Style Yourself: How to Dress for Court

Lindsay Lohan Probation Status HearingIf you are in a position where you have to be in court (and you’re not a lawyer) deciding what to wear is probably the last thing on your mind. A courtroom can be a scary place but believe it or not, wearing the proper attire is key because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Remember the Golden Rule …

Of the courtroom that is! If you wouldn’t be comfortable wearing it to a religious ceremony, then you shouldn’t be wearing it in the courtroom. Leave your personal style at the door and keep things nice and conservative (and professional). Remember, the way you dress and present yourself is a direct reflection of your credibility

Flash Free Zone

Save your flashy clothing and accessories for the weekend. The last thing you want to is distract the judge or jury. You’re there for your testimony, not to be noticed for your outfit. Avoid anything outrageous aka bold or expensive jewelry, loud colors, distressed clothing. Oh and in case this isn’t obvious, never wear a hat inside a courtroom.

Plain Jane is A-OK

Jurors tend to perceive witnesses they identify with more favorably, so try to leave the designer suit and expensive jewelry at home – the more plain the better.

Comfort is Key

Wear something you are comfortable in. If you are uncomfortable, it could come across as nervous behavior (shifting, fixing, pulling on, etc.,)

Wardrobe Checklist

  • Dress suit or pantsuit (beige, gray or blue suits encourage the perception of being more approachable)
  • Sweater-set with dress pants
  • Solid-colored blouse
  • Conservative dress shoes
  • No jewelry or very delicate jewelry (wedding ring, dainty necklace)

The MAJOR Don’ts List

  • Busy patterns
  • Low-cut blouses
  • Short skirts
  • Tight clothing
  • Spiked heels, flip-flops, sandals, and other open-toed shoes
  • Black suits (research suggests that people wearing black have been perceived by others as aggressive; and for women specifically, black may convey a “cold” persona)

Helpful link: Master list of dress codes by state

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