When you appear in court, you want to make a good first impression. The judge or jury will look you over and judge you in a matter of seconds, so dressing appropriately can positively impact your case.
Whether you enter the courtroom as a plaintiff, defendant, or witness, the goal is to look respectable, harmless, and credible. When I was a teenager, I received my first speeding ticket. My father had me dress in my “Sunday Best” to show the court respect. I understand that attire for church has evolved over the years and everyone’s “Sunday Best” may not be the same. For men, your “Sunday Best” should be a suit or at the very least slacks and collared shirt. And yes, that means that you need to tuck your shirt into your pants. Women should wear a pant suit, dress, or skirt and shirt.
We like our client’s courtroom attire to be polished and modest. Here are some basic guidelines to help you prepare your attire for court:
- WEAR NEUTRAL COLORS
You should avoid bright colors such as red, pink and purple. Stick to navy, charcoal, white, and black. Bright colors could give the wrong impression to the judge or jury.
- CONSERVATIVE LOOK
Chose a traditional or conservative outfit. Keep tattoos covered up and remove body piercings if possible. Wear professional footwear. Leave your sandals at the beach.
- KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL
Clients should never wear shorts, t-shirts, or hats. One of my previous DUI clients appeared in court wearing a t-shirt that read, “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, Floor.” Needless to say, I had the case dropped down on the docket, so he could run to the nearby Wal-Mart to purchase a collared shirt.
Grooming is an important part of creating a positive first impression. Brush and style your hair. Refrain from wearing brightly colored hair. If you need a haircut or shave prior to appearing in court, then find time to make it happen.
- MODESTY IS KEY
If your clothing is too tight or low cut, it can undermine your credibility. Hem lengths for skirts and dresses should fall at the knee. Make sure your pants are the right length, so as to avoid tripping or looking like you are prepared for a flood.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE
Keep your accessories to a minimum. Avoid excessive jewelry, scarves, and patterned shoes. A conservative appearance in court will greatly outweigh flashy attire, so keep it simple.