I’m baaaaaaaack…

Posted in Business Formal, Lawyering with tags , , , , , on April 25, 2011 by Jessica

So I’ve been an excessively recalcitrant blogger lately. My sincerest apologies. Work got crazy busy. And I took a (mini) vacation. And I lost my camera. And the dog ate my homework – I know. But now I’m back! I hope you all missed me.

Let’s mix things up a bit. I work in a business casual office (that is still currently in its month-long stint of casual wear). So it’s not often that I have reason to wear business formal. So I give you, ladies and gentlemen – a suit!

Every professional woman should have a favorite suit. I should say – not just a favorite suit – but one that makes you feel good, strong, and a total badass. This would be mine. I’m not sure what it is about this particular suit that makes me feel like a woman to be reckoned with, but I’m guessing it’s either the good, comfortable fit, the off-black color, or the subtle pinstripes.
And of course, the red shirt adds a little something extra to it. It’s not a shy color, to say the least. If you’re willing to wear a color like this, you have to be willing (or wanting) to have people take notice.

I wore this for one of my first court appearances. I do alot of mediations and courtcall hearings. Both are rather informal and relaxed. Mediation is, by its nature, an informal process and calling-in for a hearing just tends to feel less formal. For this particular set of hearings, I wanted to appear very classic and formal to help me feel and to remember to be more formal. Also, because this particular set of hearings was going to last most of the day and require me to run between multiple courtrooms, I knew I needed to be comfortable. So I went with my favorite suit and a classic button-front shirt in a bold color.

Now, it’s time for me to enter some billing and get ready for the craziness that’s to come this week (and watch some Law & Order while I’m doing the above). Nighty night!

Confusing business casual

Posted in Business Casual, Wear to Work with tags , , , , on April 12, 2011 by Jessica

Apologies for my lack of blogging this week. A few of my colleagues are taking vacation this week, so the rest of us get to pick up the slack (no complaining – I hope my colleagues will happily cover for me when I get to take some vacation time).

Anyway, I had to share this fascinating article from USA Today – “Business casual” causes confusion. Basically, the premise of the article is that business casual is a very fluid concept  and one that not everyone agrees on. Fair enough. Every office and dress code is different – different industries and different regions have different expectations as far as dress.
What I loved most about the article was the attitude of the article’s subject – a 24 year old woman working in public relations. She stated:

“Each generation seems to have a different idea of what is acceptable in the workplace, and in this situation I was highly offended,” says Cohen, who works at a marketing firm in Philadelphia. “I was actually not allowed to attend a meeting because my attire was deemed ‘inappropriate.’ People my age are taught to express themselves, and saying something negative about someone’s fashion is saying something negative about them.”

I’m just going to be honest here (because what is a blog for, but for expressing your honest opinions). This attitude annoys the crap out of me. Just because you and your generation have some idea of what’s appropriate, doesn’t mean it in fact is. And as a member of the same genereation I totally wouldn’t have found her outfit to be at all appropriate.

My message here is simple – if you wanna play with the big kids, you need to look like you fit in with the big kids. And that means dressing like the big kids. Obviously, by big kids I mean those in power such as the managing partners and executives. Just because you’re obeying the dress code doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself. I love feminine looks, bold colors, and funky accessories and I still incorporate those things into my daily workwear. And no one has ever or will ever tell me that I can’t attend a meeting or go to a hearing because I’m not dressed appropriately.

If you want to read a little more on this subject (and have a few laughs), I suggest you check out the Corporette open thread on the USA Today article – What NOT to Wear to the Office.

Not your typical lady who lunches

Posted in After Work, Business Casual with tags , , , on April 7, 2011 by Jessica

Part of being a successful professional, in my opinion, is getting involved in and giving back to the local community. And not just the community of whatever your chosen profession – but the local community as a whole. With this in mind, I decided I needed to get involved. And, truthfully, not just for the above reason, but also because I like and want to be involved in the community. I am very fortunate to be where I am in my life and to have had the success that I’ve had in this short time and it makes me want to give back to those less fortunate. So I started looking into what organizations I might be interested in. That’s when a friend suggested Junior League. So I went to an open house orientation meeting this week to check it out. This is what I wore:

With the silk blouse and delicate gold jewelry, I was going for a look that would allow me to fit somewhat into the idea of a typical Junior League member. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the month of casual – as is common with lawyers, there was some fine print to the offer. If there are clients visiting, we’re asked/required to wear business casual. Oh well. Though I suppose it’s not so bad as I probably wouldn’t have wanted to wear jeans to the JL meeting anyway.

Now, I know JL has a very particular reputation among the public as being made up of a sort of “ladies who lunch” crowd. Having sat in a room of prospective and current members, I will say that image isn’t entirely false. Yes, there were definitely some ladies who fit that mold very well. But there were also several young professional women there as well.

I will be the first to admit that I didn’t feel 100% comfortable in the crowd – many of the ladies reminded me of the sorority girls from college and people who grew up and live very differently from myself. But I’m going to go for it just the same. Many of the causes and organizations that the local JL support are ones that mean a great deal to me. From their literature, it’s not a small time commitment but I am excited to give it a try.

Going casual for a whole month? Ok…

Posted in Casual, Job, Wear to Work with tags , , , , on April 5, 2011 by Jessica

So in light of the tragedy that has occurred in Japan, my office decided to do something about. So they decided to do a fundraiser titled “Casual for Charity”. Basically, for a small donation individuals at the office can wear denim for the next month! Of course, I jumped on it. Who doesn’t like to wear denim as often as possible (and to keep down their dry cleaning bill)?

I find that dressing casually at the office presents its own particular set of problems. First, there is the ability to maintain an appearance of authority that is inherent in business attire. In order to do this, I plan to wear more structured tops than normal such as button-front shirts, more fitted/structured sweaters, and vests.

So for my first day of a month of casual, this is what I wore:

I think this particular outfit fits the bill pretty well. I like these jeans in particular for the what appears to be faux seams/pleats down the front of the lower leg. I honestly have no idea how these lines appeared down the front these jeans, but I rather like the look of them.
As for the vest – I spent some considerable time obsessing over finding a suiting-style vest that I liked. This is what I came up with. It’s not 100% what I wanted, but I do rather like it. As is very obvious, not all of the buttons can be button (though in my own defense I would point out that the bottom button-hole is not a real hole and is just for show). I am aware of the fact that an item such as this doesn’t… well… down-play certain assets of mine. However, I take the attitude that my, uh, assets are fairly obvious to the rest of the world. And it’s not like they’re hanging all out for the whole world to see. So trying to dress as if they don’t exist, or worse, that I might be embarrassed by them, is pretty much futile.

Now it’s time for dinner and a little de-compression after a busy day. Have a great evening, all!

Thoughts 7 weeks into my first job

Posted in About Me, Job, Lawyering with tags , , , on April 3, 2011 by Jessica

I’ll have been at my job a whole 7 weeks tomorrow. That’s 3 paychecks (with the 4th arriving Friday this week). That’s a sizable handful of hearings and trips to Ocala, Tallahassee, and Daytona Beach. That’s 35 days in the office and something along the lines of 280 hours actually in the office and 90 hours billed (cut me some slack, I’m new at this).

I’m starting to feel more confident with what I’m doing the more time that passes. It was only about 4 weeks ago that I was officially assigned my own caseload and expected to cover hearings. I find that the longer I am forced to actually practice, the more comfortable I become with it. That first leap into actual, real lawyering is a scary one – but making that leap is the only way to become comfortable with the job.

Don’t get me wrong – I still frequently have moments where I have absolutely no clue what is going on or what I should do. But I find those moments becoming fewer and farther between. I’m not longer walking into my supervisor’s office 12 times a day with questions – now I’m down to 3-4 times a day.

7 weeks into my first job I can say that I am happy and that I feel good about the caliber at which I am performing my job. There’s alot of I’ved learned and that I’m now comfortable with, but there is still much for me to learn and grow more accustomed to. All in all, I think this is going to be a good stretch.

Nighty night, readers!

Sometimes my job really doesn’t suck…

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , on April 1, 2011 by Jessica

It’s moments like this when I realize that my job is not in fact so horrible.

So the job has me trotting off to Daytona Beach today. Seeing as I was only scheduled to be there for one measly little mediation (which lasted nearly four hours tanks to opposing counsel getting stuck in tie-up in I-95 and difficulties getting my client on the phone) and by the time the mediation was done I wouldn’t be able to to get back to the office before end of business, it just didn’t seem right to leav Daytona Beach without seeing the actual beach.

Moral of the story: It’s okay to take a little personal time during a business trip. Particularly when doing so won’t affect your ability to do said business.
And while it would have been quite the sight to see me walking down the beach in a suit, I came prepared for such an opportunity. I packed jeans and flats to change into.

Now I’m back home after having sat through the most ridiculous rush hour traffic in Orlando, dropped off the rental car (for the record, the Nissan Cube wins the award for Ugliest Car I’ve Ever Driven), and stopped into the office to report the results of the mediation. I’m beyond exhausted. Nighty night.

Slightly school girlish?

Posted in Business Casual, Wear to Work with tags , , , , on March 29, 2011 by Jessica

I put together today’s outfit on something of a whim. The skirt I’ve had for a while but, due to how my closet is organized, I haven’t worn it more than once or twice. I wanted to wear a skirt and I wanted to mix things up a bit. So this is what I came up with:

As the day went on, I couldn’t help feeling that the outfit looked slightly… school girl-ish. I’m not sure what it is about the outfit – the color of the shirt, the cardigan, or the texture of the skirt. Though at the end of the day I was pretty satisfied with the overall look. It’s feminine, has a little bit of texture, and still completely appropriate for my position and the office environment.

Also I’d like to point out this necklace which is a favorite of mine:

I know many people have strong feelings about religious jewelry at the office, but I have a hard time seeing this necklace as particularly offensive. I bought this from a seller on Etsy who unfortunately no longer has an active store (and if you’re unfamiliar with Etsy, I highly recommend you check it out). I love the slightly antiqued look of it and its uniqueness.

Anyway, it’s time for me to settle in for the night and get some rest. Nighty night all!