Lose your tie but think before you wear flip-flops – revealing new data on dress codes in law departments

You are what you wear, sort of. One of the quick polls taken by the Law.com website devoted to in-house counsel gives a glimpse of what those lawyers who responded wear. The poll asked “Does your office have a dress code?” With no pretense at statistical reliability, the data, as they say, is what it is.

By far the most common guideline is “Business casual” (53%), which doesn’t include jeans or t-shirts (or a woman’s equivalent). I’ll chip in that shorts are embargoed also and whether sneakers make the grade is doubtful. Old-school coats and ties, as in “Business formal” had 15%, whereas the compromise “Dressy casual” was almost as common (12%). Jackets may differentiate business casual from dressy casual (See my post of Oct. 22, 2005 on dress codes.).

The Silicon Valley look of “I wear flip-flops” (19%) suggests that anything goes. Well, perhaps not pierced lips, sleeve tattoos, micro-minis, muscle shirts and baseball caps. Even if business formal does not prevail, ties and jackets are likely to come out for important meetings.

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