoes and it's all about the hair...

San Antonio Lawyer said...

Great post! I love it!