Reading time: three minutes
Ah, the Call to the Bar – the one day you look forward to most as a Bar student. The day all your hard work pays off and you can just enjoy the fruits of your labour. Unfortunately, unless you have a close friend or family member who’s already gone through the process, the day itself is shrouded in mystery and confusion. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect is the question of clothing – what should you wear?
Given that this day marks the start of your professional life, you must wear a dark suit. Black seems to be the preferred colour, but you can probably get away with a dark navy or grey. Ladies can choose between wearing a skirt suit, a formal dress, or a trouser suit. If you decide to go for a skirt suit or a dress, make sure the length is no shorter than your knees and that you wear a pair of black tights.
In terms of what to wear under your suit jacket, you have a few options:
1. A white tunic court shirt with attachable wing collar and starched bands
2. A regular plain white wing-collared shirt and starched bands
3. A court bib (aka collarette) over a white top
4. White tunic or mandarin court shirt with ladies’ collar
5. A white tunic court shirt with attachable wing collar and starched bands
7. A regular plain white wing-collared shirt and starched bands
Looks like a daunting list, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, the first time I was told about these options, I had a massive meltdown. What on earth are starched bands? What are attachable wing collars? What is a court bib or collarette? Why are there so many options? If you’re freaking out, it’s completely normal. Thankfully, legal tailors such as Edes & Ravenscroft have a store you can go to for help (it’s what I did!).
In terms of shoes, make sure you wear dark, formal footwear that matches your suit. Court shoes exist but they’re uncomfortable so you don’t have to wear them (despite the name). If you feel more comfortable in flats, feel free to wear those. The day is meant to be one you enjoy, and you’ll have a hard time doing so if you’re uncomfortable.
Wigs and gowns are often provided by your Inn of Court, so you won’t need to spend extra money on those. However, the cost of everything you’ll need to get is quite high. The shirt alone costs about £80 last I checked – so it’s probably smart to start saving early!