About Me

I am a lawyer and I work in the District of Columbia.


Right after law school, I worked for a non-profit. When management attempted to impose a dress code under which jeans could only be worn on Fridays, the staff protested and the policy was rescinded.

First law job

Upon joining a law firm a couple of years later, I found myself entering a more regulated environment.

Second law job
Second law job

I bought two suits before my start date and was surprised when the firm announced, just a few weeks later, that it was adopting a “Business Casual” dress code. The dress code was one of the longest sections of the Employee Handbook – surpassed only by “Family and Medical Leave” (which is really complicated) and “Harassment” (which is only complicated to harrassers).

My male colleagues synthesized all of the information provided – the general principles, the enumerated prohibitions, and the time and date restrictions – and they wore khakis and plaid shirts (poplin, not flannel) to work every day from Labor Day until Memorial Day. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, they sometimes wore polo shirts, instead of plaid shirts, with their khakis.

It occured to me that we could do a little better than that. Certainly, women have more options.* Since I was spending the majority of my waking hours at work during the week, I figured that the satisfaction I would get out of being nicely dressed during those hours was worth a little time and effort to sort through the options.

I think we can do better

Third law job

In 2023, I left my firm and returned to the non-profit world, joining a vibrant NGO where I am the second oldest person in the whole office. For the first several months, I believed I was the oldest. Something New. And, Brave New Dress Code.

I am going to give them wisdom; they are going to give me youth.

I started this blog to share my experiments and findings with the world, and indulge my pedagogical tendencies. I keep it going because it amuses my mother.

I can be reached at harper *!* thedirectrice *&* com.

Photo credits: First law job, ruzanna/shutterstock; Second law job: Nagel Photography/shutterstock

* I have a friend who grew up with three brothers. He tells me he did not know the difference between a dress and a skirt until he started college. He thought the words were synonyms. Synonyms for what exactly, I don’t know. When I shared this with my husband, he said, “What is the difference? Is a skirt the one that’s a half?”