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Karina Chronicles

What the Dress Code?!

Lynne DeVenny is a  senior paralegal in Winston-Salem, NC. After a time running her blog & calling it The Practical Paralegal, giving advice & promotion to the paralegal profession, Lynne noticed that her readers were more interested in budget career dressing. She changed the name of her blog to The GoodWill Hunting Paralegal and now focuses on looking professional on a budget. Be her friend on facebook & twitter


I’ve worked at the same small civil rights law firm for almost two decades. We’re blessed to work in a historic home, and we get soda for free. (Don’t scoff. Do you know how much soda it takes to fuel a paralegal every day?)

There’s never been a dress code in any real force or enforced. Employees have come and gone, some so tastefully and beautifully turned out, that no matter what I have on, I feel like I should definitely try harder tomorrow, or possibly the day after, or next Monday…

Then there have been the employees who really relaxed in our beautiful old house, wallowing in free soda, and on occasion, wearing blue JEANS. (If you want start a dress code brawl at your conservative place of employment, just announce, “OMG, Sue’s wearing JEANS! Those aren’t navy blue slacks, those are STRETCH DENIM!”)

So after 20 years of complete sartorial freedom, some of us in the law office were stunned speechless when our new dress code was announced last week. We are no longer allowed to wear jeans. This news was not received well by everyone. Some of the ones that weren’t rendered speechless reacted with an emphatic, “What th’…um, HEEEECCCK!!!!”

But I wasn’t mad. Maybe some of us had gotten rather relaxed or possibly just lax in our work attire. And honestly, even if the new dress code was super draconian and said we could only wear dresses (it doesn’t), I’d be good with that. Over the years (the many, many, many years) that I have dressed for work, I’ve loved looking like I did try harder – by simply dropping a flattering and comfortable dress over my head and running out the door.

After longing from afar for ages, I recently purchased my first Karina Dress. It fits all my rather stringent requirements for daily career wear. It doesn’t wrinkle, or need ironing (like I know where our iron is). It makes me look polished and beautifully turned out, as is, or with accessories. And my Karina Dress feels like jammies. Take that, new dress code!

So I’ll sit back with my free Dr. Pepper and my dress that feels like jammies, and see what happens when the covert jeans action begins. (I’m thinkin’ the first rebel jeans wearer will go jeans ala Clinton and Stacy with a dark denim, great-fitting trouser style. Add a navy blazer, and they will sneak in disguised as a suit.)

Does your place of employment have a dress code? Reasonable or draconian?
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Lynne is wearing her Karina dress with thrifted vintage MIA floral cutout boots, and re-mixing it with a thrifted Frye riding boots.


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