Solicitors Journal: Meet dress-down Friday's arch-nemesis

Laura Devine speaks to Solicitors Journal about how office style is just one ingredient in creating a successful law firm culture

Is your style appreciated in the office?
My style of fashion is reflected in the design of the office, which the press has described as having 'a unique character of playful, interactive and distinctively stylish rooms'. We have a corridor with fabulous lighting which is called the catwalk. I believe this is appreciated by staff, clients, and contacts.

Who is the most fashionable lawyer in your office?
I could not possibly say.

Who is your style inspiration?
John, my partner, is keen on design, and Rock Galpin, who helped design our office and bespoke furniture. Style only starts with dress and continues through to surroundings. The style of the office is important to me, from designer furniture and flowers to white uncluttered desks.

What's more important, comfort or style?
Style of course, but then surely if one is stylish then one feels comfortable.

What's your favourite brand?
My favourite shops are Zara (but the quality could be better) and COS, which is stylish, good quality, and with reasonable price points. The exclusive designers I favour are the Canadian Marie Saint Pierre and the Australian Carla Zampatti.

What are your reasons for not implementing dress-down Friday (DDF)?
Why would the firm implement DDF? I would prefer to implement dress-up Friday.

Do some people see DDF as an Americanism?
We can't blame the Americans for everything!

What's your biggest fashion faux pas?
A 1970s perm...

What's the worst item a colleague has ever worn?
The firm has a strict dress code so rarely does anyone wear something of bad taste.

How long does it take you to get ready?
Fifteen minutes. Always wearing black helps decision making and I leave everything out the night before.

Does wearing work dress boost office morale?
I encourage staff to dress with style but without being vain or self-conscious. But to really boost office morale there have to be other ingredients, such as well-being programmes, concern for colleagues, and strong ethical values. These are not just nice to have at work but are essential elements of our firm's culture.

With remote working becoming more of a feature of the modern working life, will formal office wear become redundant in the future?
Not at Laura Devine Solicitors!

Read the full feature here.