For Morenike Fajana, a public interest tenant lawyer, each workday can be different. Her daily schedule — appearing in court, meeting with clients, working in the office or going to see someone’s home — dictates what she wears. But no matter what, Morenike strives to look professional. “I already look young,” she says. “I’ve had clients ask if I was an intern. I don’t want them to be like, ‘Who is this person that I am trusting with my housing situation and my life?'” Ahead, she shows us five go-to outfits, including a fun weekend look…
“I studied abroad in London, which really influenced my style. There’s a culture of being a little more dressed up there that I found endearing; people seem to take clothes and fashion more seriously. The general look is very ‘smart,’ as they say in the U.K. — understated but chic. It’s also where I discovered Topshop. One day, on a whim, I checked out the men’s section, and they had really great blazers and sweaters. I found this jacket there, too. The key to wearing men’s clothing is to make all your other clothes form-fitting, so you’re not swimming in your outfit.”
“My role is to represent tenants in Brooklyn Housing Court. (For example, I defend tenants in eviction cases and investigate landlords who may not be following the law.) When I go to court, I don’t like wearing a suit; it feels dowdy. So, as a way around it, I’ll wear a sheath dress with a blazer, and so do most of my female colleagues. A blazer is the key to making anything — even a sweater and leggings — look professional. The male lawyers wear suits, but change into khakis and button-ups when they get back to the office. It goes along with our work ethos. Because we’re a public interest non-profit representing low-income New Yorkers, we want to make sure our clients feel comfortable when they come in, not like we’re better than them or something.”
“My mother is always very well-dressed. She’ll do monochromatic looks — red top, red pants, red jacket — in a way that’s very elegant. When I was younger she’d say, ‘If you get good grades this year, I’ll take you shopping.’ It was a good system of bribery and cultivated my love of fashion. We’d go to the mall and stop by Macy’s for her and Abercrombie for me. We still go shopping together, although my taste has changed — my mom is ride or die for Macy’s. Hoops are her signature style. Over the holidays, I was going out with a bunch of cousins, and my mom and all the other aunts were like, what is everybody going to wear? My mom gave me these earrings and told me to hold onto them. I don’t usually don’t do big earrings, but she’s trying to get me to step outside my comfort zone.”
“I’m not a big online shopper; I prefer to try things on in stores. Seeing something on somebody who is 5’10” and waifish is not a good approximation of what it will look like on me. Also, I love the experience of shopping. I’ll shop for myself, my boyfriend, my little brother! Anybody! Any occasion! Lately, my go-to spot is Nordstrom Rack, where you can get great deals. It can be overwhelming, so I try to go with a purpose. I’ll say, I need work dresses or I need a black turtleneck, so I’m not just roaming around.”
“I’m all about getting dressed up, I associate it with fun nights out with my best friends. I also just love the whole getting ready process: doing my hair and makeup while drinking rosé. If I’m going to dinner or out on a Saturday night in the city, I’ll wear a high-waisted jumpsuit. They’re classy and sexy without showing too much skin. They’re also pretty versatile; I’d even wear one to work in the spring… with a blazer over it, of course.”
Thank you so much, Morenike!