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Paralegal Career Dressing: All Buttoned Up Day 1

Paralegal Career Dressing: All Buttoned Up Day 1

I know that some of my readers work in offices with very strict dress codes and rules for every day showing up to work, including but not limited to (fancy legal talk):

  • No toes showing
  • No knees showing
  • No sleeveless arms showing
  • No tattoos or piercings showing, except maybe one hole in each in earlobe, and they’d rather not see those
  • No pink, purple, or blue hair showing (even if it’s your hairdresser’s fault)
  • No denim showing
  • Pantyhose better be showing
Working in a bit of a more relaxed environment, albeit a law firm, I decided to show solidarity with my less fortunate sisters in the working world, and do an All Buttoned Up Week, trying to comply with the basic conservative office rules with my mostly thrifted wardrobe. Well, at least through Thursday. Although I suspect my knees might show some ’cause I’m a really short rebel, and I’m not wearing pantyhose in July unless I receive a Court Order.
H&M dress ~ thrifted at A Second Time Around Wilmington, NC
Tarhari tee ~ probably Marshalls, another old workhorse
Colin Stuart heels ~ thrifted last year at Etc in Winston-Salem, NC
Skinny belt ~ 2 for $7.50 at Rue 21
MMD button flower pinned to belt ~ Megan Mae Daily
Initial D necklace ~ Key of A
Bangles ~ Loft, ShoeDazzle
I thrifted this H&M dress on my most recent business trip, and while it made a great cocktail dress, I realized that it wasn’t going to work without a cami or tee underneath. I was glad to let another one of my black Tahari tees get a taste of freedom. (“How many black Tahari tees do you own?,” you ask. If you count gray, um, a lot. Like, I could’ve totally been a Professional Mourner.)
I also enjoyed wearing my antique typewriter key necklace made by Anne of Key of A, who is also a legal secretary, and one of my MMD button flowers. Megan is doing a button flower giveaway right now, so you should check it out. She’s giving away three, but I think every woman needs at least ten.
And I’m participating in Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday, a weekly celebration for style bloggers of all ages, but especially those of a certain age who are proving women don’t become invisible as they get older. Instead, they get more beautiful, wiser and cooler, plus they’ve learned from all the style mistakes they made when they were whippersnappers. Or they’re breaking all the old style “rules” for some incredibly awesome results. You pick.
Speaking of invisibility and being a certain age, I got my hair did on Saturday. Mostly I color it at home, not because I mind it being gray,which it’s not except for the occasional bright white antenna, but because I’m really a ginger head trapped in a mousy brown head’s body. I was really surprised when my long-time stylist said, “Let’s do your eyebrows, too” and then slapped on the highlighting color she was using while my mouth was still hanging open. 
The Teen clearly got all the style blogger moves in the family. She’s wearing a Perry the Platypus tee I’ve hoped she’d outgrow and give to me for years, and skinnies from Forever 21.
Oh, man, why didn’t someone tell me you could color your eyebrows, like, years ago? Mine have always had lots of blonde and defied all brow-grooming cosmetics. If I use pencils or powders, they look fake and drawn on. But not any more. They are just right, and oddly, I feel younger-looking. While I’ll never inject anything into my face, or go under the knife, I am totally all for eyebrow-dyeing. 
Does your work dress code prohibit anything not already on the above list?

18 Responses to Paralegal Career Dressing: All Buttoned Up Day 1

  1. My work is great for allowing me to wear pretty much what I want. Today, I'm:
    – showing toes
    – not wearing nylons!
    – showing my tattoo

    I don't usually show so much of my tattoo at work (you'll see), but I'm done up to the neck in front, so it's a little fun in the back that clients wouldn't notice unless I had my back to them.

    I am very conscious of the image I project as the "front woman" on Reception, so I make sure I'm always dressed appropriately.

  2. Beautiful dress, nicely styled. I'm surprised you never thought of dying your eyebrows.

    On the list of things I can't wear to work: dresses, skirts, tops, heels, pantyhose, jewelry…

  3. Hm, I wondering if I need to do something with my brows. I like what your stylist did.

    About the only thing that's off limits in my workplace would be shorts…but I'm seeing lots of bloggers writing today about shorts and heels in the office?

  4. So many people have tattoos these days I can't believe that offices still expect people to keep their ink covered. Soon there will be no one left to hire.

    I like how you've given the dress an empire waist by using that belt. Very cool.

    And I agree! 10 button flowers is the least amount that people should have!

  5. I worked in places where we were supposed to wear pantyhose but I never did in the summer. I was hoping someone would comment so I could go be like "Don't fucking look at my legs so closely" but I never got the opportunity.

  6. Fabulous layering, but what's blowing me away are those shooooes. OMG those are killa!

    Also your hair looks great – and so do your brows. Also that's it – I'm totally doing mine the next time I henna. I've wanted to do it so many times but chicken out because I'm afraid it will look weird.. but my brows look so much better defined.

    My personal dresscode is no sweatpants. ;P

  7. I love your new haircut! I also really like the way you had been styling it recently with the "beachy" waves. Seems like our hair is somewhat similar in texture and since I've recently gotten a bob (that I'm less than thrilled with) after having long hair forever I'm curious what tools you use to style it that way.

    Good luck with the "conservative office dress" this week! Fortunately, I work at a very small law firm where we have a lot of freedom in what we wear (although some people still take it too far).

  8. I can't touch your dress code — at my clinic, it's pretty much "don't be naked." : > I love your H & M dress and the MMD buttonflower accent. And the eyebrows! Fabulous! Thanks for linking up.

  9. Ooooo you are BRAAAAVE. I don't think I could go back to buttoned up after being spoiled with a lax dress code for so long. I do love this dress though and your eyebrows look fab! I never knew this could be done either and I have the same issue. How do I have blonde eyebrows and brown hair? I don't have any idea.

  10. Love the colors and pattern of this dress.
    I work in an office that is fairly relaxed on it's dress code….just as long as I look somewhat put together…which is one of the many things I love about this job. Can't imagine being required to wear pantyhose with every dress or skirt…even in summer. Yuk.

  11. Ooh, I love the colour of your hair (and now also your eyebrows, hehe!)
    Pretty dress too.
    As a non-paid-worker (I refuse to say I don't work or use the SAHM label!) I have no dress code other than the limits of my imagination and daring! I look back at what I wore to work in the past with regret at the dullness of it, I'm afraid, but I appreciate that's the reality for lots of people. You've done a great job of wearing something with colour and print and lovely accessories, while still looking professional and adhering to those pesky rules.
    And your daughter looks fabulous, she's got moves! xxxxx

  12. Wow your hair looks did and done Lynne – absolutely gorgeous!!! I love how you keep to the code (so you get paid!) but add really gorgeous details like the brooch and initial pendant – ooh and I see a wee anklet there too! xoxo

  13. This is a great look! It is definitely office appropriate but still so very chic!! Love the colors too. I agree that every woman should have 10 MMD flowers if not more (just got a bunch of new ones myself!)
    I don't believe my office prohibits anything else not on your list. I do think I push buttons a little bit with my work wardrobe, but not too bad.

  14. Pretty dress! Your hair looks great too.

    My office is on the conservative side. In addition to some of the taboos you list, they prefer us to wear shirts with collars and discrete jewelry. I was given a talking-to over some big dangly earrings. They were pearls, but even so, they were too big and too fun for my office. *sigh*

    I'm a rebel though. I'll wear the pantyhose and closed toe shoes and shirts with collars and sleeves, but I'm going to keep the big earrings on days we don't have clients here. I need something fun in the mix!

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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