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What To Wear To Court

Your appearance in court is your first impression of the judge and jury. Whether you are there as a defendant or plaintiff, your attire can significantly impact your case. Wearing proper clothes in a courtroom shows that you are respectful to the judge, jury, and other people in court. Here are some tips on how to dress when you go to court. 

Do courtrooms have a dress code?

Many courtrooms in the U.S follow dress code requirements. If the court has an official website, it is worth visiting it to check if there is any instruction on what to wear. You can also consult with your attorney. According to a study by Loyola University School of Law, "clothing that distracts or offends" can undermine the professional atmosphere of a courtroom.

Even if the courtroom does not have a dress code, you must show professionalism. Dressing appropriately conveys the message to the judge and jury that you take your case seriously and respect the conventions of the court. For instance, in a case where you are accused of neglect and irresponsibility, showing up in court properly dressed can have a positive influence on the decision of the judge and jury.   

The type of case can also be an important factor in your choice of clothing. For example, if you are defending against a case related to a financial matter, it is best to avoid expensive brands in clothing and accessories. The biggest risk of not dressing appropriately is that you risk being perceived by the jury or judge as dishonest. 

What to Wear to Court for Men

Wearing a business casual suit and tie would be appropriate for most courtrooms. Men should also have their hair groomed to look neat.  

Men have multiple choices for wearing casual business attire to the court, such as a sports coat, buttoned-up formal shirts, nice shoes, and accessories. Keeping it simple is easy and pleasant to the eyes. There are a few things you should completely avoid wearing, including the following: 

  • Flipflops 
  • Sandals 
  • Excessive jewelry 
  • Sleeveless t-shirts or tank tops. 
  • Shorts 
  • Clothes with sexual or abusive language or images 
  • Clothes that portray your political or religious affiliation 

Showing up in court wearing overwhelming patterns or flower-printed clothing might not offer you the best impression. You must appear serious and focused on the matter at hand inside a courtroom. 

What to Wear to Court for Women 

Women have a lot of choices when it comes to courtroom attire, but like everyone else appearing in court, it is best to stick to conservative and formal dressing. The hairstyle you wear to the court must be neat. If you have long hair, consider a professional-looking ponytail. 

You can wear business casual attire such as dress pants and a buttoned-up shirt. Wearing a decent and conservative suit is appropriate for women in a courtroom. They should try to appear professional and respectful with formal clothing. There are a handful of things to avoid wearing when in a courtroom, including the following: 

  • Low-cut dresses or blouses. 
  • Short dresses or skirts. 
  • Excessive accessories 
  • Open-toe shoes.
  • Clothes that are too tight
  • Clothes with sexual or abusive language or images 
  • Clothes that portray your political or religious affiliation

Do not wear anything too revealing or form-fitting, as most courtrooms strictly follow a conservative dress code. Being a defendant in court can require extra thought in matters of dressing, arriving, and body language. Arriving in court well-dressed can convey that you have respect for the criminal justice system and are a responsible individual. When you appear well-dressed, it gives you a good start in your case.  

Get Guidance From an Attorney 

Here is an example of how you should dress for court in South Florida. Not all courtrooms have specific dressing requirements, which is why you must consult with your attorney before appearing in court. Experienced attorneys can guide their clients on what to wear in court and how to look professional. Attorneys represent your case, and if you dress appropriately, it benefits your case. 

If you have a physical disability or a skin condition, discuss it with your attorney on what would be appropriate to wear to court in that condition. If you adhere to any religious dressing, inform your attorney and discuss how you can make your clothing appear more professional and suited for the courtroom. It is common for city courtrooms to have a more traditional attire than courtrooms in suburban or rural areas. 

 If you don’t have time to consult an attorney, it is a safe bet to keep it neutral by dressing in simple and fully covered clothing and not wearing any bright colors or distracting patterns.