A Guide to Dressing for the Courtroom

When it comes to dressing for court, how you look is extremely important.

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“First impressions last”
Image via Shutterstock

Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where judgements came solely from character? A world where clothes and personal appearances held little social weight? 

Sadly, that just isn’t the case.

Humans respond very strongly to visual stimuli and judgements are made in snap decisions. This is particularly seen in a courtroom where judgements might dramatically affect sentencing.

Because of this, here are the top ten things to remember when dressing for court:

1. Ditch the hat

It might seem obvious, but wearing a hat inside is considered ignorant and disrespectful. Don’t take the risk, leave your baseball cap at home.

2. Cover tattoos

Tattoos might be more accepted these days in pop culture but a judge 40 years your senior might not share this same liberal outlook. To be safe, hide all tattoos with clothes and makeup.

3. Grooming

Brush hair, brush teeth and iron clothes. Basically present the most neat and upstanding version of yourself. This is the one environment where your neatness is under the most scrutiny, so make that extra effort!

4. Minimise jewellery

Less is more when it comes to rings and necklaces. Judges aren’t impressed by how much “bling” you have and don’t approve of flashy earrings or bracelets. A wedding ring is okay but tone down the glamour…this is court, not the runway.

5. Abide by the dress code

This is our final and probably most important piece of advice when dressing for court: most courthouses will have a dress code and this information can easily be found on a website or by calling and asking. If you aren’t sure whether a suit is compulsory or sneakers are banned, then this is the best way to be sure.

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