How a great outfit can help you stand out at this summer’s law-firm open houses

By: May 17, 2017

“Dress with intention and use your outfit to your advantage”

woman in pink coat

School’s out and warmer days have arrived, which means law firms are gearing up for their summer open houses. Students are eager, but also anxious. You’re probably thinking: What do I do? What do I say? And gosh, what do I wear?  Trust me, I’ve been in your shoes.

First of all, remember that lawyers meeting you for the first time will assess you, at least in part, on what you’re wearing. So dress with intention and use your outfit to your advantage.

A well-assembled outfit can be a great way to break the ice at formal events. For example, if you wear a bold necklace to an event, a firm representative may well approach you and say, “That’s a pretty necklace.” Then, in response, you can say, “Thank you! I love statement jewellery. I purchased this piece from my favourite online store. You should check them out. By the way, my name is Raquiya.” Just like that, you’ve made yourself a new connection.

So how can you build an outfit that can serve as a conversation starter at your next networking event? Here are my four tips:

1. Be bold and wear colour

Dare to be different by adding a pop of colour to your outfit. This will make you stand out instantly in the room. Different colours also elicit different emotional responses in people. Donning a blue jacket, for example, signals warmth and honesty.

2. Go for patterns  

If you’re not a fan of colour, opt for patterns or textured fabrics. I often wear a great denim suit to networking events. It’s cut in a classic, slim-fit style, and made with a textured denim-blue fabric. It’s a definite conversation starter. When I wear it to events, I get to show off my personality in a way that “suits” me (pun intended). But its classic cut sends the message that I’m also a professional.

3. Add accessories

Accessories can instantly add flair to an ordinary outfit. For women, I recommend topping off an outfit with a chunky necklace or a ring. For men, try adding a patterned tie, tie clip, patterned socks or cufflinks. These small additions can make a big impact to your overall presentation. But beware of overdoing it: stay appropriate for the occasion.

4. Choose statement shoes

Lastly, a great shoe is the cherry on top of any outfit.  (This tip is, admittedly, geared toward the female audience — sorry guys!) If you opt for a more understated outfit, I recommend choosing a shoe that has some visual interest, either because it’s colourful or decorative. But always make sure it’s comfortable.

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