How to dress for Court

How to dress for Court

By M. J. Goodwin

This one may seem like common sense, but I notice a lot of people dressed inappropriately for Court.  Court is a conservative, traditional place.  That seems to be lost on some people.  So I thought I would list what is appropriate and what is not.

Let’s start with clothing that is NOT APPROPRIATE for Court:

  1. Pajamas
  2. Droopy pants (nobody wants to see your underwear)
  3. Tank tops or tube tops
  4. Exposed bras or undergarments of any kind
  5. Sequins
  6. Hats on men (women may wear hats indoors).  This is a long held societal standard.  Look it up if you don’t believe me.
  7. Shorts
  8. Flip flops
  9. Swim suits
  10. T-shirts with odd, vulgar or offense messages written on them.
  11. Pants with “juicy” written across the rear end.  Really there should not be anything written on the read end of one’s pants.
  12. Anything that shows your mid-drift area.
  13. “See through” clothing of any kind
  14. I also advise people that if you have an odd or an unusually high number of facial piercings or tattoos, you might want to remove or cover those for Court.  Those super large earrings that make tunnels in the ear lobe should also be removed.   I also prefer that my clients have a hair color that occurs in nature (not purple or pink or green) for hearings.

Clothing that is fine for Court:

  1. Slacks and a clean shirt, preferably with a collar for men.
  2. A suit in a conservative color.  Purple, mustard yellow and chartreuse are not typical colors of men’s suits.
  3. A sport coat
  4. A dress
  5. Modest, clean blue jeans.
  6. A skirt and a conservative blouse
  7. Ties are nice for men, but not mandatory.  If you wear a tie, nothing with a vulgar message.

This is not rocket science and didn’t require a law degree for me to learn.  The bulk of this information was taught to me by my parents.  But apparently a lot of folks are not getting the message today.  Some Judges have begun turning the inappropriately dressed away from Court.  Our firm advises all of our clients on how to dress for Court. We have even pre-approved outfits for the fashionably challenged or those who were not sure.    We go to Court pretty much every day and know what is expected.  We are happy to share that knowledge with our clients.  It is always better to ask if you are in doubt.

So why dress for Court?  In short:  respect.  Looking decent and conservative for Court shows that a litigant respects both himself or herself and the process.  In a jury trial situation, impressions are crucial.  One wants the jury to see a respectable, law abiding person, not a fashion rebel with green hair, a nose ring, and exposed underwear.  I am sure people have valid reasons for the things that they wear out in public.  But Court is not the place for one to try to look like a renegade.



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