Mitchell Lattof | November 11, 2020 | Personal Injury
As any litigant, defendant, plaintiff, or lawyer can tell you, how you present yourself in court matters a great deal. Both the judge and members of the jury will take notice of your clothing, shoes, how you style your hair, and whether or not you have tattoos showing.
While your attire might not decide your case for you, next to picking a qualified lawyer, wearing appropriate clothing is one of the most important things you can do to help your cause.
Just as you would never underdress for other formal gatherings and meetings like a job interview, funeral, or wedding, it is advised that you take great care when choosing what to wear to court. It is also important that you think about several things you should not wear.
While the following might not be hard and fast rules, they offer a guideline or framework for choosing how best to appear in court.
You might not need to wear a suit and tie to court (though it wouldn’t hurt), adopting an overall conservative dress approach is your best bet. For men, this means wearing slacks or dress pants instead of jeans, sweats, or shorts. In fact, many courts in the country won’t even let you in if you are wearing shorts.
For women, conservative dress means making sure shoulders and midriff are covered, sleeves are past the elbow, and skirts or dresses past the knees. Clothing should also fit correctly, being neither too loose nor too tight.
Other tips lawyers keep in mind when appearing in court include:
- Wearing neutral colors, nothing too bright
- Looking professional: pantsuits, dresses, and skirts for women, suits for men
- Keeping it simple: don’t over accessorize
As noted above, there is a lot more to a person’s look than the clothes they are wearing. There are also certain ways to approach everything from footwear to jewelry and from hair to makeup that will either go over well or miss the mark.
Footwear and Accessories
When it comes to footwear, both men and women want to avoid anything that is open-toed. Also, anything too casual, like athletic shoes, is a no go.
Instead, men should wear dress shoes that are free from any significant scuffing and women should wear shoes that are professional and don’t have a huge heel.
Outside of wedding rings, watches, or a simple necklace, there aren’t very many accessories that are necessary in a courtroom either. Piercings of any kind are ill-advised in a courtroom and all tattoos should be covered.
Finally, keep in mind that if you are portraying yourself as someone with modest economic means, too many accessories can contradict your message.
Hair and Makeup
Men should adopt a clean-shaven and trimmed look when going to court. You may want to even get a haircut scheduled a week or two before your court date. Looking put together and well kept can help your case immensely. This is especially true if the other side fails to do the same.
Women should stick with their natural hair color and use makeup sparingly. Anything over the top will attract attention and could bring judgment. Finally, both men and women need to style their hair modestly. Mohawks and prom hairdos can wait for another day.
Make sure to completely groom yourself before arriving in court. Shower, brush your teeth, and wear plenty of deodorant.
Many Courts Have Rules About Courtroom Attire
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Mobile or have suffered an injury due to medical negligence, you might find yourself before a judge as you seek compensation. If you’re concerned about what to wear, as your attorney where your hearing or trial is being held. Then, take a moment to do a quick search online. Most courts – including the Mobile Municipal Court and Thirteenth Circuit Court of Alabama – have information about their dress codes posted online.
Ask Your Lawyer
If you’re still not sure what you should wear to court, ask your lawyer. Lawyers appear in court all the time and know firsthand what judges and juries are looking for. And remember, your appearance in court is a crucial part of your case so dress to impress.