For court, you want to look responsible and mature.
Your appearance is the first impression that the judge and jury will receive of you.
The best course of action is to dress like you are going to work in a professional business environment or to church.
But, what exactly does that mean?
What Should Women Wear to Court?
Aim for professional business attire. You should not look too casual (like you're going grocery shopping or to work out) or too dressy (like you're going to a wedding or headed out on Saturday night).
It is best to stick to neutral colors like black, gray, or navy. Avoid showing too much skin. Long sleeves and covered cleavage is best. Shoes should be conservative dress shoes or pumps.
Women should also avoid bright colors and loud patterns. You should avoid overdoing your hair, accessories like piercings or multiple rings, and heavy makeup. Less is more.
Your hair and face should appear clean and freshly washed but not wet. Wear antiperspirant.
What Should Men Wear to Court?
The best court attire for men is a business suit and tie. If you do not own a suit, you should wear a long-sleeve dress shirt and a tie with or without a sportcoat and long dress slacks with dress shoes. Don't forget to wear an undershirt and a belt.
Neutral colors such as black, grey, and navy are best for your suit or slacks. Stick to white or light blue for your dress shirt.
Your hair and face should appear clean and freshly washed, but not wet. Facial hair should be clean-shaven or neatly trimmed. Wear antiperspirant.
What Not to Wear to Court
What items should you avoid wearing to court?
- Shorts or cut-offs
- Sleeveless shirts, spaghetti straps, tank tops, or muscle shirts
- Sundress or strapless dress
- Athletic attire, leggings, or exercise outfits
- Clothing that reveals your undergarments
- Clothing that appears too dressy or sexy
- Clothing that is too form-fitting or too baggy
- Clothing that is too short. Dresses or skirts should be to your knee. Otherwise, wear pants.
- Crop tops or clothing that reveal your midriff
- Jeans (unless they are the only long pants you own)
- Sneakers or tennis shoes
- Sandals or flip flops
- Open-toed shoes
- Stilleto heels
- Untrimmed fingernails
- Bright or chipped nail polish
- Piercings. Remove any other than a single pair of conservative earrings
- Jewelry that makes noise
- Hairnets, rollers, or combs
While "don't judge a book by its cover" is great advice to give, it's unfortunately not the reality when headed to court. First impressions are made within seven seconds and how you look in court can affect the judge's opinion.
Keep in mind the above tips to look respectful and follow the general dress code of the court for your hearing or trial.
Finally, remember to be respectful and courteous in the courtroom. Speak clearly and listen to the judge and others. Respect the court’s rules and procedures. It is important to show that you understand the gravity of the situation and are taking it seriously.