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Paralegal Career Dressing: When a Travel Capsule Wardrobe Doesn’t Cut It

Paralegal Career Dressing: When a Travel Capsule Wardrobe Doesn’t Cut It

As incoming Vice-Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Paralegal Division, I got to spend a very enjoyable weekend in beautiful Wilmington, North Carolina. This will be a mostly pictorial post just to show you what I wore at a function where the majority of attendees were lawyers. In the interest of complete and total transparency, these are not the only outfits I wore, which is unusual, because I pack lightly (except for accessories) and hate changing clothes, unless it’s into my pjs.

Our state’s weather had been so lovely and mild, I packed a small travel capsule wardrobe to mix and match and handle all occasions. Hah. The weather turned on me, and the air became 95% warm water. A well-prepared paralegal, at least one that ventured beyond the air-conditioned hotel confines, needed about three outfits a day. I will explain how I partially resolved this below.

Thursday Travel to Convention

If you ride for four hours in a car, just in time to get to your first Board of Governors meeting, you need a no-wrinkle dress. It was about an hour into the trip before I realized this dress was a bit low-cut for work, and I needed a cami under it. Too late.

Thank the Gods of Career Style that that the hotel was freezing, and I had a turquoise cardigan handy to button up to my neck. Cleavage problem fixed.

Laundry by Design dress ~ Steinmart uber-clearance about $11
Every gold-colored bracelet I own
Key pendant ~ TJ Maxx a couple of years ago

For those of you who wonder why I wear so many nude heels, I’m short. Nude heels make shorties’ legs look longer, and I like faking being taller than I am.

Meeting Friends at the Convention

Remember I don’t own any shorts. This will be important later. For now, just know I think skinny jeans suit every occasion, and sometimes I cuff or roll them in warmer weather. They were perfect for walking down the riverside to Convention Central for coffee and companionship.

Or just sitting.

Tee ~ Loft Outlet
Cuff bracelet ~ Jada’s Jewels
Chain necklace ~ Burlington Coat factory years ago (but still cool enough that The Teens borrow it)

As for hairstyling, I tried to anticipate what I knew the breeze from the river would do to my wild, uncontrollable hair, and started every day with wild hair artfully uncontrolled with gel.

When I got to Convention Central Friday 7:30 ish a.m., someone tried to hand me a raffle ticket. I didn’t want a raffle ticket. I wanted coffee, but accepted it so the nice lady with the raffle ticket basket would stop blocking the way to the coffee machine. As I stood there groggily waiting for coffee, the first drawing started, and I had just enough wits about me to realize I’d won a free two-night stay at the gorgeous Riverside Hilton. Woo hoo, another teen free weekend to anticipate.

Later in the day, I told my husband I was going for a walk (he had work to do for his online classes), but only got about a block and a half up the road to A Second Time Around, a terrific vintage and consignment shop in downtown Wilmington. Between the $2 racks, and the 75% off rack, I ended up staying there for about two and a half hours, and had so much fun talking to the talented sales associates, they started showing me stuff from the “secret stash”. You have to follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook to see some of the awesome shiny stuff I tried on. But I have one style blogger teaser for you: zebra pants. (Which I blame on Tara and her zebra scarf at Mix and Match Fashion.)

Turned out the real score was a skirt. Remember I don’t wear shorts? By the time I got back to the hotel, I was dripping wet with lady-like perspiration sweat, and panicked. I had insufficient clothes. Wait, what was I carrying in my hands? Scads of $2-$6 clothes. Pre-washing suddenly seemed sort of pointless since they were just going to soak up my lady like perspiration sweat when I went back outside.

Did I mention the high winds breeze?

Shell ~ Loft super-sale
Talbots skirt ~ thrifted (and luckily matched all the shirts I packed)
Wide belt ~ Ross dress for less
Wide beaded bracelet ~ thrifted
Flip-flops ~ a dollar at a beach store last year and they died on this trip


I knew there would be very few legal staffers at the gala celebrating the swearing in of the new NCBA president, R. Michael Wells, Sr., other than maybe two other paralegals and the terrific NCBA staffers that make the organization’s events run so smoothly, so I was real a little concerned about what to wear to a BTO/B (Black Tie Optional or Business Wear) event.  I’m not in the budget range for A GOWN.

So when I found this David Meister “people” dress 40% marked down at one of my fave consignment shops in downtown Winston-Salem, Yours Truly, I jumped for joy. Literally. This dress is incredible, with a full slip, and separate built-in corset with boning (I know these things from The Costume Technician). Once you have this dress on, nothing moves or droops, good news for women kissing 50.

David Meister dress ~ thrifted Yours Truly
Breva ice blue pumps ~ John Fluevog
UK French Connection earrings ~ Sears $2.12 (nope, that is not a typo)
Bracelet cuff ~ Jada’s Jewels

Sorry the picture quality isn’t the best; no way was I chancing the hair, such as it was, on the river breeze and incoming rain. (An add-on flash is on this paralegal’s camera wish list. Also, this is my entry for Not Yet Dead Style’s Visible Monday.)

Y’all, I felt like Cinda-fucking-rella (Pretty Woman, peeps) in this dress, even the part where we got to ride in a golf cart over to the Wilmington Convention Center.

I tried to get a close-up of the fox ring (I had my hand grabbed to see it), and the cool people partying on the dress.

Sunday Board of Governers Meeting for 2012-2013 

I had some business to take care of, an employer not to embarrass, and didn’t think my new zebra pants were quite the thing (plus they have to be altered). I defaulted to the Loft Outlet dress I’d planned to wear; I can usually acquire them in the $15-$20 range, and they generally suit my boyish figure, career-dressing requirements, and my small budget.

Dress ~ Loft Outlet
Wide Belt ~ Ross 
Bracelet cuff – Jada’s Jewels (you’re probably beginning to see a theme here)
MMD button flower ~ Megan Mae Daily

I also managed to grab another photo of the three paralegal amigos at the BOG meeting (pardon the blur due to low light and peeps racing out to start their drives home at the close of business): (from right to left) Karen Mendorf, the incoming Chair of the NCBA Paralegal Division; Stephanie Crosby, a past PD Chair, this year’s Distinguished Paralegal Award winner, and co-chair of the 4ALL Committee (a first for a non-lawyer member), and me.

So, do you own a dress that makes you feel like Cinda-fucking-rella when you wear it? (If enough of you say “yes”, Practical Paralegalism will host its very first virtual style blogger Cinda-fucking-rella party, and invite you to submit a picture of you in that dress 🙂

Color Blocking | Everybody, Everywear

18 Responses to Paralegal Career Dressing: When a Travel Capsule Wardrobe Doesn’t Cut It

  1. Wow, what a fabulous travel/style adventure. Your "people" dress is too cool. I almost always scoop up some thrifty stuff when I travel, but nothing as fab as that dress : >

    P.S. I think Benedict would really like it!

  2. You look amazing in that dress, Lynne! Holy crap!

    Yes, I have a Cinda-fuckin'-rella dress. It's a Betsey Johnson and it's freakin' gorgeous.

  3. So many things I want to "OMG" in this post. I especially love the second outfit's colors and shapes. AND OMG THAT DRESSS. It's incredible. I can see why it makes you feel like a million bucks.

    You've seen me in my Cinda-fucking-rella dress, but either the green CMV or my black All Saints dress qualifies for making me feel like a million bucks. Probably because the Carmen Marc Valvo dress did retail up in the hundreds of dollas. Cost me? $6.

    Congrats on your raffle win! Everyone is better at raffles than me. I've never ever won anything from them, but my high school bff has won almost every single raffle item he's wanted. #jealousmaybe Including signed band tees, internet raffles, and more. Hope you enjoy your getaway!

  4. I don't even know where to start on the epic-ness of all of these outfits!! I think the people dress is my favorite, it's so much fun and it's a great silhouette on you!

    My Cinda-fuckin-rella dress is a simple brown one that my hubby bought me from VS – but it fits so nicely and I get so many compliments that even if it's simple it makes me feel like a total princess!

  5. I love the Gala dress. It is so unique.

    Going to have to try a travel capsule. I always overpack and only wear half of what I brought.

  6. Way to go with this colour and pattern capsule. I'm planning to do the same next week! (ps. you are making it hard to comment here: this is already my 3rd attempt after trying to fill in those capchas…..)

  7. Way to go with this colour and pattern capsule. I'm planning to do the same next week! (ps. you are making it hard to comment here: this is already my 4th attempt after trying to fill in those capchas…..)

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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