What Should I Wear to Court?

rack of clothes

Whether you’re having a major trial or a simple uncontested divorce appearance, going to court can make normal people nervous (as opposed to non-normal: lawyers). And the last thing you need to worry about is your outfit. BUT… what you wear can be important. Maybe more important than what you wear is what NOT to wear sometimes.

The standards are different in different counties and with different judges. I used to tell clients to dress like they were going to church, but that’s not really a good guide anymore. I wanted to say dress like you’re going to a funeral, but didn’t want to seem morbid. So, maybe dress like you’re going to a job interview. But in general, if you dress respectfully you’re good. What does that mean? Remember you are in a place (the courtroom) that is very formal, conservative, and traditional.

  • Your shirt should have sleeves. Yes, even in the summertime ladies. You need to wear a jacket or sweater over your sleeveless dress/top when you are in the courtroom, or you might be asked to step out and you can’t get divorced in the hallway.

  • Your clothes should not have words or pictures on them unless it is a work uniform - please do not wear anything with curse words or pictures of marijuana leaves. Please.

  • Please do not wear shorts of any length or very short skirts.

  • Please do not wear a hat, cap, or anything else on your head.

  • Please do not wear flip-flops, stiletto heels, or slippers.

  • Please do not wear a lot of jewelry.

  • Men often ask me if they should wear a suit. It should please you to hear that it’s not necessary. You don’t have to wear a coat or tie, though it would be fine if you do.

  • Wear a belt if your pants are droopy.

  • Don’t wear sloppy, ill-fitting, or dirty clothes.

Look, it’s old-fashioned and super boring and unoriginal and potentially sexist, and if you don’t like the dress code, I understand. But don’t sacrifice your case to be a rebel in court.

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