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What To Wear And What Not To Wear For Courtroom Success

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If you have a criminal charge pending and a visit to a courtroom in your future, you would do well to pay special attention to how you dress in court. If you are of the mindset that appearance doesn't matter, think again, particularly if your case is being heard in front of a jury. You can actually harm you chances for success by choosing an inappropriate ensemble, so read on to about what to wear and what not to wear to make an impression in the courtroom.

Allow your attorney to weigh in

Not all attorneys give fashion advice, so you should not be too surprised to hear them say in answer to your query about dress to "wear something nice." Don't take this vague bit of advice to mean that it doesn't matter, but instead to mean that the attorney is trusting in your own good taste to come up with an appropriate set of clothes for your day (or days) in court. Popular television crime dramas where defendants get a mini-makeover before court are, for the most part, a work of fiction.

The rules

Actually, there are very few official "rules' about what to wear to court, but if any exist for the particular courtroom, courthouse or judge, you should make it a point to find out about it well ahead of time. Often, these rules will be posted on the door of the courtroom which makes it too late to make a change if you are in violation. In most circumstances, head wear of any type is a no-no, unless you wear it for religious purposes. Many people may have a habit of sticking their sunglasses up on top of their head, but this may count as head wear in some courts. Clothing with offensive images or texts are also likely to risk a barred entry.

What to wear

While common wisdom advises people to dress in their "Sunday best", some people may need more information than that, especially considering how casual dress has become in places of worship now. In general, you cannot go wrong with:

Men (preferably)

  • Dress pants, dress shirt, tie and optional jacket. Do not wear a tie with a short-sleeved shirt, but you can wear a jacket without a tie.

Men (alternately)

  • Khaki pants (well pressed) and either a dress shirt or a collared polo/golf shirt. Shirts should be tucked in and a belt should be worn.


  • Fairly conservative dress
  • Dress pants and a blouse or sweater and an optional jacket.

What not to wear

  • Jeans
  • Sleeveless shirts (on men)
  • Tee shirts
  • Shorts, Capri's (cropped pants are OK for women)
  • Anything with holes, stains, worn out or wrinkled
  • Low cut tops for women
  • Very short skirts 
  • Sheer clothing
  • Flip flops (nice sandals are fine for women, but not for men)
  • Sneakers
  • Pajamas!
  • Sweat pants or shirts, yoga or exercise attire of any type

The main thought to keep in mind is to dress to show respect for the court, for the justice system, for the jury, and for your criminal defense attorney, like Law Office Of Les Downs. This is not the time to showcase your fashion sense, sexiness or your personality, so dress accordingly and appropriately.