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Paralegal Career Dressing: All Buttoned Up Day 2

Paralegal Career Dressing: All Buttoned Up Day 2

I got up this morning, and tried to do the simplest of the conservative office ensembles, a button front shirt with a collar (and a tie!), a longer, not too clingy pencil skirt, and low pumps. But I couldn’t quite toe the uptight office party line, as you’ll soon see. Dang it, maybe I’ll get it right tomorrow. Nah. Do you guys know how long it took me to paint my nails this weekend? I am never taking this polish off.

Also, I really appreciate your thoughtful comments and questions in response to Monday’s “All Buttoned Up Day 1” post. I thought it would be fun to highlight a few of your mean employers rather strict office fashion dictates, high five a few of you gettin’ away with dress code murder, and answer a question or two.

I call this one, “Lawsie, I tried.”
Ideology bow tie blouse ~ $2 thrifted! Thanks, Megathrift.
Loft pencil skirt ~ I dunno when purchased, I just always have a black Loft pencil skirt on hand
Breva ice blue pumps ~ John Fluevog
Big gaudy stretch ring (whoops) ~ Forever 21
Two bangle watches (whoops) ~ Steinmart, Jewel Box
Big dangly earrings (whoops) ~ Boutique in Chapel Hill, NC
Two colors nail polish (whoops) ~ Revlon FrenchMix nail polish duo
Onyx magnet on bow tie (to prevent whoops) ~ Fasheners

The lovely and thoughtful Terri at Rags against the Machine said the only garment off limits in her workplace is shorts, but she’s seeing bloggers writing about wearing shorts and heels to the office. Me, too, Terri, but if I wear shorts and heels to the office, I’d better be carrying a cardboard box to clean my personal items off my desk.

Super cool and modern Megan of The Fashionable Bureaucrat pointed out that so many peeps have ink these days, it’ll soon be hard to find anyone to hire if employers require tattoos to be covered up. The always gorgeous Sheila of Ephemera confessed the blouse she wore yesterday did show her tattoo – from the back. I’ll confess I never wanted a tattoo until some time last fall (at age 48, a baby!) when I became obsessed with the idea. Yep, still obsessed.

We’re so busy at work I did not have time to go outside for an outfit pic, but mixed things up with a different office.

Wendy Brandes, genius jewelry designer and chic New York chick, rebelled against dress codes requiring pantyhose in the summer, and was dying to get called down for it, but you’ll have to read her comment to see why.

Reader Valerie, a legal staffer in a relaxed small law firm, said she liked my recent wavy hairstyles, and asked what tool I used. One that a monkey can make loose curls with, I promise. Last year I stumbled upon the only curling tool I can use without ripping out half of my hair and burning myself repeatedly in the process, The Infiniti You Curl by Conair. No clamp, no danger of getting stuck in, or lighting the pile o’ straw that has always been my hair.

Whoops. But c’mon, I need some keyboarding entertainment.

Beautiful Patti of Not Yet Dead Style has the best dress code evah at work: “Don’t be naked.”

Curtise, the creative and sexy thrifter behind The Secondhand Years, looks back upon her former work wardrobe “with regret at the dullness of it.” Don’t I know it. Last week I found a picture of me with a client, taken about six years ago. I am wearing black elastic-waisted stretch pants (Grandma called…) and a matching black v-necked sweater – with what looks like orthopedic lace up shoes sprayed black. Yeah, I thought about shredding the evidence, but I love the client so much!

Finally, Amy, whose blog Uncommon Threads I just discovered due to her comment, got schooled over wearing “big dangly earrings,” actually pearls, to work. Aw, man, big virtual hug. That’s just wrong.

Should I get a tattoo? Yes or no? Wait, that is so sixth grade. Have you ever been called out for something you were wearing at the office?

17 Responses to Paralegal Career Dressing: All Buttoned Up Day 2

  1. It may be conservative, but this look works for a reason. I think you still pushed the boundaries with your nails, jewelry (love the double watches!) and your amazing Fluevogs.

    Your hair is really looking fabulous these days.

    You should get a tattoo if you want one! I still want one, but I'm waiting. I want to make sure I really want it, and be sure of the design, and be able to afford it.

  2. My next tattoo is scheduled for early August… hee, watch out, once you get one, you'll want another!

    I love this outfit on you! So, so cool and breezy and yet, very proper.

    Thank you for the shout-out!

  3. Wow this is such a beautiful outfit- I am swooning over those heels and your lovely painted nails! I can get away with wearing a lot to work since I work alone (except when I know I have clients scheduled, then I dress for success!) Plus there is no a/c in my office so sleeveless and shorts it is!

  4. I love Wendy's comment about the hose! It made me think of another faux pas in my workplace. All faculty have to walk in cap & gowns through graduation each year. In the past 5 years or so, younger faculty often wear flip-flops and that is painful to me, although there is no "rule" against it.

    I must be the only untattoed person on the planet left. Youngest daughter married a very successful tattoo artist…

  5. I can't say I've been called out for a fashion blunder at work because other than in a bank my office days are few. I did get kicked out of medical assistant school one night because I had two black stripes on my tennis shoes. I was trying to have a little individuality even in my scrubs! Didn't work out so well.

  6. No bare arms? No knees showing? What, are we living in the Dark Ages? (Sorry, I'm just catching up with my reading.) I think there's no way you could stuff your effervescent personality into a pair of pantyhose, even if were wearing them. Your personality violates every button-up rule of the Conservative Code. Better luck with your dulling-down next time…or not!

  7. I love this outfit and the "whoops-es" are the juicy parts! Hey Terri – there's two of us un-inked, but I have a craving for a small discreet one : >

    Your hair is fantastic – if I were into comparing (I'm over it!!) I'd be so wanting your hair right now : >

  8. First of all, I'm so glad I found your blog. I love the paralegal gifts and can't wait to get our paralegal an awesome mug. That being said, we just had one of those infamous staff meetings where we got the "talk" about dress code. It was very confusing as no one has really seen any violations. Apparentely, one complaining attorney (complains about everything) saw someone in flip flops and/or tennis shoes (of course they were coming/going from/to lunch) and complained. We were told that, while we don't have to wear suits, we were too casual for business casual and that flip flops/tennis shoes were only acceptable if your coming/going from/to lunch/home. Talk about riduculous. I'm thinking of wearing some bunny slippers since they are not forbidden by our dress code!

  9. I've been called out for my tattoo (wrist) though it wasn't too harsh a criticism. I had to remind them that I have never tried to hide it (not even for my interview) and when it has taken months to be noticed, it clearly can't be that big a deal.

    For what it's worth – get a tattoo! I love knowing that I have a daily reminder of something very dear to me.

  10. I totally want a tattoo at some point. And I think you should get one if you want one. Age is nothing.

    I love your nails. I do not have that kind of patience to do mine like that!

    And I got called out for wearing capri pants one – they were dressy, but apparently not allowed at the time. Now I can wear them without a problem. And I told a story on my blog awhile back about how I got called out for the way I dressed when I used to work as a youth minister – but that my boss was totally on my side!

  11. Well you look smart and chic, but the little moments of rebellion are the real stars of the outfit!
    I got a tattoo when I was 30 and really wanted more, just never got round to it. I'm 48 – what do you say, I get a second one, and you get your first? Deal?! xxx

  12. I am totally in love with this look. You really did well to buy that blouse, and a pencil skirt? You can never go wrong with a pencil skirt for office wear. I wouldn't take that nail polish off either. LOL It rocks! I think I bought two or three bottles of blue polish this year and it's fun.

  13. Pretty outfit! I love blouses with bows.

    Why not try out temporary tattoos for fun? You could change them to suit your mood. A google search reassured me that there are some suitable for grown-ups…they're not all Hello Kitty and Batman ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Thanks for responding about your hair styling tool. Funny thing is–I actually own it! While I've been successful at burning my fingers using it, I haven't been so successful in actually getting it to do what I want it to do. Guess I need to try again!

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, workersโ€™ compensation, and Social Security disability.

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

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