There’s a famous proverb, “clothes maketh the man”. While clothes may not literally make the man, they absolutely shape the way people see him. What you wear and how you dress yourself give compelling subconscious cues to the people around you. When you’re in court, with your future in the hands of a judge or a jury, it’s important to give off the right message about yourself. Trust me when I say this, how you look and how you act will influence the outcome of your court case.
Dressing for Court
A court is a place where you’ll want to give the idea of being an upstanding and mature citizen. If you walk in dressed up in an old pair of jeans and a printed t-shirt, you’ll send the sign that you don’t take the law or those around you seriously at all. It’s essential therefore, to find clothes that carry the way you want to be seen. If you are a man, wear a dark suit and traditional dress shoes. If you do not own a suit, a tie and jacket would suffice. A skirt or modest suit is the best bet if you are a lady. Do not wear anything extra revealing.
Court Dressing for Men
- If your pants have holes for a belt, then wear a dark leather belt. Make sure to properly tuck your shirt in, as you want to look clean and neat.
- Your shirt must have a collar—not a tank top or T-shirt. Please pick a long-sleeve dress shirt that nicely buttons up. If you don’t have a nice dress shirt, then you can wear a plain polo shirt, but ensure you wash it correctly, so you look tidy.
- You should wear a matching tie with your shirt. Aim for something relatively neutral. A check-patterned or solid-colored tie is best. Please avoid “millennial” ties—ties that have naked women. If you have a fresh sports coat to wear, then you can wear that as well.
- Please wear dress shoes if you have them instead of regular sneakers.
Court Dressing for women
- Wear slacks with a blouse or a skirt. The skirt should not be extra short. Ideally, it will fall at least a couple of inches above the knee. Avoid tight and mini-skirts. Your pants should also be full-length, not capris. Pair your slacks or skirt with a dress shirt or nice blouse. You may also pick a drycleaned sweater.
- Ensure the dress is not too revealing. Make sure there are no slits up the thigh. Ensure the dress is not a sparkling cocktail dress or anything intriguing like that. If the clothing shows off your shoulders or arms, you should match it with another shirt or sweater.
- Please don’t wear flip-flops. Dodge sneakers. Instead, wear a nice pair of polished shoes. The shoes do not need to have a long heel.
- Imagine what your grandma would say if she noticed you in your outfit. If grandma would not pass, then neither will the judge.
Another important thing t is your ability to come off as presentable and clean. A regular short haircut is best. If you are a man, ensure you are freshly shaved. Make sure you have adequately bathed. Brush your teeth well and make sure your nails are clean and tidy. Again, it’s all about looking respectful. You want to be seen as someone with respect for the law and those who carry it out. If you are a woman, ignore your makeup kit. Even an eyeliner is not needed.
How you carry yourself is also a significant indicator of your character. Stand up upright and don’t bow, but don’t come across as too rigid. When you are talking to someone, look them in the eye but don’t gaze. Sit up straight in your place; you don’t want to seem inattentive at your own trial. While you don’t want to seem stiff, err on the side of too formal rather than too comfortable.
If you follow these suggestions, you stand a much higher chance of being taken seriously and having the court appearance go in your favor.
Remember: the key is to seem respectful and mature. All you need to do is act accordingly.