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Fashion tips for incoming trainees and vac schemers watch

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    It's that time of the year when the horde of students and graduates descends in earnest upon the City to prove their worth in search of legal glory

    I was wondering as to what sort of dress tips you'd give to someone in this position... Any colours/combos to go for or avoid beyond the typical 'no brown shoes' rule? Anything that has stood out to you in the past as being manifestly unsuitable? Any tips for sexing oneself up while still looking professional?

    Would love to hear your thoughts
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    Any thoughts on three-piece suits? I always see fellow students sporting waistcoats at assessment centres, but are they a bit much?
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    Might as well tag our resident experts

    J-SP
    Perseverance
    jacketpotato
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    (Original post by JohanGRK)
    Any tips for sexing oneself up while still looking professional?
    Don't. Be unremarkable.

    Smart, dark suit, white or possibly solid blue shirt, black Oxfords.

    If you must 'express yourself', buy an interesting pair of cufflinks. But not too interesting.

    (Original post by NotQuiteMikeRoss)
    Any thoughts on three-piece suits? I always see fellow students sporting waistcoats at assessment centres, but are they a bit much?
    Personally I like three pieces and wear them a lot, but I'd probably stay with two pieces until you at least have your TC. It's not impossible that some people will see it as an affectation at the application stage.

    Again, the aim of the game is presentable, smart, sleek, but not memorable for any other reason.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    Don't. Be unremarkable.

    Smart, dark suit, white or possibly solid blue shirt, black Oxfords.

    If you must 'express yourself', buy an interesting pair of cufflinks. But not too interesting.
    What's your view on light pink shirts? (coupled with e.g. a charcoal grey suit and black shoes)

    Tbf I'm nicking all my cufflinks from my dad so I don't get much say in the matter :/ But it's good to hear that it's alright to wear them
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    (Original post by NotQuiteMikeRoss)
    Any thoughts on three-piece suits? I always see fellow students sporting waistcoats at assessment centres, but are they a bit much?
    Lol I've never seen anyone in a 3-piece ... except from a guy at the HSF AC. But he was a BCL grad who I suspect was only applying for TCs as a backup, so I can excuse him for bringing his barrister fashion into the solicitor world
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    If ever in doubt, don’t wear it.

    Get around your firm’s dress code - some are much more informal than others. Take your direction from the people around you in your department.

    Things have changed a fair amount since I started in city law firms - it has become more relaxed, although it’s one of those things that everyone has an opinion on. It’s probably easiest to play it safe until you have your TC just in case your supervisor/ head of department is one of the particular ones.

    Things that typically stood out as not being a good idea:

    Guys: crazy patterned ties or socks, scruffy hair/facial hair

    Girls: anything too short or too low, very heavy make up or bodycon dresses

    Basically let your work/attitude do the the talking, no your dress sense.

    I’m pretty laid back on these things though and always too close to the mark on dress code stuff personally, so probably not the best person to advise 😂
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    (Original post by JohanGRK)
    What's your view on light pink shirts? (coupled with e.g. a charcoal grey suit and black shoes)

    Tbf I'm nicking all my cufflinks from my dad so I don't get much say in the matter :/ But it's good to hear that it's alright to wear them
    I mean I doubt it would be a big issue but it might attract comment, which, not to labour the point, you don't want. There's really no reason to take the risk that someone involved in the application process might think that you think a bit much of yourself.

    Yeah I think double cuffs are seen as just a normal part of professional attire. I personally think single cuffs look a bit on the informal side, but that's probably just me and I'm sure either way would be fine, especially as a vac scheme/ TC applicant.

    You can also pick your watch. So, with cufflinks, that's two things you can work with. Although you'll still want to keep that pretty restrained.
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    (Original post by JohanGRK)
    Lol I've never seen anyone in a 3-piece ... except from a guy at the HSF AC. But he was a BCL grad who I suspect was only applying for TCs as a backup, so I can excuse him for bringing his barrister fashion into the solicitor world
    Really? At a recent AC in Manchester there were 3 guys with 3-piece suits on! I've also been advised to avoid black due to its seriousness and association with funerals - not sure what to make of that...
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    (Original post by NotQuiteMikeRoss)
    I've also been advised to avoid black due to its seriousness and association with funerals - not sure what to make of that...
    That one is good advice. Navy and charcoal are the steady choices.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    That one is good advice. Navy and charcoal are the steady choices.
    Yeah, I have one of each. I have the waistcoats to match, but never thought them appropriate for ACs or VSs - seems weird to me to dress better than the people interviewing me.
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    It’s really weird the things that women can get away with. The whole colour of suit thing doesn’t really apply to women in the same way.

    If anything women have it much easier on these things.
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    For men I'd just stick to a grey or navy 2-piece suit with an ironed shirt and polished shoes. For women wear the equivalent.

    Don't wear a shiny suit, you don't want to look like a trainee car salesman.

    Avoid overly skinny ties. A lot of trainees/vac schemers do this. I see skinny ties as fashion wear, stick to regular ties.

    I would steer clear of 3 piece suits on a vac scheme. Very few people wear 3 piece suits these days. I'd say in the office it is a slightly eccentric look, 3 pieces do look really good on some people but I'd steer clear on a vac scheme.
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    (Original post by NotQuiteMikeRoss)
    Really? At a recent AC in Manchester there were 3 guys with 3-piece suits on! I've also been advised to avoid black due to its seriousness and association with funerals - not sure what to make of that...
    Wow - okay

    Yeah, I've heard the same thing about black suits. I think that they're still popular at the Bar (seen plenty of commercial barristers with 3-piece pinstriped black suits), but I've never seen one at a law firm. I guess that that tells you all you need to know...
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    What's the deal with ties? Are paisley ties acceptable?
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    (Original post by Lil_Jatt)
    What's the deal with ties? Are paisley ties acceptable?
    Yes, I think they are fine.
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    What about beards? Are they acceptable for trainees/vac schemers? Mine is short and trimmed regularly. Like this: https://www.menshairstylestoday.com/...es-For-Men.jpg
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    A few years ago, beards were a no-no. These days they seem to be coming back in fashion in a big way.

    You don't see many partners or older lawyers rocking beards, but a lot of the younger and mid ranking associates are rocking beards or stubble.

    I think you can get away with a beard so long as it is neat and well groomed. But if in doubt shave it off.
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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    A few years ago, beards were a no-no. These days they seem to be coming back in fashion in a big way.

    You don't see many partners or older lawyers rocking beards, but a lot of the younger and mid ranking associates are rocking beards or stubble.

    I think you can get away with a beard so long as it is neat and well groomed. But if in doubt shave it off.
    This is quite an interesting point actually. I have always wondered on what the stance is with facial hair in general. I can understand that scruffy facial hair gives a poor impression - but would you say ANY facial hair would put someone at a dis-advantage? With law firms getting so many applications can something as small as this be enough to get a PFO?
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    (Original post by Equitable)
    This is quite an interesting point actually. I have always wondered on what the stance is with facial hair in general. I can understand that scruffy facial hair gives a poor impression - but would you say ANY facial hair would put someone at a dis-advantage? With law firms getting so many applications can something as small as this be enough to get a PFO?
    No. 1) things have changed even in recent years and 2) in many cases there are cultural reasons for facial hair and diversity issues alone have made people be a lot mor open minded to these things.

    Plus you wouldn’t know at an application stage whether someone had facial hair or not....
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