In this episode of the ABA Law Student Podcast, hosts Sandy Gallant-Jones and Kareem Aref chat with Brooks Brothers District Manager Mic Clark about courtroom appropriate fashion and wardrobe elements that every lawyer should have. Mic acknowledges that most law students are operating on a budget, but emphasizes that the goal is to use simple affordable pieces to build a wardrobe that gives you a functional week’s worth of clothes. He states that most business is done primarily in blue and gray attire and encourages men to build on solid or patterned variants of those colors. By focusing on a classical, professional aesthetic consisting of quality basic pieces, you are investing in apparel that will last you for a very long time. Mic advises ladies to focus on blues, grays, and blacks for their basic pieces and discusses the importance of hem length. He reminds law students that although you are wearing classic pieces, and the guidelines for men and women are different, It’s important to have an element of your personal style present within your look and to have fun with the wardrobe building process. Mic shares that most people over-launder their clothing and closes the interview with his tips for maintaining your wardrobe long term.
Mic Clark is the San Francisco Bay area district manager for Brooks Brothers, a company well known for it’s classic fashion.
ABA Law Student Podcast
Courtroom Appropriate Fashion Tips for New Attorneys
Intro: Welcome to the official ABA Law Student Podcast, where we talk about issues that affect law students and recent grads. From finals and graduation to the Bar exam and finding a job, this show is your trusted resource for the next big step. You are listening to the Legal Talk Network.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: Hello and welcome to another edition of the ABA Law Student Podcast on Legal Talk Network. I am Sandy Gallant-Jones. I am the Seventh Circuit Governor representing the States of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin for the ABA’s Law Student Division. I am a 2L at Northern Illinois College of Law.
Kareem Aref: And hello. I am Kareem Aref. I am a 3L at the University of California, Davis, and I currently serve as the Chair-Elect, or Chair as of tomorrow for the ABA Law Student Division.
Our show today is sponsored by the American Bar Association Law Student Division.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: In this monthly podcast we cover topics that are of interest to you, law students and recent graduates. We will be talking about a variety of issues from finals to the Bar exam and everything in between. We hope that this show is a trusted resource for all of our listeners.
For this show we are on remote at the ABA Annual Conference, and today we are talking about fashion, fashion for law students, fashion for new graduates, and the ABA has a special relationship in particular with a company that is well-known around the world for its fantastic classic fashion, and that is Brooks Brothers. Today we are joined by Mic Clark, the District Manager with Brooks Brothers to give us the 411 on how to dress appropriately for that first job.
Mic, thanks so much for joining us.
Mic Clark: Thanks for having me. It’s wonderful to be here.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: So let’s talk about fashion. For law students who are on a limited budget, but you say that you can put together a classic, professional, sharp look with very simple pieces. So let’s concentrate on what every student or new lawyer should have in their wardrobe.
Mic Clark: Well, first of all, for gentlemen, I would say it’s very important to build on the basics. Business is done primarily in blues and grays, so we recommend that every gentleman as they are building their wardrobe start off with something in a solid blue, patterned blue, solid gray or patterned gray really is the best investment as they build their wardrobe.
For law students, you are going to be doing interviews and going into your first job, so it really is building a wardrobe that gives you a functional week’s worth of clothes that can be very affordable, but it’s important to focus on classics and basics.
Kareem Aref: Now, as I understand it you mentioned affordability and you all give some special discounts to the law students and ABA members, isn’t that so?
Mic Clark: So, ABA members are eligible for our Corporate Incentive Services discount, where they are eligible for a 15% discount with a membership card at any Brooks Brothers. And then we also have a special discount for the students in tandem with this week’s conference for an additional 10% off for an eight day period following the conference.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: A lot of folks concentrate on Brooks Brothers in terms of fashion for gentlemen, but you do have a wardrobe available for ladies and for the women, can we get away with wearing black?
Mic Clark: So, I would say absolutely. Guidelines for men and women are very different. I think that for both genders you have to have fun. You can dress classic, but it’s important to have an element of your own personal style and to have fun.
So for ladies, I would say absolutely if you are interviewing, you are doing mock trials and getting ready for interviews, focus on blues, grays, blacks, very appropriate, and again with classic shirting as well.
The Brooks Brothers’ Miracle Shirt is a wonderful addition that will serve you for a long time and help you also build that wardrobe for week’s worth of clothes.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: And you can really mix it up as well for women with just different types of pattern, shells and different colors?
Mic Clark: Absolutely! In fact, our new Creative Director Zac Posen has brought a number of new fabrications, patterns and styles into the collection that I think the ladies will find very fun.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: For women in particular, one of the things that I think lot of younger women need to keep in mind are hemlines, the length of hemlines and also, just in terms of trousers, professional trousers that are appropriate for the courtroom, if you could touch on that.
Mic Clark: Well, I would say that any of our associates at Brooks Brothers, if anybody were to come in and shop with them, can give them appropriate advice for their body type. We have a full alteration shop that services both men and women. So all the modifications, the alterations can be made to any garment at any Brooks Brothers retail location, and I would suggest that everybody take advantage of the professional sales associates that we have here at Brooks Brothers.
Kareem Aref: Well Mic, can’t folks just buy the clothes and go home and put them on?
Mic Clark: Very often they can, but again, we want everybody to look their best, and this is an important step for students that are graduating from the Bar and looking for new career opportunities. So by taking that extra step, by letting us make the final alterations to personalize that garment is going to make sure that you are seen in the best light, and then that garment can serve you for a long period of time.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: The thing that you have emphasized for us is the importance of investing in a wardrobe. Why is it important to invest in quality clothing beyond the fact that it looks good?
Mic Clark: So classic clothing really is an investment, because you are building a wardrobe that is going to last you for a long time, and you are going to build on that with other components. So you are not just buying one item, you are buying an item that you can wear with other items in your wardrobe. So it’s very important to take a look at what you are purchasing and how that relates back in to other items in your closet so that you really can get the best use of your investment.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: Okay, quick tips on how to maintain that wardrobe for the long-term?
Mic Clark: That’s a great question. Both men and women tend to over clean clothes. When you are finished with your clothes at the end of the day, we recommend that they are hung, that they are allowed to air-dry overnight. The great properties of wool that are in many of our fabrics releases wrinkles and that garment will be fresh and ready to wear the next time you put it on. Really, the best time to have something cleaned is when it is soiled.
Kareem Aref: Well Mic, what do you mean when you say soiled?
Mic Clark: So if you have a coffee stain on it or if something happens that the garment needs to be cleaned because it’s dirty. But in terms of basic wrinkling, if you invest in quality clothes, the wrinkles will hang out of most garments, especially wools, which is a great investment and a great starting place to build your wardrobe. Also, we have the Non-Iron Dress Shirt and women’s Miracle Shirt.
Kareem Aref: What are those?
Mic Clark: It is a very special shirt the Brooks Brothers makes, one of the finest dress shirts that’s on the market. It is wash and wear and it looks perfect, right out of the dryer. So I would recommend that everybody come in and take a look at that. It really is a staple piece in the wardrobe.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: So why do you think that clothing is over laundered?
Mic Clark: Well, I think often people launder when they want to press. So I suggest the use of a steamer, and again, just making sure that you are taking proper care of your clothes when you take them off to air them out and hang them up.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: And if the law student is in a rush and they want to try to iron their suit, what do you say to that?
Mic Clark: Well, I would say steam is always better than pressing tailored clothing. Iron a shirt, but always steam any of your tailored clothing.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: Okay. And then one last question related to ladies and accessories, how should a woman accessorize her look, not obviously with garish jewelry, right?
Mic Clark: Well, I would say that you have to know the audience that you are going to be speaking with, but typically if you have earrings, a nice necklace, you might have a scarf around your neck, or if you are wearing a nice necklace, you may want to take the scarf and put it on the handle on your purse, just to accessorize the outfit and add a little splash of color. It’s a nice fashion statement that really says a lot about you.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: All right, great tips that you have provided us. And again, Mic is with Brooks Brothers. This is all related to a partnership with the ABA, and students, with your ABA membership you can get a discount and make your wardrobe complete with Brooks Brothers’ fashion.
Mic Clark, thank you so much for joining us today. These are great tips. It’s good to know all these details.
Mic Clark: Thank you. It was my pleasure.
Kareem Aref: Mic, before we close out for today, I have one last question, for our listeners who want to follow up with you, how can they get in contact?
Mic Clark: Well, I would encourage you to go into any retail Brooks Brothers’ outlet or look for us at HYPERLINK “http://www.brooksbrothers.com” brooksbrothers.com, any of our professional sales associates would be happy to tailor a wardrobe to your needs.
Kareem Aref: Fantastic! Thank you so much again Mic for joining us.
Mic Clark: Thank you having me.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: We hope you have enjoyed another episode of our podcast. We would like to encourage you to subscribe to the ABA Law Student Podcast on iTunes and take a moment to rate and review us as well.
You can also reach us on Twitter at @abalsd using the #lawstudentpodcast. We want to hear what is on your mind. I am Sandy Gallant.
Kareem Aref: And I am Kareem Aref. And we want to thank you for listening to the ABA Law Student Podcast. Stay tuned, expect more, and until next time podcasters.
Sandy Gallant-Jones: Dress well!
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