Think about your court date as a job interview for the rest of your life. You want to dress appropriately for the position you’ll be interviewing for. You want to look your best, convey your best self, and give off the right vibes to make them see you in the best light. In addition to being on trial, you’ll be meeting your potential future in-laws and their friends and family members. You want to make a good impression on them so they’re more likely to give your side of the story. Dressing appropriately for your case is a little more challenging than simply picking out an outfit in the morning. You’ll be doing it in front of a judge, jury, and everyone else who’s involved in the case. You want to look your best, but you don’t want to stand out. This can be a fine line to walk. Here are a few tips on how to dress appropriately for court without standing out as either a fashionista or a slob.
Be on your A-Game
First and foremost, you should be taking this opportunity to learn as much as you can about the legal system and how your case will be processed. If you’re not already in the habit of doing this, you should pick up a copy of the court house’s rules and regulations and read up on what’s appropriate for the courthouse you’ll be attending. Even if you don’t have a specific court dress code in mind, make sure you’re following the general guidelines. If you have a specific dress code in mind, it could be causing you to misjudge what’s appropriate for the courthouse.
You want to be as prepared as possible for your court date. This means having your case file with you at all times so you can quickly reference it while in the courtroom. It also means having your gear and being prepared to represent yourself. You want to be confident and do your best to avoid any nervous energy that could make you stumble or misspeak.
Be aware of the courtroom etiquette
Let’s start with the basics. You don’t have to stand up when the judge enters the courtroom. You don’t have to stand up when the jury enters the courtroom. You don’t have to stand up when the opposing side enters the courtroom. You don’t have to stand up when you enter the courtroom. You don’t have to stand up when you leave the courtroom. You can remain seated as long as you like during the majority of the proceedings in the courtroom.
A courtroom is a professional setting where lawyers, judges, and witnesses address professional issues. This means there are a few guidelines you should be following regardless of what kind of case you’re part of. – Address the judge – Always address the judge when speaking or entering the courtroom. You can call the judge “she/he” or “M’Lady/Sir” but don’t address the judge as “you” unless he or she says “you may address me as ‘Judge.’” – Rise – A judge will usually call the courtroom to order with a “rise” or “all rise” when entering or taking a seat. If you aren’t in the courtroom yet, stand up and wait until you’re called to sit down until you sit back down. – Remove cellphones – Even if you’re in a courtroom that doesn’t have a specific no cellphone policy, you should follow the general court etiquette and keep your cellphone on silent and out of sight. If you need to use your phone for notes or important court-related business, make a habit of taking the call outside of the courtroom either through the court’s public phone or a private call. If you must use a cellphone in the courtroom, place it on the table in front of you or in your bag. Follow this no cellphone policy without hesitation. – Avoid disrupting the proceedings – It’s fine to take notes and look through the court records while the judge is speaking. It’s not fine to talk out of turn or to constantly interrupt the proceedings.
Know what’s appropriate for your case
As a general rule, cocktail dresses and professionally-fit suits are not appropriate for court. These are not the outfits you want the judge and jury to see you in. You want to project an image of respect, authority, and professionalism. There are a few exceptions to this general rule. If you are being sued by someone wearing a suit, you can wear a professional suit yourself. If all parties in the case are wearing business attire, you can wear business attire as well.
Don’t wear anything related to the incident
While it’s fine to wear an outfit that’s not related to the incident you’re being sued for, it’s not fine to wear anything related to the incident itself. This means you can’t wear anything with your logo on it or anything that is related to your business, your job, or your work-related activities. You want to separate yourself from the incident itself and the business that led to the lawsuit.
Wear something neutral that’s not too formal
You want to wear an outfit that is neutral and not too formal. Neutral colors are white, beige, light grey, navy blue, brown, and black. Avoid wearing outfits with stripes, patterns, floral designs, or other overly-fancy designs. These are too formal and could make you stand out as either a slob or a fashionista.
Don’t wear clothing with logos or graphics
You don’t want to wear anything with logos or graphics on it. This includes clothing with your company’s logo, your name on it, or anything else that reads as too much or too explicit. You want to project a neutral image. Anything with logos and graphics could easily be mistaken for a logo or graphic related to your case.
Wear Monday through Friday neutral colors
As a general rule, you want to wear neutral colors throughout the majority of your case. You can wear a suit that has a pattern or a design on it, as long as it’s not overly-fancy. You don’t want to wear anything too formal or anything that is overly-casual. This is a job interview, not a trip to the beach.
Don’t wear clothing with offensive words or symbols
You don’t want to wear anything with offensive words on it. This is a general rule of courtroom etiquette. You don’t want to wear any clothing that could be mistaken for a profanity. This could make the judge or the opposing side think you’re unprofessional. It could also make the judge or the opposing side think you’re a mouthy person.
Don’t dress too formal or too informal
You don’t want to dress too formally or too informally. You don’t want to wear anything too formal or too informal. You don’t want to wear anything that’s too formal or too casual. You want to wear something that’s neutral and not too formal or too informal.
Courtroom fashion can be tricky, especially when it comes to dressing appropriately for your case. If you’re unsure how to dress for your court date, check out the resources below. You’ll find information on what to wear, what not to wear, and how to stay on your A-game while you’re in court.