Doughty Street junior barrister launches first legal outfitter for women

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‘Women have been at the bar for over 100 years and men are still the default when it comes to legal dress,’ Karlia Lykourgou tells Legal Cheek

Image source: Ivy & Normanton

A junior barrister has launched the first ever legal outfitter dedicated to courtwear for women.

Karlia Lykourgou, a criminal barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, yesterday celebrated the official opening of her online outfitter, Ivy & Normanton, which aims to “encourage all women who attend court to do so with confidence, looking bloody great”.

The online shop takes its name from Ivy Williams and Helena Normanton, the first and second women to be called to the bar of England and Wales in 1922.

The collection of tunic shirts, collarettes, collars and bands was born out of Lykourgou’s frustration with the lack of practical legal attire for women. “I saw no one was designing courtwear for women. They were only adapting male courtwear. Women have been at the bar for over 100 years and men are still the default when it comes to legal dress,” she told Legal Cheek.

Ivy & Normanton’s collection of collarettes

Lykourgou experienced this early on during her pupillage in 2016, which is when she first began the project. “I walked into a legal outfitters and tried to buy a tunic shirt. My family are in the rag trade so I know how things are supposed to fit. There was little choice in terms of shirt and what existed was expensive and designed to fit a male body rather than a female one. (Straight fit, no stretch, no waist, no accommodation for anyone with breasts.)”

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She continued:

“Not long after that I was in the robing room and heard a colleague complaining about their hair being caught in the velcro of their collarette and noticed another who had pinned their collarette to the shirt with safety pins to stop it riding up.”

Lykourgou hopes to solve this problem. For example, her new range of tunic shirts are “designed to fit a woman’s body and accommodate a chest and hips” and have a longer bottom so “it tucks into your trousers and skirt without riding up”. The collarettes on offer also include poppers and velcro, with ties at the side to keep it in place.

Looking ahead, Lykourgou hopes the business will keep growing, revealing she has more ideas for new clothing lines. Asked if she eventually plans to trade in legal practice for her side-project, Lykourgou told us:

“Women have been multi-tasking since the beginning so there is no reason why I can’t run a successful company and a successful practice for as long as possible.”

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Feels like next there will be female horsehair wigs.


Person with a brain

How about you only speak when your words have any value?



This world has grown too soft




can someone please give any indication of what to expect and what tasks you were given if you have already completed it or are undergoing one at the moment.

The firm I have a vac scheme with has not given us any info at all or even a timetable of what to expect and it starts in a few days



Don’t make the mistake I made of forgetting you’re not wearing any trousers or underpants and standing up to reach for a notepad



Time to do away with the outdated costumes.



As a bazza myself, I was keen on the getup when I was brand new. Now I think it’s unnecessary. (I work in civil so I appreciate there may be valid reasons for it in crime).



Great but I’ve got a better idea. Ditch the robes and wigs. Seriously. It’s the 21st century. What is the point of robes and wigs? Their an added expense and getting into the bar is already expensive. They serve no purpose whatsoever and make barristers look like twats. Get rid of them.



The work quite well in getting the lower classes to listen and behave when telling them what to do at hearings.


Not angry, just disappointed.

Why are you so upset about them if as you say “they serve no purpose”?

Perhaps reserving judgment and keeping an open mind is to demanding nowadays.

If you step into any crown court – your be amazed how quickly a defendant or witness changes their behaviour when they see the wig and gown. It demands solemnity and respect – which always benefits a trial.



I’d prefer the defendant or witness not to feel intimidated.


The Lady Harlena

Can I wear a big bunch of medals on my lapel in court if I deem them necessary to demand respect from other adults?



Completely agree! What kind of Georgian prat would take delight in wearing a wig and gown in this day and age? More and more proof that so many lawyers are increasingly out of touch with reality and 1000 miles up their own backside.



Well done to these junior barristers for spotting a niche in the market and proactively doing something about it. It is irrelevant to this good news article whether or not that market should still exist or not.


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