Lawyer who told trainees never to wear brown shoes with a navy suit faces backlash

Danielle Fowler
Freelance Writer
A lawyer has advised against trainees wearing navy suits with brown brogues [Photo: Getty]

An anonymous lawyer has sparked a debate over office dress code after advising trainees never to wear brown shoes with a blue suit.

The unnamed speaker gave the surprising sartorial advice at the ‘Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law’ conference in London last week, according to legal affairs journalist Catherine Baksi.

The comments were reportedly made by a partner “at a top international law firm” who was advising “unsuitably dressed trainees”.

But the suggestion was met with uproar on social media.

READ MORE: Is business dress code outdated?

“Sounds like lack in sense or fashion; or quite possibly both,” one wrote. “People should wear what they want. The partner should get out of others’ wardrobes, or just get out more. People see an expert for his/her expertise, not for their dress sense.”

Another agreed, adding [sic]: “Men get few enough options on what to wear and now it turns out there are intricate colour rules?”

Is the sartorial rule outdated? [Photo: Getty]

“It’s not like they’re wearing green suits with red socks here. They only get about four suit colour options anyway and in a given decade two will be out of fashion.”

One lawyer, Mark Stephens, simply responded to the tweet with a photograph of his navy suit and brown brogue get-up.

One industry expert took to the post to emphasise that sometimes it’s best to stand out in the competitive market.

“Here’s some advice from someone who chooses between large international law firms,” he wrote. “Stop all dressing the same. You look like boring automatons. We don’t want drones, we want people.”

Though it’s not the first time business dress code has proven divisive.

READ MORE: Should women be forced to wear a bra to work?

In March, top US bank Goldman Sachs announced that it was relaxing its strict uniform policy to create a more approachable workplace.

The announcement read: “More clients are dressing informally, and many parts of our company are already business casual. If you’re seeing a client you should dress for that client.”

What do you think?

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