Dress For the Court Reporting Job You Want

Everyone's heard the saying dress for success before, right? Truer words have never been spoken. That said, it's hard to know as a steno student what to wear to a mock trial, deposition, or internship assignment. You want to be taken seriously and look like you know what you're doing when you're walking into an unfamiliar situation with unfamiliar people, and dressing professionally is part of that. That's the one thing I got points off for during my formal internship, was my "professional appearance." A button-down and dress pants is acceptable in some deposition situations, but a suit or blazer is pretty much required for working in court. For bonus points, ask your teacher or mentor what's standard in your area.

To quote one of my fave shows from back in the day, What Not to Wear, "dress for the job you want, not the job you have." Start by stepping up your outfit game for going to class. Your teacher can have a lot of say about who gets sent out to what internship assignment, and who are they going to pick if everything else is equal? The student dressed in sweats or the one in smart business casual?

It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, either. Starting a year or so before I began working, I browsed the professional wear sections at my favorite thrift stores or charity shops and picked up items when they were the color tag of the day and therefore half off. By doing this, I snagged quite a few brand name tops and quality items for chump change. Even as a student, you can start building your professional wardrobe.

Shopping list
white or other neutral shells for layering under cardigan or blazer
long-sleeved button-down shirt -- so versatile!
black shirts and/or button-downs
quality dark wash dressy jeans, perfect for a school board meeting or other casual depo setting
quality, well-fitting blazers
several pairs of dress pants in black or charcoal gray
black flats (or kitten heels if you're feeling frisky)
a colorful blouse or two should round out the wardrobe

Oh, and don't underestimate the power of raiding your a friend or family member's closet! (With permission, of course.) You may find some treasure that they haven't worn in years, and we all know that everything comes back in style again. Be bold, mix & match, and check your fave fashion blogs or Pinterest for outfit inspiration. It's great to show off a little personality while remaining professional and presentable. Just have fun with it!

For super extra bonus points, read up here to learn what to look for as far as fabrics and quality, whether shopping second-hand or retail. You want these garments to breathe, feel great on the skin, and last for a really long time.