What not to wear this winter // Dress Code

winter crosswalk
Winter wants to kill your fashion sense. Don’t let it

By Raquiya Austin

On Tuesday December 5th, 2017


Winter is the most awkward season for legal fashion. On one hand, you have to dress warm enough to survive the cold — and the icy winds that gust through the streets of the financial district. At the same time, the temperature indoors is often hard to predict. In the office, the heater might be blaring, while the air in the courtroom is much cooler. And, of course, you still want to look good.

I know, that’s a lot to think about. So to keep things simple, here’s my four-step manual — for both men and women — on how to look good and stay warm from now until spring.

1. Layer like you just don’t care. This advice is as true now as it was when you were a kid and your parents told you to “layer up.” The reason is pretty obvious: throughout the day, you can adapt your outfit to fit the temperature. One way to layer is, of course, to wear a suit. But here are some other suggestions. For women, add some cardigans and long-sleeve sweaters to your wardrobe. For men, sports coats (and, for that matter, cardigans and sweaters) look great over a dress shirt.

2. Ditch the big puffy coat. I’m sorry to break the bad news, but this is a cringe-worthy fashion faux pas. When buying a winter coat for work, the classic look of a tailored wool overcoat or peacoat is still an excellent choice. If you want something trendy, pick up a “puffer” jacket — a slimmed-down, casual version of the bulky winter coat.

3. Kick your boots up a notch. Once winter touches down, don’t let the elements ruin your Italian-leather pumps or dress shoes. Keep those under your desk at the office and invest in a nice pair of boots. If you need a pair that will actually look good with your best work clothes, my favourite brand is Blondo. The Canadian company makes stylish, waterproof, leather boots for men and women.

4. Don’t be boring. In a profession as traditional as ours, it’s always tempting to play it safe when it comes to fashion. And in the winter, it’s even more tempting: mute tones and blasé suits seem to complement the cold, grey landscape. Resist that urge. Make fashion choices that cut against the weather outside your window. Ditch the dark grey and build an outfit with bright colours and textured fabrics. This is one small way to have some fun during the brutal winter season.

Raquiya Austin runs her own entertainment-law practice. She writes about style on her blog, Strictly Legal Fashionista, and for both Precedent and PrecedentJD.




Precedent Magazine winter issue 2017 coverThis story is from our Winter 2017 Issue.




Illustration by Alina Skyson