What Should I Wear When I Go to Court? 5 Rules of Courtroom Fashion You Won’t Want to Break!

Many clients ask basic questions like: “What should I wear when I go to court?” or “What should I wear to my court hearing?” If you are a defendant in a criminal case, a professional appearance is vital for making the right impression, but if you are a witness or jury member, you will want to dress appropriately as well. Appearance is a matter of opinion, but here are a few important recommendations:

  1. Follow Your Attorney’s Advice.

Occasionally, a client will hire an attorney and then not follow the advice of the counsel he or she is paying for. Most attorneys will advise you to be clean, dress conservatively, and look and act professionally at all times while in court. With a jury trial, appearance is of utmost importance for the defendant, and your attorney will have a very specific strategy about how you should be dressed. For legal advice from an experienced attorney, feel free to contact David Knecht, at davidknechtlaw.com.

  1. Obey the Court Rules.

The general rule for most courts is no hats, shorts, tank tops, tube tops, bare feet, food, drink, gum chewing, or weapons. You will be run through an airport-like security when you enter the court, so do not think that you can violate these rules.

  1. Leave Your Cell Phone and Other Electronic Devices in the Car.

Some courts will not allow you to enter with a phone, pager or other electronic device. For others, you are allowed to bring them in, but required to keep them off. A good rule of thumb is to leave your devices in the car or at home.

  1. Look Professional.

Dress in business casual attire, meaning no jeans, no t-shirts. If you have tattoos, wear clothing that covers them as much as possible. Make sure your clothes are clean.

For men: Do not wear jewelry, except a nice watch. Wear nice slacks and a button down shirt or a business suit. Wear clothes that are conservative in color, not brightly colored or printed. If you have long hair, pull it back into a pony tail.

For women: Wear conservative clothing that is professional in appearance. You will be sitting and standing, so choose something that is comfortable and appropriate to both situations.

  1. Speak Appropriately.

The final touch to your professional appearance is a courteous and respectful demeanor. If you speak to the judge, address him or her as “You Honor.” Avoid using swear words or slang. Treat the courtroom staff with respect.