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what to wear to court 



The way you look and what you wear says a lot about you. Do we like to think that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? While that may be true, it’s a fact that first impressions really count, and most people don’t take the time to get to know the “inside” if the outside isn’t dressed a certain way. This is true in life – and in the courtroom. Consider the following:

  • 3 seconds is the amount of time a person looks at you before making a “snap judgment”
  • Certain colors, patterns, etc. can sway another person’s opinion about you
  • Showing too much skin, piercings, tattoos, and dirty hair are all signs of a person who isn’t “serious”

This information was found by a study conducted by Emerald Insight and may help you make a good impression in court.

Going to court can be a nerve-racking experience for anyone – regardless of why you are there. One way to reduce some of the stress of the situation is by making sure you are dressed properly. Here you can explore some of the do’s and don’ts of what to wear to court, as well as some tips about your outward experience.

General Advice

The court is serious. If you look too casual, the judge may think you are not taking it seriously.

  • Dress like you’re going to your Mother’s church
  • Wear clothes that are modest and clean
  • Choose items that fit you properly

Avoid being a Distraction

At some point, you are going to be the center of attention. During the rest of the time, try to blend in. To do this:

  • Wear clothes that are simple
  • Choose neutral colors
  • Make the focus what you have to say, not your clothes

Men: What Not to Wear

Some of these “don’ts” overlap for men and women; however, some definite don’ts for men going to court include:

  • No caps or hats
  • No dark glasses
  • Minimal jewelry (remove earrings)
  • No bling
  • No jeans
  • No loose fit pants that show your underwear
  • No flip-flops, sandals or tennis shoes
  • Cover any visible tattoos

There are also a few general guidelines that can help your day in court go more smoothly, for example:

  • Wear glasses over contacts
  • Bathe and comb your hair
  • Chose a tie and long sleeve shirt with slacks and a coat
  • Wear loafers or dress shoes

Women: What Not to Wear

Just like with men, you need a clean, well-groomed appearance for your day in court. Some things to avoid include:

  • No dirty, wet or messy hair
  • Minimal makeup
  • No dark glasses
  • Minimal jewelry
  • No jeans or leggings
  • No low-cut clothing
  • No sleeveless tops
  • No heels, spikes, wedges, open-toed shoes, flip-flops, or sandals
  • No shorts, or capri pants or pedal pushers
  • No tight revealing clothing

Some general guidelines to help you with your dress for the day include:

  • Choose well-fit clothes that are neither too big or too small
  • Choose a sweater, skirt, slacks or other conservative clothing
  • Wear pantyhose with a dress or skirt in a neutral color
  • Choose flat shoes

Ask Your Attorney

If you are in doubt, ask your lawyer. If you don’t have an attorney, use the adage “dress for success” when getting ready for your day in court.

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