What to Wear in Court

 “So, you’re going to court and wondering what you should wear? Check out my top 7 recommendations on what to wear when going to court”.

This will, of course, be oriented to what men should wear in court!  Attorneys, witnesses, defendants, and jury hopefuls.  Judges wear a uniform. *

It matters what you wear to court.  Everyone in the courtroom will notice, even if it’s subliminal (read First Impressions).

And it doesn’t matter if it’s the Supreme to Small Claims court; even Judge Judy (especially Judge Judy!).

 

Your mission is to present the best image you can to the court and to accomplish two things:

  1. Show your respect for the court and process.
  2. Prove that you are taking the matter seriously.

Your case many not be won based on how well you dress but you sure don’t want your case lost for that reason, either!

Be super polite and respectful to everyone around you. This includes courtroom staff, the security guards, and if it applies, your fellow jurors.  And make sure you show up early!

A suit or sport jacket, white or light blue long sleeved dress shirt, a necktie (subtle blue or burgundy) and leather shoes are basic.  Clothes should be modest, clean and fit you well.

Think job interview!

Court is not the place to show off your individuality or express yourself.

NO Distractions! I normally recommend pocket squares and tan shoes with most suit colors but NOT for this occasion.  Allow any focus on you to be about your message, not about your appearance.

1.  Clothing

DO

Conservative colors – navy, gray suits/ white, light blue shirts/ burgundy or navy neckties.

NEVER let them take you to court in an orange jumpsuit!

DON’T

No bright colors

Hats or caps.

Jeans or Shorts

Sleeveless Athletic tee shirt or Muscle shirts

Exercise clothes

Consider leaving your prominent brand names at home.

Just be aware there are certain brands and images that are associated with criminal activity.

Hoodies!

 

 

2.  Clothing Fit

DO

Trousers worn on your waist and secured with belt or braces (never both)

DON’T

Loose, ill-fitting clothing

Your attorney may be helpful in advising you how to dress.

3.  Shoes

DO

Leather shoes, polished

DON’T

Tennis, or sport shoes, sandals or flip-flops

4.  Jewelry

DO

Minimal jewelry including cuff links, gold chains, no earrings

Bling says “I’ve got plenty of money”

DON’T

Sunglasses

5.  Hygiene

DO

Make sure nails are neat and clean.

Brush your teeth and use mouthwash.

Men, shave before court and trim your mustache/beard.

Cologne and perfume. Use very little. Too much and everyone will wonder what you are trying to cover up!

Deodorant. You will be nervous, so be prepared.

DON’T

Look dirty or unshaven.

Cologne and perfume. Use very little. Too much and everyone will wonder what you are trying to cover up!

Smelling like cigarette smoke.

Smelling like pot. That’s a totally different problem!

Smelling of alcohol. Again that’s a totally different problem!

Nails – extremely long nails on both men and women, neon or bright nail polish.

6.  Hair

DO

Conservative haircut

Short hair – nothing past the top of the ears

DON’T

Wet and messy.

Dirty.

Unnatural dye job.

Weird or unusual haircut.

Hide tattoos (if you can)!

7.  Tattoos and Body Piercings

DO

Remove visible body piercings.
If tattoos are visible try to cover them.

 

 

Your future may be up to how you impress these guys!

Why judges wear robes

Most countries have based their court system on England where robes became the standard uniform for judges during the reign of Edward II, (1327 — 1377). Robes had been the standard dress for academics for over a century (caps and gowns!).  

Black robes became popular in the middle of the 18th century. Before that, English judges typically wore a scarlet robe with a black scarf and a scarlet hood and white wigs when presiding over criminal cases. But for civil cases, they often wore black silk robes.

When the USA was established to show their “independence”, the powdered wigs were discarded but the robes wear kept.

Judges wearing nearly identical black robes is a way of showing that all judges are united in the same responsibility to uphold the law. The simplicity of their attire can symbolize the judges’ neutrality and humility as servants of the people, and can also represent prestige, government power and authority.