What Should I Wear To The Bar Exam?
Figuring out what you should wear to the bar exam seems like a silly thing to preoccupy yourself with when you are preparing for the bar. It may seem silly but knowing what to wear to the bar exam is an important part of preparing for it. The last thing you want is to be turned away from taking the exam after months of studying just because you wore the wrong clothes. And, you don’t want to be uncomfortable while you take the test or have what you wear negatively impact your score in any way.
What Should I Wear To The Bar Exam?
Like many bar exam preparations, this one requires research and planning. First, you have to research what the requirements and rules are and then you need to plan your outfit with comfort and confidence in mind.
Find out the rules.
Different jurisdictions vary on what you can and cannot wear for the bar exam. Once you figure out the rules you can plan your outfits for both days.
While you can ask people who have taken your exam or ask questions on forums you will most likely find out the dress code requirements when you get your bar exam ticket. Your ticket will come with instructions and rules which will let you know what you can wear to the bar exam.
Jurisdictions that require suits
My deepest condolences for applicants in Virginia, you are required to wear a suit for the bar exam. The Virginia Bar requires professional attire in order to reflect the seriousness of the profession.
Whether or not you agree with this reasoning, you still have to wear professional dress. When you are not studying, take the time to find a suit or professional dress that is comfortable and you can sit for long hours in. You do not want anything too tight around the waist or restraining your shoulders. You do not want to be pulling at and adjusting uncomfortable clothing when you should be focusing on the bar exam.
The majority of jurisdictions just have rules about what you can and cannot wear to the bar exam. For example, some jurisdictions won’t let you wear smart (or any) watches. Some jurisdictions prohibit hoodies or sweatshirts with pockets.
You should be sure to read all these rules carefully and make sure the clothes you plan on wearing to the bar exam comply with these rules. You do not want to show up to the exam with a hoodie you cannot use and end up freezing for the whole exam.
Some Tips on Dressing for the Bar Exam
Dress in layers
Unless you scope up your bar exam venue beforehand you have no idea whether your bar exam venue will be unbearably cold or hot. Even if you visit the venue before the AC or heating could always be on the fritz the days you take your exam. So prepare for all temperatures by dressing in layers.
You do not want your shivering or sweating to distract you from doing your best on the exam. So wear a shirt with short sleeves and bring a sweatshirt or sweater you can easily slip on and off. Even if you never use it it’s good to have just in case. I would also suggest you wear shoes with socks so you do not have to worry about cold feet.
Dress for comfort
The bar exam is a marathon in sitting. You will be sitting for hours and hours. You don’t want to spend those hours in pants that are too tight or a scratchy shirt. What you wear for the bar exam should be comfortable above all else.
Make sure what you plan on wearing is comfortable for sitting for hours at a time. One of the most uncomfortable items of clothing can be pants. You will want to make sure the pants you are wearing are not too tight and do not dig into your stomach uncomfortably. To avoid this consider pants with an elastic waistline like leggings or gym shorts.
For most jurisdictions, you are not dressing to impress. So who cares if you go to the bar exam looking like you are going to the gym? You’ll be working out your brain anyway.
Dress in what makes you feel confident
Finding confidence where you can in the bar exam can really help your performance. If you feel really confident in a suit and it makes you feel like a lawyer in the making then wear a suit. If you feel like you can take on the world in leggings and a tank top then wear leggings and a tank top (with a sweater, for that added layer!).
No one will care or notice what you are wearing. Don’t worry about people judging you for dressing up or dressing down. Literally, everyone is too busy worrying about themselves to care about those around them. So wear for the bar exam what makes you feel confident and ready to succeed. Good luck!
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