What’s deemed as “appropriate” when it comes to corporate office attire has certainly changed over the past few decades. But in the legal industry, however, the rules are still traditional, i.e. conservative suits are usually required and expected.
But one attorney is going viral for flipping the script on her mostly male colleagues and changing the norm for how female attorneys are expected to dress.
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In a video that’s been viewed over 5 million times, Immigration Attorney Kathleen Martinez shared a photo of herself at law school graduation from Thomas Jefferson School of Law captioned: “Working for male attorneys who told me to dress conservatively so I could be taken seriously” as it flips through a series of photos of Martinez dressed in all back work outfits.
The shot then switches to Martinez and three of her colleagues dressed in bright pink hues, suit jackets and all, which states “So I started my own firm with a pink brand and took/stole their clients in the process.”
“I chose pink because it is my favorite color, and it embodies femininity. The legal field is historically conservative and male-dominated,” Martinez told Entrepreneur. “We often refer to traditional law firm culture as a ‘boys club.’ I often felt like I had to dress in an understated fashion so that my male employers could focus on my capabilities as an attorney.”
Martinez’s virtual law firm, which services all 50 states and is based out of Texas, is entirely branded pink — from the company’s website to marketing materials.
Commenters rejoiced at Martinez’s clap-back to her male colleagues, calling her Elle Woods from Legally Blonde and praising her commitment to breaking norms.
“BRAVO LADIES,” one commenter wrote alongside a clapping hands emoji. “Thank you for being an example for us! Keep fighting and onward girls!”
“I would 100% pick y’all from a client standpoint,” another said excitedly. “Ain’t nothing like a strong woman IN PINK.”
To Martinez, the color choice was representative of everything she wanted to change in the industry, namely that what you wear or how you brand yourself doesn’t define how successful you can be.
“When I started my firm, I chose to brand ourselves with the color pink to break the ceiling limiting smart, professional women from expressing themselves. We embrace our femininity and it hasn’t prevented us from success,” Martinez said. “Our clients find that we stick out from other immigration lawyers and our clients specifically remember us because of our pink brand, billboards and advertisements. Female clients hire us because they like our feminist agenda and can relate to us when it comes to gender inequality and discrimination.”