Choosing an outfit for court can be an intimidating task. It’s typically not a choice you would make lightly, and there can be significant consequences if you make the wrong decision. To help you with your decision, we have compiled a list of 7 things to remember when picking an outfit for court. We hope this list will help ease some of your worries about appearing in front of a judge and create more freedom for relaxed court appearances.
Not all courts are the same. Some courts, like New York state, have stringent regulations regarding court attire. In contrast, other states are vaguer or don’t have a dress code. You will want to check with the court in question to determine what is appropriate in front of that particular judge. Failure to do so could result in your being held in contempt of court and possible arrest.
2. The Judge’s Preference
Each judge has their individual preferences when it comes to acceptable outfits for court. Some may prefer that you dress casually and others more formally, but not excessively. You will want to check with the judge before your appearance and see what they require from you.
3. Professional Appearance
While it may be tempting to wear something showy or flashy in court, you will want to keep your appearance as businesslike as possible. It includes avoiding out-of-season clothing and avoiding anything that could potentially embarrass you or your attorney with language on the front or back of your shirt. It’s also essential to keep your hair clean and neat when appearing in court.
4. Have Clothes Altered
The last thing you will want to consider is having your clothes altered before entering the courtroom. Many people would like a suit tailored to their specific body type. If you showed up in a suit or other attire and the judge didn’t know you or the lawyer, they might assume the worst and want you arrested on the spot. It can be avoided by having clothes altered. Altering your clothing to fit you perfectly can help you look presentable in front of a judge.
5. Check the Weather
You must check the weather before your appearance in court. There are many hot and cold days where attire may be more appropriate than others. Think about your attire on a summer day of 35 degrees instead of 90 degrees with 100% humidity. You will want to avoid being overly cold or overly hot without fail.
6. Accessorize Moderately
You will want to ensure that your accessories do not detract from your professional appearance. It means you should avoid wearing large amounts of jewelry such as bracelets, necklaces, etc. Accessories are generally considered okay if they are not distracting or overly noticeable.
7. Get a Hair Trim
If you are a man and have long hair, it’s vital that you get a haircut or at least clean up your hairline before you appear in court. Having messy or unwashed hair will give the impression that you don’t care about your appearance, which could affect the judge’s opinion of you. The same is true for women. Having messy, unkempt hair can be detrimental to your case.
Choosing an outfit for court can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. The most important thing is to research and determine what the judge in question expects from you. Make sure you have dressed appropriately for the weather, and get your clothes tailored if needed.