What To Wear In A Courtroom
Y’all, I know I have court March 6 and I’m scared as hell lol. I don’t know what they will say or how this will go. I’ve never been to court…well, besides the traffic tickets lol. Since I have a baby face I need my clothes to fit the bill so, below I’ve provided a little guide that you can check out. It should be helpful for both women and men.
When it comes time to have your day in court, you want to dress properly for the occasion. According to Psychology Today, how you dress affects how you are perceived. This is true in the courtroom as well as other settings. Give your case the best possible chance of succeeding by going to court in an outfit that communicates that you take the legal process seriously. Because let me tell you, they are already judging you…you’ve been perceived as innocent or guilty and you don’t even know it.🙃
I know I found myself asking “what do I wear to court?” especially since it was my first time entering a courtroom. So, even if you have doubts about the pieces you’ve chosen, speak with your attorney about appropriate wardrobe choices for court. Your attorney is as invested in your case’s success as you are and will provide you with advice about how to best present yourself.
Also keep in mind that some pieces will give off the impression that you’re trying to make yourself look too innocent and I’ve also read that the color black is not a good choice either…but, I’m not sure about that.
Hopefully, you won’t be standing trial for a felony charge, however even in traffic court a man should not neglect what clothing he wears as judgments are made and rendered.
Dressing well in court also pays respect to the integrity of the judicial system. The United States is one of the few countries where participants in civil proceeding have a lot of flexibility in their dress – however that does not give us the freedom to dress as we please.
Note that judges can and will throw you out for dressing inappropriately – so take the time to select clothing that shows the judge, lawyers, and the legal clerks that you care about the laws and your rights.
What should a man wear to court?
The general rule is to dress conservatively. Depending on why you are summoned to court, a solid charcoal or navy suit with a white shirt and coordinating tie will pass any judge’s standards.
Find yourself in a rural area attending traffic court – then consider a sports jacket with slacks and slip-ons with no tie. A men’s navy blazer and coordinating trousers is also acceptable and shows the lawyers and judges present that you are mature enough to take their court seriously.
If you are being represented by an attorney, then listen to what he or she has to suggest and work with them to ensure you dress appropriately, especially if attending court outside the United States. Dressing down to seem innocent or dressing up to disassociate yourself from negativity could contribute to what the judge or jury think about you.
If you have a large number of tattoos consider strongly covering them with long sleeve clothing, even if they are military related. The judge will see your military service on your presented record – you can’t assume the jury will be able to see what they are from 20 feet away.
10 Proper Male Dressing Tips for Court
1. Know the court’s dress code – Either read about it on the courthouse’s website or call and ask; no excuse for ignorance here. And there is a difference between large city and small town courts. Judges and attorneys in rural areas may only wear odd jackets, dress shirt, and trousers around town and in court. Judges and attorneys in a metropolis like New York City or San Francisco will more likely be wearing 2 piece suits.
2. Be sufficiently groomed – Make sure your hair is brushed, and if you have facial hair it should be groomed and trimmed. Brush your teeth, wash your hands and please trim your fingernails. There is no need for cologne or aftershave; a judge will not make a decision based on how you smell assuming you showered and do not reek of alcohol.
3. Wear comfortable, fitted clothing – Some of you gentlemen might like the space that XXXL shirts and pants may have to offer, but to the law and the judge, over-sized clothing brings negative imagery to mind. Wear your pants around your waist. Tuck in your shirt. Wear a belt. And make sure that your clothing fits you. A simple visit to the court may take only an hour, while major procedures may last all day. Being comfortable in your clothing will better your posture and keep you focused.
4. Cover any tattoos and remove removable piercings that you wear to scream you are a non-conformist – Your friends, parents, and even boss may not have an issue with these – but a conservative judge 30 years your senior may.
5. No beach clothing – Do not wear sandals, shorts, and t-shirts to court. This is not the beach of San Diego or Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.
6. Avoid excessive jewelry – Keep the jewelry to a minimum – your wedding ring and perhaps one or two other simple pieces that haver either religious or personal meeting. In the United States, judges are not impressed by the display of gold on your fingers, neck, or wrists. In general keep all necklaces, earrings, nose rings, tongue or eyebrow piercings, gaudy rings and high priced watches out of sight.
7. No hats – If you go to court in winter you can wear a hat outside the courthouse, but once you enter remove your hat. Wearing a hat indoors is a sign of ignorance and worse disrespect. No baseball caps, no cowboy hats, and no top hats.
8. Minimize pocket bulk – Try to avoid looking like you’re expecting to be convicted and have brought all your worldly possessions with you. Many court houses now require screening and for you to leave many items outside – avoid the hassle or embarrassment by packing light and making sure anything that can be construed as a weapon stays at home. And turn your cell phone off!
9. Do not overdress – You need to be sensitive to appearing too dapper; no one like a man who tries to appear above others. Clothing such as a black tie ensemble does not belong, and if in a rural area you’ll want to even tone down your suit if you wear one at all. No pocket square or vest -do not outdress the judge and lawyers. Keep it simple, clean, and a manner that says nothing about you is pretentious. Do your homework and know the environment before you step into the court.
10. Never wear a costume or try to enter the courtroom naked – I do not make this stuff up – apparently, this English fellow appeared before a judge wearing only his backpack and beard. Other court attendees have tried dressing as the founding fathers to better make their case about how their rights are being trampled. Save the birthday suit and George Washington outfits for other occasions – a costume only alienates you.
What should a woman wear to court
COURTROOM ATTIRE IS IMPORTANT!
Make yourself look as attractive as possible (without violating the dress code)!
A recent study from researchers at Cornell University found that more attractive defendants were more likely than their less pretty counterparts to get light sentences: the less attractive criminals earned, on average, “22 months longer in prison.” One could easily see that a criminal defendant, or anyone involved in a court proceeding, might be considered more attractive to those involved in the process (prosecutor, judge, jury) if what they wear to court shows they have respect for what is going on around them.
It is preferable for females to wear a dress or suit or a skirt (preferably no more than two inches above the knee) and a blouse, sweater, or casual dress shirt. Pants are not preferred.
Colors are important!
Wear neutral, pastel colors.
DO NOT WEAR:
halter or tube top
clothing that exposes your midriff or underwear
baggy pants that fall below your hips
clothing with an emblem or wording that promotes illegal or inappropriate activity
clothing that depicts or promotes violence, sex acts, illegal drug use or profanity
any clothing that shows any part of your breast
extremely expensive outfits
flashy jewelry, i.e. “bling”
sandals or open-toe shoes
see-through or low-cut clothes
large bracelets, rings, cufflinks, tie tacks and earrings
red or pink clothing
all black clothing
more than one ring
Wear little or no makeup.
Remove all visible piercings. This specifically includes tongue piercings and nose rings.
Cover all visible tattoos.
Wear closed toe shoes.
Wear glasses if you normally wear glasses.
Wear your hair and nails trimmed and orderly.
Dress like a professional.
Dress conservatively and, when appropriate, wear good quality clothing.
If you have a choice, always dress as well as the other people who may appear in court.
Remember that the “good guys” never wear black.
Always be neat and clean.
Avoid putting anything on your hair that makes it shine or appear greasy.
Avoid wearing tinted or dark colored glasses in the courtroom (People will not believe you if they cannot see your eyes).
Wear only functional jewelry (e.g., wedding ring and wrist watch).
Avoid wearing items that may identify a personal association or belief. Political buttons, club pins, college rings, religious jewelry may trigger some prejudices against you in the mind of a judge or prosecutor.
Dress to fit the expectations of your audience; judges expect you to look like a professional.
Be clean. Nothing is more offensive than a bad body odor; it creates a negative aura around the person and conveys the image of someone with low self-esteem and lack of confidence. I cannot emphasize enough how important cleanliness is. Even if you cannot afford to buy soap, a quick shower with just water will do the job.
Wear plain patterns or floral patterns.
If you wear a dress or skirt, wear sheer, nylon pantyhose.
Remember that even a small flaw in your appearance will be noticed by the judge, jury, and opposing counsel, and it may hurt your credibility.
What colors are best for you.
What clothing styles look good on you.
What makeup is best for you.
How to make the most of your physical appearance.
If you have any questions about your attire, you should consult with your lawyer BEFORE you step in the courtroom!
In Conclusion I’ve said this once but I’m going to say it again. You’re being judged before you even know it. So if you want to get some kind of leverage, follow this guide. I swear just me stressing over what I’m going to wear have me feeling like I have the bubble guts. I’m scared boss 😩😩 lol. Anyway…there’s a diagram below…I got it from another website lol. Enjoy it 😊