What To Wear In Court

June 13th, 2018



By:  Austin E. Williamson and Heather Rooney McBride

One shouldn’t “judge a book by its cover”; however, when going to Court, judgments are sometimes made in part based on appearance.  Court is by no means a fashion show, and no one expects you to dress like your attorney, but making a good first impression on the judge is important.  The judge has only a short amount of time to decide whether you are reliable, responsible, and trustworthy, and in cases regarding children, the judge must decide if you can be entrusted with the care and custody of a child.

So, what does that mean? Should you wear a tie? A dress? Shiny shoes?  If you wear a suit or jeans, the most important consideration is whether it portrays to the court that you are taking the process seriously, and that you care enough about yourself and the Court to present yourself respectfully.  To that end, think conservative in your appearance choices, and consider some of the following tips:

  1. Wear clean and unwrinkled clothing;
  2. Wear clothes that fit appropriately, meaning no baggy or oversized clothes;
  3. No clothes with offensive or vulgar language or depictions;
  4. Limit the amount of skin you show — no tank tops, no midriffs, no clothing with holes or rips in them (even if the clothes are made that way or fashionable outside of Court);
  5. No hats;
  6. Wear sensible shoes — no open-toed sandals, no flip-flops, or any shoe wear that you might wear to the beach;
  7. Keep undergarments (boxers, underwear, bra straps, etc.) where they belong — under your garments;
  8. Try to remove any piercings not in your ears;
  9. Try to cover up or conceal any tattoos; and
  10. No multi-colored or unnaturally colored hair.

While the tips listed above are of a general and encompassing nature, many courts will have local rules about what is and is not allowed to be worn in the courtroom; it is a good idea to look online or visit the court clerk for specific dress code information.

Dressing respectfully for Court will not change the facts of your case and certainly will not be the sole factor that wins the case for you, but any positive impression you make on the judge will be advantageous.  If you have a pending case, or need to file one, and you would like to know more about the intricacies of making a good first impression on the court, please contact Rooney McBride & Smith, LLC today to schedule a consultation.