Female lawyers told to wear high heels, skirts

// 23 December 2008

The ‘magic circle‘ law firm Freshfields has advised its female lawyers to play up their femininity, wearing high heels and skirt suits, reports the Daily Mail.

But they can’t embrace it too much.

Necklaces, they have been warned, should be avoided as they could draw undue attention to the bustline.

Of course! Can’t make the rules too easy to follow – be ‘feminine’ enough, but not too feminine.

Quoting from the law firm’s latest ‘corporate social responsibility’ report (which also contains the statistic that only 12% of its partners are women):

Broadening the diversity of our people is important to the success of our

firm, as we recognise that diversity of cultures, backgrounds, nationalities

and ideas improves the quality of our work and enriches our working


We want our firm to attract, develop and retain a range of people in

terms of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age or


But only women who are happy to present themselves in a properly feminine (not too feminine!!) fashion, and don skirts and heels, need apply?

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 23 December 2008 at 6:40 pm

Ah but this latest piece of misogynistic advice is not misogynistic or reducing female staff to men’s sexualised commodities. It is, claim Freshfield all about promoting the corporate image to prospective clients. (Yes and the moon is indeed made of green cheese). But is it not odd that female colleagues are strongly advised NOT TO WEAR TROUSERS but to wear skirts. I wonder how short these skirts should be? Not forgetting of course, the obligatory high heels because male clients must be treated to viewing professional female employees as sexualised commodities.

Regressive, no remember what Freshfields claim – it is all about promoting a professional corporate image. The free London Paper had this item as its main headline and contained within report was another gem. Male employees of Freshfield must not wear ties which go below their waists. Reason? Because clients’ eyes will be drawn to the male employees’ private parts! I never knew wearing a tie of a certain length draws the viewer’s eyes to male private parts.

S // Posted 11 February 2009 at 9:25 pm

I’m going to go bang my head against a wall now.

Emma // Posted 1 March 2009 at 8:43 pm

I feel that this is not as bad as some have made out, because most women look smarter in skirts and heels. This is a law firm so I don’t think they mean tiny minis, just conservative skirt suits.

Jess McCabe // Posted 2 March 2009 at 5:49 pm

I don’t know what you base that on, Emma. Personally, I think I look pretty smart in my trouser suit & flat shoes! I’ve certainly never been kicked out of any formal events, that’s for sure.

I think what you might want to consider is the history of confining and prescribing what women can/can’t wear, and also the implications of this sort of policy for women who a) just don’t feel comfortable or like wearing heels or skirts or b) object to it on political grounds.

high heels // Posted 20 August 2009 at 8:29 pm

I think its wrong to tell people what to wear – or not to wear – as look as they’re dressed appropriately!



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