Photo: Rex Features 


Trainee barristers could lose marks for wearing short skirts

According to the BPP law-school handbook, “cleavage should not be on show” either

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By Hannah Banks-Walker on

London law school BPP has taken the idea of a work uniform to a new level, with a very prescriptive dress code as laid out in its handbook, which was obtained by legal news website Legal Cheek. According to the document, male and female trainees could lose points in their advocacy assessments if they do not adhere to the very specific guidelines.

For men, this amounts to losing one point if jackets are undone because “ideally, men’s jackets should be DOUBLE BREASTED or 3-PIECE. If you wear a single-breasted jacket, you do need to do it up.” And thus occurs possibly the most hilariously superfluous use of capital letters the world has ever witnessed. Men will also lose points if they’re wearing colourful socks, inappropriate ties or if the top button on their shirt is undone (that’s a whopping -2 points). In professional environments, dress codes are obviously helpful. But, please, just wait until you read the list of requirements for female candidates.

One page of BPP's dress code 

As a woman, you lose two points immediately if your skirt is above the knee. As we all know, there’s absolutely no way a woman can be professional while she’s got her knees out. That inch or two makes all the difference to her lady brain, trust me. There’s also a number of points to be lost on the shirt, depending on the severity of one’s crime: “Shirts should be predominantly done UP. Cleavage should not be on show.” In fact, this could lose a woman one or two points or “-3 if bra shows”.

As we all know, there’s absolutely no way a woman can be professional while she’s got her knees out

These rules could, perhaps, be taken as standard for a legal environment, despite the condescending way in which they’re presented. But then you come to the inclusion of “kinky boots” and all sense is lost. Women, wearing said “kinky boots” could cost you two points. And apparently, according to the sartorial experts at BPP, “Boots for women are OK, but they should avoid stiletto heels, buckles, straps, etc.” ETC? What in the world does ETC mean in this context?

The dress code also outlaws "boots with short skirts"

What is especially comforting is the fact that, while men are subjected to their own rigorous dress code, it’s the female candidates who would end up losing the most points, were they to flout this conservative rulebook. And it’s good to know that even before they’re qualified and ready to fight men for the top jobs and equal pay, women are already on the backfoot. But, hey, it’s their own fault for having such a kinky taste in boots.


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Photo: Rex Features 
Tagged in:
Hannah Banks-Walker
dress code
women at work

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