What Should I Wear to Court?

Although court cases should ultimately be determined based on quality evidence and well-established arguments, your appearance can have a certain level of impact on a ruling. Regardless of the reason for appearing in court, it would be best to look professional and respectful

Dressing appropriately for a courtroom means wearing comfortable, well-fitted clothing that is conservative and subtle. Just as appearing sloppy can give the jury a poor first impression, dressing too sharp can draw a similar kind of unwelcome attention. 

What Not To Wear in Court

To understand the proper dress code for a courtroom, you first should recognize what may not be considered appropriate and why. Whether you appear in court in a medical malpractice case or to defend a parking ticket, it is vital to present yourself in a way that demonstrates respect for the judicial process. 

Proper behavior and attire can reassure the judge and any jury members that you are taking a case seriously. If the courtroom is under any impression that you do not care about the charges being brought before you, they may put less effort into hearing your side of the story. 

When appearing in court, you should avoid wearing casual clothing such as jeans, t-shirts, flip-flops, hats, or shorts. 

Additionally, clothing should not be revealing, dirty, or offensive. Sunglasses should not be worn, and accessories should not be excessive. It is essential to remain as neutral as possible and not call unnecessary attention to yourself through your attire. 

Some additional considerations when preparing for court:

  • Cover tattoos when possible
  • Avoid open-toed shoes or stilettos
  • Practice good hygiene
  • All clothing should be well-fitted and secure (no sagging pants or slipping dress straps)
  • Conservative makeup and hairstyling is preferable)

While some of these considerations may appear to restrict your individuality, remember that your primary intention of appearing in court is to plead your case. The focus of the courtroom should be on your arguments and evidence rather than your attire. Neutral and conservative wardrobe choices can help ensure that your side of the story is front and center.

Appearance Guide for Men

As with most formal interactions, men should wear a well-fitted suit if possible. If a suit is not available or fits inappropriately, a pair of slacks with a tucked-in dress shirt and tie is preferable. The button-down shirt should be neatly laundered and well-fitted. Neutral and conservative attire should be chosen over unusual patterns or bright colors.

In addition to your clothing, be sure to address any needs of physical care. It would be best if you appeared neat and well-groomed, with conservative and neutral-colored hair. Should you choose to wear jewelry, limit the number of pieces, and do not select anything too flashy. Cologne is acceptable in small amounts.  

Appearance Guide for Women 

Although women tend to have a broader range of choices regarding their wardrobe, the dress code for court remains consistent. Whether it is a dress, skirt-and-blouse, or pantsuit, the appearance should be professional. Neutral colors such as navy, black, khaki, gray, or other earth tones are preferable. Ensure that clothing is neatly laundered and well-fitted. 

Limit accessories and avoid wearing anything too flashy or noisy, such as stacked bracelets or dangling earrings. A female’s hair would preferably be clean and of natural color. Should you choose to style your hair, consider a conservative style. Women with long hair may consider pulling it away from their face to avoid fidgeting.  

Dress to Impress

Whether you are typically one to wear a suit and tie or dress, selecting your attire for court can influence the verdict or settlement. By taking the court of law seriously and showing respect to the judicial process, you can increase your chances of having your argument heard. 

Some courts may deny you access to the hearing if you are dressed inappropriately. Therefore, it is critical to abide by the dress code and represent yourself and your attorney respectfully.