Dress To Impress In The Courtroom

Posted on: 29 March 2017

It pays to take a few extra steps when preparing for your criminal courtroom appearance. Many people fail to recognize just how important first impressions can be. Your wardrobe choices can either show that you are a respectful, law-abiding member of society, or a disrespectful criminal. The judge, and the jury if your case calls for one, make tiny, almost unconscious decisions about you based on your appearance, so read on to learn more about making good choices when you get dressed for your court appearances.

Know the rules

While you won't likely find valuable fashion advice from the court system in your area, it is not uncommon to find that courtrooms have some guidelines about what should not be worn. Be sure to ask your attorney about what is not allowed. In many cases, headgear of any type is prohibited, unless you are donning it for religious reasons, and that includes those ubiquitous sunglasses perched on top of the head. You can just go ahead and forget wearing shirts or clothing with offensive messages or graphics as well. Being sent home to change clothes on the first day of your trial is both embarrassing and a bad way to begin.

What to wear in the courtroom

Your attorney will probably advise you to wear your best clothes, but that may not guide everyone in the right direction. What you consider your "best" may be inappropriate for this occasion. You might want to keep in mind clothing that you would wear to a somber occasion like a job interview or a place of worship. In general, stick with:

Women: A conservative dress, skirt or pants outfit with an optional jacket.

Men: Dress pants, shirt, tie and optional jacket. Note: do not wear a tie with a short-sleeved dress shirt (unless your name is Dilbert), but a jacket and dress shirt without the tie is acceptable. A nice pair of khaki pants and knit collared shirt (like a polo or golf shirt) is also appropriate if dress is more casual in your area, but is still respectful. Always tuck shirts in and wear a belt.

What not to wear in the courtroom

  • Faded and torn jeans
  • Shirts with no sleeves
  • Casual tee shirts
  • Shorts (cropped pants for women are okay, but stick with dressier fabrics)
  • Cleavage-baring tops
  • Short skirts or dresses
  • See-through clothing
  • Flip-flops (nicer sandals for women are okay, not so much for the men, however)
  • Sneakers
  • Exercise wear or "athleisure" wear.

Speak with your criminal defense attorney, such as Barbour & Simpkins LLP, for more information.


Staying Out Of Trouble

About a year ago, I realized that I was starting to bend the rules a little when I was out in public with my friends. I was really nervous about getting caught, so I started thinking more carefully about what I was doing and why I was doing it. However, one night, I decided to go streaking, and I was arrested. I realized that I needed to work with a criminal attorney to get the help that I needed, and I sat down with them to go over the details of my case. After a long and arduous court case, I had learned my lesson and stayed out of jail. This blog is all about staying out of trouble in the first place and knowing how to prevent problems in your personal life.