I learned early in my career that a lawyer makes an impression by how he or she is dressed. In other words, your image matters. My first mentor taught me the importance of dressing as if you are successful. I have never forgotten his advice.

When I joined the firm, I came directly from the Air Force, so I did not have much of a wardrobe.

I remember showing up one day in my suit wearing loafers. My mentor, came right to the point. He said lawyers don’t wear loafers with a business suit. Before the day was over, I had purchased a pair of wingtip shoes.

A few years ago I read 10 Simple Secrets of the World’s Greatest Business Communicators by Carmine Gallo.

Simple Secret #9 is “Wear it Well.” One of Gallo’s main points in the chapter is that great communicators dress a little better than anyone else.

Gallo interviewed Barbara Corcoran, one of the sharks on the CNBC show Shark Tank.

If you watch the show you know that Corcoran created a very successful New York real estate firm.

She says:

I believe the best money spent is on things that create the image of success…perception creates reality. Donald Trump says: “The way we dress says a lot about us before we say a word.”

There are many books written about dressing for success both for men and women.

I don’t feel I am in a position to advise woman lawyers. While researching my novel, I’ve collected some of the incredibly stupid suggestions that have been made: Lawyers: Are You Confused About Appropriate Attire?  It’s probably worth reading that one again to understand the challenge women face.

Barbara Corcoran says she wears brighter colors to help her stand out in a man’s world, where the navy blue and charcoal gray suits are the norm.

blue tie

I do have thoughts for men.

  1. You need to have at least one very fine suit that is well tailored to fit you.
  2. I actually suggest you have a fine gray suit and blue suit.
  3. Wear tailored dress shirts. I think they are a good investment.
  4. Your tie is important. How about your ties? Have any of them gone out of style or lost their luster years ago. That is a mistake.
  5. Finally, I suggest you wear well shined tie shoes with suits. You would be surprised by how many people will judge you unfavorably simply because your shoes are not shined.