A first impression in court to a judge, the jury, the bailiff, the courtroom staff and even the prosecution is never something to ignore. Since a defendant often never testifies at trial, what one wears and what one carries to court are often scrutinized closely. Furthermore, one’s facial expressions and overall demeanor are also important.
Although it may be obvious to some, there are specific “do’s” and “don’ts” about what to wear to the courtroom. Generally, in a criminal case, the goal is to look as innocent as possible.
Tips for Men
Men should wear a suit and tie, which often shows confidence and the acknowledgment that you will go the extra mile. If you do not have a suit, you can appear business casual with a sports coat. If you do not own a suit or sports coat, you can wear a pressed pair of khakis and a tucked in, long sleeve button-up shirt.
Avoid wearing t-shirts, shorts, or sandals to court. Additionally, avoid wearing hats or jeans, unless they are the only long pants you own.
Tips for Women
Similar to men, the best tip is to appear professional. Wearing a pantsuit or skirt suit sends a powerful statement. When it comes to colors, ensure that they are either black, grey, navy blue, or tan.
Dresses are a great choice as well. Keep in mind, anything that is cut higher than right above the knee could be considered too high. Lastly, a conservative top and long slacks are just as good as a pantsuit or a dress.
Women should avoid wearing anything revealing, such as tight tops, short skirts, slinky tops, sequins, and revealing tops.