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Dressing too well? - Page 6

post #76 of 128
Many good points in this thread. I work in institutional fincial services marketing and have discovered over the past dozen or so years as the clients I present to (often with hundreds of millions of dollars of their pension plan or endowment on the line) have tended to become more casual, that I should do the same. I still wear a suit, but tend to stick to conservative cuts with no cuff links or pocket square. It does depend on the client - with labor unions, for example, I am the most conserviate as cuff links can be reason for dismissal off the bat.

My point is that your appearance does matter as does context. In my opinion, the well dressed professional convays success while still being comfortable in his outfit and not appearing to be trying too hard.

Finally, a quote to illustrate:

"Bond mistrusted anyone who tied his tie with a Windsor knot. It showed too much vanity. It was often the mark of a cad." - From Russia with Love, Iam Flemming. I think the same sentiment is shared by many about French cuffs and pocket squares.
post #77 of 128
I've been a prosecutor for a long time...both on the state and federal level. Needless to say, I've done a lot of jury trials.

My rule is that I'm dressing for a part, and that part depends largely on the case I'll be trying.

If I'm up against a sympathetic defendant, or someone I think the jury will like, I dress to the part of the humble civil servant. I want the jury to think I'm calm and reasonable and not out to get anyone. I want them to think I'm not a shark but that I'm fair and out to DO what is fair. For these cases, I wear what many would call CBD. The caveat though is that I favor the suits in my wardrobe that are less aggressive. No roped shoulders. No strong waist supression. No bold patterned suits, obviously no pocket squares, contrast collars, bold patterned ties, or french cuffs.

However, for the cases I get where I'm up against a real asshole i.e, someone connected to organized crime, someone involved in human trafficking, most sex crime cases etc., I dress like I'm a badass. I wear my "don't fuck with me suits." In these cases, the jury (I think) wants someone strong and able to stand up to the defendant, even be a bit of a bully. I dress like I'm wielding the sword of justice and the jury eats it up. Still, even in these cases I don't wear french cuffs or contrast collars or pocket squares. Ever. It's really more about the cut of the suit than anything else.

The jist? If you dress like you're on Law and Order and the jury won't be distracted.
post #78 of 128
I'm surprised that the lesson about "dressing appropriately" isn't better understood, especially by a lawyer. There's a lot of reasons to take pride in what you wear, but in a trial setting, you want everything working for you, not against you.
Heck, I'm not a lawyer but I've been to a few courtrooms as an expert witness and the lawyer spends a significant amount of time explaining how to "dumb things down".
I don't take this as an insult or having to pander to the "common man". I realize my job there isn't to look good, look technical or have people impressed with me, it's to assist the case as best as possible and that means making sure the judge (or whomever) is focused on the discussion/evidence/whatever, not on the person talking.
post #79 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by modagg View Post
I live in michigan (and have alot of family from pittsburgh) and alot of uncles on my dads side are blue collar workers for gm. The UAW folks are the worst kind because there wages are so inflated if anything were to happen to the car companies (actually it is happening) with there limited skill set they would be lucky to find a job that would pay them half of what they get now. My one uncle works on the assembly line and is making 6 figures. Dude is making $100k for turning screws all day and they all have those "buy american" stickers on there trucks. They all live within 15 minutes of each other and work in the same plant.

Wearing polos or v neck sweaters is seen as dressing up and anything that fits correctly is "gay". My uncle wore cowboy boots to his own wedding for gods stake. The oddest thing about it all is my grandfather. He died over 10 years ago but he fought in WWII, came back and worked for gm until he died. He had a tailor in hamtramck make all his clothes and he was always in a suit and hat. My grandmother kept the stuff for the memories but she wants me to take them when she dies because I'm the only one who knows what I would be getting. I love my grandma and all but some of his pin stripe suits are calling my name.

And people wonder why unions are obsolete and make American companies noncompetitive. I really don't care for this sector of society as too many are harboring all the evils that Europeans stereotype Americans as. It's sad but for the most part the image is very true. However, you can find challenging individuals in all societies and cultures.
post #80 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDaniels View Post
I think you make some valid points, but it's too bad you felt you needed to call most of the men who participate here "freaks" which was totally unecessary and weakens your argument. You know what I call a guy who participates on a board where he thinks the majority of participants are "freaks?" A DOUCHE!!!!
Merriam-Webster Online: “freak – (4) a: An ardent enthusiast <film freaks>.” I must insist that you refer to me as a freak, not a douche.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
Oh yeah? Well, guess what. Your momma has a wooden leg--with a kick stand. Seriously, I think the cheap-fitting suit is a stupid idea. You suggest that a lawyer can look less manipulative by being more manipulative? This is the most cynical advice to date. I'd say you have a lower opinion of that "ordinary man" than the guy who wears french cuffs in his presence. People will see right through this.
Your statement is defamatory. My mother does not use a kickstand. In matching your seriousness, I'd have to disagree with almost everything you said. Trial attorneys are in the business of manipulation. Their objective is to manipulate a group of jurors into delivering the desired verdict. Wardrobe is but one of the tools. It is often difficult for jurors to see through an attorney's manipulations, and if they did, the attorney would stop using them and shift to something else. Finally, I dispute that I have a lower opinion of the "ordinary man" than the guy who wears French cuffs in their presence. I believe my opinion would be roughly equivalent. However, I would agree that many aspects of litigation are cynical. I did not enjoy being a litigator, and I'm very relieved that I found a different way to use my law degree. When I wake up in the morning and put on a made-to-measure Sea Island shirt, bespoke Crispaire suit, and Allen Edmonds lace-ups, I know that I am doing it primarily to please myself and perhaps colleagues who are knowledgeable about such things. Attorneys who spend time in front of juries cannot be as indulgent.
post #81 of 128
I would first advise you lose the contrast collars and tone down the pocket squares and cuff links. It doesn`t sound like your suit or tie choice is at all objectionable. Your presentation therein may be, I could hardly judge from here.

Next, I advise you to use, at least once every day of trial and before asking your first question of any witness, the phrase, "Now, I ain't no Big City lawyer..."
post #82 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by modagg View Post
I live in michigan (and have alot of family from pittsburgh) and alot of uncles on my dads side are blue collar workers for gm. ........
Wearing polos or v neck sweaters is seen as dressing up and anything that fits correctly is "gay".

I take it you haven't been to the executive suite there, either?
post #83 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by temporaryachilles View Post
Your statement is defamatory. My mother does not use a kickstand. In matching your seriousness, I'd have to disagree with almost everything you said. Trial attorneys are in the business of manipulation. Their objective is to manipulate a group of jurors into delivering the desired verdict. Wardrobe is but one of the tools. It is often difficult for jurors to see through an attorney's manipulations, and if they did, the attorney would stop using them and shift to something else. Finally, I dispute that I have a lower opinion of the "ordinary man" than the guy who wears French cuffs in their presence. I believe my opinion would be roughly equivalent.
Well said. But ... some of the most down-to-earth-looking suits that I've seen on a person are fairly expensive suits. Mainly I took issue with the idea that the only way to look down-to-earth in a suit is by wearing a cheap suit. I think you have less control over your image if you are working with cheap suits. But it all depends on your body type and the way you carry yourself, I suppose.
post #84 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by temporaryachilles View Post

I once worked with a litigator who had an interesting approach to his wardrobe. Outside of the courtroom, he wore nice, well-tailored suits with quality shirts and ties -- clothes commensurate with his position in society. At trial, he wore an inexpensive, ill-fitting suit in order to be perceived as an ordinary guy who was forced to dress up for court. It worked well for him.

+1

That's what they taught us in law school. If you're a plaintiff's attorney, you have to dress like the little guy. Make it look like you stayed up all night working on this case.

You'd always be in stark contrast with the perfectly coiffed, tailor made, corporate defense clones.
post #85 of 128
Perhaps the suggestions we give to folks who ask what to wear to an interview would not be too far off in this situation.
post #86 of 128
Thread Starter 
I would first like to thank everyone for their insight and feedback, and would also like to try and clarify a few points.

First, as to celery, who believes I am a douchebag because of the way I listed my attire. I listed my day to day clothing choices like that because I felt it would help the reader get a picture of the "look" of the items. This is a group of people who are well-versed in those matters and I felt it would help. I did not do it to be pretentious, although I am sorry if it came across like that. In the future I will simply list them as celery has suggested.

Second, to those who have asked how I conducted myself during the trial. Obviously, I am not the best judge of my actions as I am inherently bias. I can only give you my thoughts. I am certainly not a screaming courtroom brawler a la Bruce Cutler or Johnny Cochran. I am a very measured direct examiner, who speaks in a balanced but forceful tone of voice. On cross examination I'm mostly the same, I rarely (if ever) yell or raise my voice signifigantly. Instead I simply remain calm and ask questions of the witness. For example in this case, when the defense's forensic expert was giving an evasive answer to my question, I simply repeated it. Some attorneys may have added a snarky comment at the end, or used sarcasm. I simply repeated it hoping the jury would understand why I was doing so. Attorneys who's opinions I trust say I can be a bit boring in the courtroom and I agree with them. I think this was a problem with this case, I spent a lot of time going into detail about forensics and prior bad act evidence that the human drama aspect of the case (poor vulnerable woman almost gets killed during a carjacking) gets lost.

Third, to those who asked if I was acting like a "big city lawyer." I am a big city lawyer, I prosecute crimes in New York City. This was not a rural atmosphere or jury. In fact, four of the twelve jurors made a six figure income.

I would just like to reiterate my thanks to everyone who has given feedback.
post #87 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motol12 View Post
First, as to celery, who believes I am a douchebag because of the way I listed my attire. I listed my day to day clothing choices like that because I felt it would help the reader get a picture of the "look" of the items. This is a group of people who are well-versed in those matters and I felt it would help. I did not do it to be pretentious, although I am sorry if it came across like that. In the future I will simply list them as celery has suggested.

I personally have no problem with the way you listed your attire. This is a clothing forum, after all. It didn't seem like you were bragging--rather, you were describing in great detail, so that those who are educated and experienced could understand better.
post #88 of 128
maybe the problem lies more in the interest you develope, your friend said you were boring, i'd look into that.

You obviously have alot more public speaking experience, but i've found that keeping things entertaining in a mild way really keeps people interested in my presentations, i cant see how this would be different.
post #89 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlmusic View Post
I personally have no problem with the way you listed your attire. This is a clothing forum, after all. It didn't seem like you were bragging--rather, you were describing in great detail, so that those who are educated and experienced could understand better.

I agree, I appreciated that you listed the brands. It would be a pretty boring forum if people didn't do this.

After my initial post I saw that you are an ADA in the Bronx. However, I stand by my comments about getting rid of the french cuffs, three-piece suits and contrast collar shirts for jury trials. You want to look well put-together, but not like an investment banker.

And clearly, there was more to the outcome of the case than your clothing but that's outside of the scope of what the OP asked.
post #90 of 128
Thread Starter 
Just to revise what I said about being boring. I don't mean that I speak in a manner reminsent of the economics teacher from Ferris Bueller. During my opening statements and closing arguments I use rhetorical devises and speak, I feel, effectively and interestingly. I'm not Johnny Cochran though, I don't use theatrical gestures, six or more alliterative words in a row, bombastic comparisons of witnesses to Nazis, or any of the other ultra-flamboyant techniques seen on both the OJ trial and courtroom drama's everywhere. Where I get boring however, is in my examinations. I tend to drag points out and spend a lot of time going into the nitty-gritty details of things rather than the bigger picture. That's something I need to work on certainly, and attempt to strike a balance between giving detail but not boring the jury.
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