When you’re going to court, it’s essential to know what you can and cannot wear. This thread answers some of the most common questions about what’s appropriate.
We hope this helps you land on the perfect outfit for your next court appearance or job interview!
Some jurisdictions have limitations on what is permissible for a courtroom. If in Doubt, check with an attorney familiar with local rules.
Generally, clothing should be conservative-fitting and not distract from testimony.
Table of Contents
- 1. Dark Vest
- 2. Dark Blazer
- 3. Wear A Collared Shirt
- 4. Wear Dark Leather Shoes
- 5. Keep Jewelry To A Minimum.
- 6. Buttoned Lapel Blouse With A Cropped Vest
- 7. Long Sleeve Shirts
- 8. Dark Pants
- 9. A Long Skirt With A Professional Blouse
- 10. Slacks And A Modest Sweater
- 11. Turtlenecks
- 12. Leather Shoes
- 13. Tie
- 14. Belt – Dark Color
- 15. Long Skirt
- 16. Jacket
- 17. Low Heels
- 18. Long Dress
- 19. Scarf
- 20. Court Shoes
- 21. Suit
- 22. Loafers
- 23. Knitted Turtleneck Dress
- 24. Belt Wrap Dress
- 25. Black Pantsuits
- 26. Pleated Knitted Dress
- 27. Knot Detail Shirt Dress
- 28. Flowy Bow Dress
- 29. Ruched Detail Dress
- 30. Black Two-Piece Suit
1. Dark Vest
Vests are a popular choice for court because they add a fashionable and professional touch to an otherwise drab outfit. The dark color hides small amounts of sweat and the texture of the fabric is suitable for those with sensitive skin. Some courts allow you to wear casual clothing that is not too distracting and has no political connotations.
2. Dark Blazer
Look at the judge and try to show some respect for the court. Think before you dress. Make sure your outfit fits and flatters you but doesn’t call attention to itself. There are different outfits to wear with blazers that women and men can wear to the court.
3. Wear A Collared Shirt
If the judge or court staff tell you that you must come to the courtroom dressed in formal attire (such as suits), then do so. People tend to choose a dress shirt pairing with a dress trousers in the dark color
4. Wear Dark Leather Shoes
You should always wear dark leather shoes to court. This is because the court may see you as someone who takes their work seriously and is willing to make a good impression. The dark color will also balance out the suit and tie you wear, rather than seeming too formal or flashy with a different shoe color.
5. Keep Jewelry To A Minimum.
Small, simple earrings and bracelets are usually delicate. Large necklaces are inappropriate for both men and women. Shirts should be long enough to tuck in at the waist of your pants or skirt.
This blouse will not distract the judge from your testimony should you be called to testify. A fitted blouse worn to the elbow with a cropped vest is acceptable. However, remember that if you are testifying in a large courtroom, a suit jacket may be acceptable if it is long enough to cover the shirt collar. Make sure that the collar of your jacket is not visible when seated or standing still in front of the jury or judge.
7. Long Sleeve Shirts
This cannot be easy to take off in a court setting, especially when lawyers have to exchange documents with their clients. However, wearing a long-sleeved shirt can help you lessen its impact on your testimony.
8. Dark Pants
Dark pants are a good choice for men. These gray pants are not to be worn with a sports coat, but this is not the case in many areas.
9. A Long Skirt With A Professional Blouse
A long skirt with a professional blouse is always appropriate; pants of any color are also acceptable. Highly colored or trendy items are not considered professional-looking or suitable in courtrooms/legal offices
10. Slacks And A Modest Sweater
Older women often wear a shirtwaist dress with a long sleeve sweater. For young women who want to dress professionally, consider a pantsuit.
A suit is appropriate if you work in the field. If you’re on the stand, attorneys should ask that you remove any hat or lay it on the table in front of you, so it’s not blocking your face from the jurors’ view. Some witnesses may need to remove their jackets while testifying.
While turtleneck sweaters are allowed in some jurisdictions, they’re not advised because they can obstruct the judge or jury’s view of the speaker, making it harder to communicate.
12. Leather Shoes
Do not wear shoes with spikes, points, or metal parts. Avoid all-leather shoes, which may be perceived as threatening
Avoid neckties and ties with large patterns or designs. Also, avoid brightly colored ties (red is a no-no; blue is best) and ties that are particularly shiny or have a texture (herringbone or anything resembling chain mail). A tie may be allowed, but if so, it should be black or brown.
14. Belt – Dark Color
Belts cannot have buckles bigger than three-and-a-half inches wide. They also cannot be metallic, shiny, leather straps with metal studs or leather straps with a triangular shape.
15. Long Skirt
Women should avoid mini-skirts (generally no above the knee) and should wear “dress slacks” or “dress jeans”, not casual or athletic clothing. Men should generally avoid large ‘dangly’ jewelry, long hair, shorts and tight clothing. Men must remove hats in the courtroom.
When a jacket must be worn in court, the jacket should have sleeves that are long enough to reach the wrist when the arms hang naturally at the sides and are not bent, and it should have a high buttoning point.
17. Low Heels
Low heel shoes are acceptable footwear with the exception of pumps, which are not allowed in the courtroom as they can be used to strike jurors/officers, and platforms, which should never be worn in the courtroom. In some states, sandals and open toe shoes are acceptable. In other states, you cannot wear open toe shoes because they may give rise to tripping hazards.
18. Long Dress
Long dresses, such as floor-length or longer, are not allowed in the courtroom. Shorter styles are acceptable, but cannot be too short for safety reasons; for example, a short-skirted dress is fine, but if it goes below the knee revealing bare skin in a dangerous area (such as the thigh or knee), it’s too short. Long skirts and formal dresses are subject to further restrictions on length
For men, a thin scarf is acceptable. While it may be considered formless, a scarf can be wrapped around the neck and tucked into the shirt to further accomplish this styling effect.
Cravats are not allowed in the courtroom. You may wear a bow tie as long as it does not identify you as being in the garment industry because of its color or other characteristics .
20. Court Shoes
In some jurisdictions, shoes must be closed-toed and have a heel no higher than 2 inches high. The general rule is that women should not wear open-toed shoes and men should not wear flip-flops or other sandals. Men may wear sneakers without socks.
If you are going to court for something simple, such as going in front of a judge to face charges or paying fines, then it is best to dress in a suit when going into court. This will show that you take your appearance seriously and want to present yourself in the best possible light before the judge decides if they’ll give you good judgment after your appearance.
A pair of loafers are allowed to wear to a court, except for doctors and nurses who have to wear shoes with non slip soles (can be sued for injury)
23. Knitted Turtleneck Dress
This type of dress looks elegant and is great for formal events. For those who have a big bust, it will provide great support and comfort. The dress should be worn with a pair of tan heels or brown shoes.
24. Belt Wrap Dress
Women can wear a wrap dress with a belt, but it must be covered by a jacket or sweater. If the dress is sleeveless or strapless, it’s not allowed.
25. Black Pantsuits
Men’s pants suits should be black in color and avoid pants with cuffs. Pants suits should be straight cut without pleats or gathered at the waistline; they may have front and back pockets.
26. Pleated Knitted Dress
This pleated dress looks flattering on women, and is more tasteful than a regular pencil dress. Knits are more forgiving to wear, but you should avoid something that will make you look frumpy. Make sure to use an appropriate colored scarf or jewelery to finish off the look. Also make sure that your hair is kept up neatly, as it can seem sloppy to go in with messed-up hair.
27. Knot Detail Shirt Dress
When speaking, this is the least restrictive option. High neck polo/ knit dress or button-down shirt: When speaking, this is a low risk outfit that can look professional and formal but not inappropriate in court.
28. Flowy Bow Dress
Flowy dresses are fine – just keep in mind that they tend to show off the body more. Also, keep the length appropriate for the courtroom.
29. Ruched Detail Dress
Ruched dress is a good choice as it can be easily paired with different shoes and accessories. It is also a good choice if you will be testifying in court. Navy, black and gray are the most common colors for this dress.
30. Black Two-Piece Suit
The two-piece suit is a classic wardrobe staple that will never go out of style. It’s also versatile so you can wear the jacket by itself when running errands on your lunch break.