‘Don’t wear brown shoes with a blue suit’, City law firm partner tells trainees

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By Aishah Hussain on


? Wikicommons: sweeticecreamphotography

A partner at a top City law firm has reportedly passed on a provocative piece of advice to unsuitably dressed trainees.

Speaking at Thomson Reuters’ ‘Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law’ conference yesterday at London’s Hilton Tower Bridge hotel, the unnamed partner told juniors, “Don’t wear brown shoes with a blue suit”, legal affairs journalist Catherine Baksi reports.

It’s fair to say the partner’s fashion pointer created quite a stir among the legal Twitterati.

“This is silly,” pointed out Matthew Richardson, a family law barrister at Coram Chambers, while another user wrote, “sounds like lack in sense or fashion; or quite possibly both. People should wear what they want. The partner should get out of others’ wardrobes, or just get out more. People see an expert for his/her expertise, not for their dress sense”.

While Howard Kennedy media law partner Mark Stephens simple wrote, “Sh*t”, before posting an image of himself (embedded below), and presumably taken the same day, of him wearing brown shoes with a blue suit!

Turning it back on the partner at the subject of the controversy, David Hughes, a civil and public law barrister at Phillips, a law firm based in Gibraltar, asked “Was he well dressed?” before adding, “Brown shoes — of the right shade — are right for a blue suit.”

Another user had a stern piece of advice to throw back at the City partner:

This isn’t the first time a lawyer has posted controversial remarks to do with corporate dress. Katherine Cousins, a City solicitor, had in 2013 written a fashion blog for the then-named Berwin Leighton Paisner‘s intranet during her time there as a trainee. The blog was later pulled by the firm (which has since merged and is called Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner) over concerns it was inappropriate.

Her advice, which includes “skinny ties are for Hoxton bars” and that men should punt for a “dark blue, charcoal or grey” suit — “black is only for funeral attendees and bouncers” — and smart shoes that are “not too pointy” nor worn without socks can be found in her 115-page debut novel, Successful Solicitor: Get Ahead of the Game as a Junior Corporate Lawyer.

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