Power Outfit: Emma Gill, Lawyer at Vardags
It takes a certain kind of someone to be able to work at a law firm – someone who can simultaneously hold their own in highly complex legal situations and still be able to provide a personal and sensitive service to clients.
This is where Emma Gill comes in. As Director and Head of Office at the Manchester branch of Vardags Family Solicitors, she encounters intricate situations daily which require her sought-after tact and sensitive manner.
Knowing that she wanted to work in family law after her very first lecture at university, Emma has made it her mission to succeed in this field ever since – and successful she most certainly has been!
Feeling like she can take on the world – or at least sing ‘I’m Every Woman’ at the top of her voice – when wearing her go-to power outfit, we talk to Emma about her career, her wardrobe, and her love of Chanel pearls.
What advice would you give to women just starting out at a law firm? What are some important first steps to set yourself up for a successful career?
Take the time to find your professional self. You need to be you, but not the you that you are on a Saturday night out with friends!
Don’t do anything that could impact your career later on. Listen carefully and stay out of office politics. I’ve seen plenty of women sucked into the nasty vortex of toxic backchat. Just stay out of it; no one likes to hear a woman denigrating another.
What advice do you wish you could give your younger self, just starting out in the legal field?
Don’t sweat it. You will have a job on qualification, your student loan will get paid off, and the goals you set at 23? You’ll have aced the lot in the decade.
Apart from Manchester, where you are currently based, are there any other dream locations that you’d like to work in?
Honestly? Nowhere. I love this city.
My power outfit:
What occasion are you dressed for in the photo?
This was my first publicity shot for the Manchester office. I usually wear dresses to work because of my shape, and this was a new one for the shoot.
Why did you choose this particular outfit?
Red is our corporate colour so I knew it was the only colour to wear. I also wanted something new for the shoot and my new role. I felt it showed I meant business and had pride in being chosen for the position.
We at My Little Black Book think women should feel unstoppable when wearing their power outfit. What does the term ‘power outfit’ mean to you?
It’s the outfit that makes you walk tall, feel confident, and sing ‘I’m Every Woman’ in your head (or out loud) as you walk down the street.
What item of clothing do you own that makes you feel most empowered when you wear it?
Heels, black dress, and Chanel pearls. I’m not to be trifled with when I have the pearls on.
Do you feel that there needs to be a balance between being able to express yourself through your work clothes and keeping a certain level of formality (particularly in an environment such as a law firm)?
Yes, I do. I’m not a fan of dress down, especially when clients can come into the office unexpectedly. Ultimately, client service is at the heart of what we do as lawyers and clients expect that formality. It’s about identifying your professional self and expressing that personality through more formal channels.
Are you an outfit pre-planner or is it just what feels right on the day?
I am, and have always been, a planner. I have a daughter who is almost two and I have both our outfits ready the night before to make for a smooth running morning. I provisionally allocate my clothes on a Sunday evening for the week ahead to make sure I have outfits for the important occasions coming up.
Which woman’s style do you most admire and why?
The Duchess of Cambridge gets it right every time. Chic, elegant, and feminine.
Do you think there are different expectations for how men and women should dress in the workplace, and do you think this can potentially affect a woman’s career?
That’s an interesting question. I don’t think there are overt expectations, and I think the way anyone chooses to dress affects their career, but, certainly, I think a woman’s choice of outfit draws more comments than a man’s.