Summer Fashion Tips for Paralegals

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One way to easily beat the summer heat if you're a female paralegal is to lose the hose and buy yourself a really great pair of open-toed heels (unless, of course, your office requires you to wear hose). If you look for a pair of open-toed shoes in a neutral color such as caramel or chocolate, they can be just as professional as a pair of traditional pumps. However, if your office doesn't allow open-toed shoes, try donning a pair of backless heels or slides. The added ventilation will help cool you off immensely.

Another tip for staying cool is to layer your clothing. For example, male paralegals may be more comfortable wearing cotton polo shirts during the summer instead of long-sleeved, button-down shirts. If this is the case, simply grab a sports jacket on your way out the door in the morning, and keep it in your office in case you need to meet with a client or attend a meeting with a supervisor. This way, you will remain comfortable and cool while in your office, but you will be prepared should something else come up.

In addition, many law firms that tend to be stuffier with respect to their dress codes allow their employees a breath of fresh air during the summer months by implementing casual Fridays. When dressing for a casual Friday during the summer, think chinos, polo shirts, and cotton skirts.

According to Sherry Maysonave, author of Casual Power, professionals should place the emphasis on "business" rather than "casual" when dressing for a business-casual Friday. Maysonave says business-casual is "how you might dress to go out to a nice dinner on the weekend, not how you would go to the grocery store."

In general, some things to avoid wearing to the office—no matter how hot it gets—are tank tops, halter tops, short skirts, flip flops, sundresses, or sleeveless shirts. Keep in mind that dress codes will differ from office to office, city to city, and season to season. If you're in doubt about what acceptable summer attire is in your office, take a look at what everyone else is wearing and go along with the crowd or talk to your supervisor or human relations director if you need further clarification.

In the meantime, get yourself a fan for your desk and have a smoothie on your lunch break. The summer is here, and it's not leaving anytime soon.

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