Attire

Dressing for Orientation

There are as many ways to define business casual, as there are opinions about how to balance the national debt. Unfortunately, the term business casual is ambiguous and is open to a broad range of interpretations. To avoid any misunderstanding, the College of Law is asking you to use your best judgment in dressing for orientation. Law school is a professional school, and you are considered a representative of both the legal profession and Florida A&M University. Your dress and grooming should therefore reflect your status as a representative.

While we don’t have a mandatory dress code, you are expected to dress appropriately for orientation.

No sweats, t-shirts with slogans, hoodies, hats, shorts or flip-flops

The general standard of “appropriateness” is: Dress in a manner expected of professional students aspiring to be lawyers.

Men's Business Casual

You are launching your legal career at orientation. To help you get off to a professional start and embark on an exciting new career path to becoming members of the legal profession, we urge you to dress in a manner that reflects respect for that endeavor, yourself and your new colleagues.

Just because it says business casual doesn’t mean you can wear dumpy old khaki pants and a stained polo shirt to work. Dress for success, does not mean dress for success unless we say “business casual”. You should put just as much effort into a casual outfit as you doing to your formal one.

Ties:

Ties are generally not necessary for business casual, but if you are in doubt, you can wear a tie.

Pants:

Business casual pants are dress pants or trousers that are usually made of wool, cotton or polyester and/or some blend. If the trousers can pair nicely with a suit jacket, sport coat or blazer then they are probably acceptable. Khakis are fine, however, jeans are not business casual and shorts are not either.

Shirts:

Long-sleeved shirts are considered dressier than short-sleeved and are appropriate even in summer. Choosing white or light blue solid or conservative stripes is your safest bet. Polo shirts or “golf shirts (tucked in, of course) are acceptable in casual situations, but are borderline acceptable business casual dress shirts.

Socks:

Wear dark socks, mid-calf length so no skin is visible when you sit down.

Shoes:

Leather shoes should be worn. No sandals, athletic shoes or hiking boots.

Facial hair:

Just as with interviews: Facial hair, if worn, should be well-groomed. Know your industry and how conservative it is; observe men in your industry if you are unsure what’s appropriate or are considering changing your look.

Courtesy of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Smith Career Center

Women's Business Casual

You are launching your legal career at orientation. To help you get off to a professional start and embark on an exciting new career path to becoming members of the legal profession, we urge you to dress in a manner that reflects respect for that endeavor, yourself and your new colleagues.

Don’t confuse club attire with business attire. If you would wear it to a club, you probably shouldn’t wear it in a business environment. Also, most attire worn on television is not appropriate for business environments. Don’t be deluded.

Pants / skirts and dresses:

Women can wear casual pants, dresses or skirts. Neither should be tight. Fabrics should be crisp; colors should generally be solid; navy, black, gray, brown and khaki are always safe bets. For the most business-like appearance, pants should be creased and tailored; neither extreme of tight or flowing. If you are pursuing a conservative industry and are in doubt, observe well-dressed women in your industry on the job, at career fairs, at information sessions, etc.

Skirt length and slits:

Your skirt should come at least to your knees while you are standing. While you are seated, your thighs should be covered. If your skirt comes to just below the knee, a slit to just above the knee might be acceptable. A very long skirt should not be slit to above the knee. Generally slits in the center back of a skirt — to facilitate walking a stair climbing — are acceptable. Slits to facilitate a view of your legs are not appropriate for business purposes. Slips should not be visible.

Shirt / sweaters:

In addition to tailored shirts or blouses, tailored knit sweaters and sweater sets are appropriate business casual choices for women. Cotton, silk, and blends are appropriate. Velvets and shimmery fabrics suitable for parties are not appropriate. Fit should not be tight. Cleavage is not appropriate to business and job search occasions.

Shoes:

Should be leather or fabric / microfiber. Appropriate colors are black, navy, brown, tan, taupe (to coordinate with your other attire and accessories); white and pastels are not appropriate. For the most conservative look, toes should be covered. Sandals which are neither extremely dressy nor extremely casual might be appropriate. Thin straps and spike heels are not appropriate. Chunky heels and platforms are not appropriate. Your choices reflect your judgment. Make certain you can walk comfortably in your shoes; Hobbling around orientation in shoes that are pinching your feet does not convey a professional image and does not convey good judgment.

Hose:

Not essential for business casual, but are recommended if your skirt is knee length (rather than calf length) and in more formal environments such as hotels. Climate and weather can be a factor. Hose may not be expected in hot climates/weather and in less conservative industries. Hose may be expected in more conservative industries.

Courtesy of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Smith Career Center

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