District Attorney’s Offices

26 04 2008

DA’s offices are usually business formal (and in case you haven’t been keeping up, that means suits everyday). This is largely motivated by practical concerns, since DAs and ADAs have to be in court so often. That said, the business formal dress code can be followed with varying degrees of precision, so depending on where you are, you could get creative.

For the Ladies. You should buy at least three or four suits, each with skirt and pants that you can switch up during the week. If you’re in a more conservative office, stick with dark colors and below-the-knee skirts. If you’re in a less formal office, you can get more creative with colors and patterns (I heard of an ADA who wears polka dot suits), but keep in mind that powder blue is flattering on no one.*

Underneath the suit, you can wear the standard collared shirt or a less-formal shell. Stick with close-toed shoes (I recommend black or brown 2-inch pumps). I would stay away from heavy makeup and enormous accessories but a little of each couldn’t hurt.

For the Gentlemen. You should buy four or five suits to rotate during the week. I figure if you wear one suit on Monday and keep rotating, come Friday no one will remember the Monday suit. Pair the suit with a nice tie and a button-up, collared dress shirt. Top off the outfit with dark leather shoes, a matching belt and black socks.

Despite the seemingly limited range of options, you can get creative at the margins. Get some pants with cuffs and some pants without cuffs (but more without cuffs, cuffs are out). Get some French-cuff shirts and some button-cuff shirts. Vary the type of collar. Experiment with different tie knots. See? Suits are fun!*

For the Staff. DA’s office staff can wear business casual.

Dressing it down. When attorneys aren’t in court, the appearance of formality is less important. In the office, most attorneys work without their jackets on, and women can swap their pumps for flip-flops or uggs. Just don’t forget to grab your jacket and swap your shoes when you’re called down to court, cuz damn it, you’re a prosecutor.

*For more information on suits, see the post on Job Interviews.

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