I think for clues, look at women in professional offices. What’s considered presentable attire for men and women changes in office environments but hasn’t changed all that much. In the 1980s / 90s, my mother worked for a county government office in New Jersey which intersected with the courthouse. (Prosecutor’s Office, known as District Attorney’s office elsewhere) There was no dress code for attorneys per se but it was “highly suggested” that attorney’s that are women should wear longer professional skirts which covers the knees and lightly tailored suits, particularly when appearing in front of a jury. Attorneys that did not want to wear professional skirts but wanted to wear pants also had suggested styles but were notified that juries run the gamut from liberal to “I don’t care” to conservative to extremely conservative – with a few jurors that would find the very notion of a female attorney repulsive while concealing that fact during the jury pool culling process — and that it’s important to keep that in mind. Attorneys who were male had similar suggestions but just as not all female attorneys followed suggestions, not all male attorneys did either. One liked to appear in court with a dramatic cape that he’d whip off dramatically onto his chair. (He didn’t win a lot of cases)

I think for clues, look at women in professional offices. What’s considered presentable attire for men and women changes in office environments but hasn’t changed all that much.

In the 1980s / 90s, my mother worked for a county government office in New Jersey which intersected with the courthouse. (Prosecutor’s Office, known as District Attorney’s office elsewhere)

There was no dress code for attorneys per se but it was “highly suggested” that attorney’s that are women should wear longer professional skirts which covers the knees and lightly tailored suits, particularly when appearing in front of a jury. Attorneys that did not want to wear professional skirts but wanted to wear pants also had suggested styles but were notified that juries run the gamut from liberal to “I don’t care” to conservative to extremely conservative – with a few jurors that would find the very notion of a female attorney repulsive while concealing that fact during the jury pool culling process — and that it’s important to keep that in mind.

Attorneys who were male had similar suggestions but just as not all female attorneys followed suggestions, not all male attorneys did either. One liked to appear in court with a dramatic cape that he’d whip off dramatically onto his chair. (He didn’t win a lot of cases)

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That look nails it. Makes me think of a certain 1970s “I’m a woman”? So what? Does it really matter? No. Now step aside and pass me the hammer ’cause there’s work to be done” look.

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I know it well. My mom’s that way. It’s a fine line too between authoritative and manipulative. It’s the difference between swagger that’s deserved and swagger that you can knock over with a feather.
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