You don't want to look like you just rolled out of bed.
Recognize that most judges are middle-class and have been practicing law for many years. The Judge will usually wear a black robe when they are on the bench. You need to dress conservatively, dignified, and discreetly as a sign of respect for the judicial system.
What NOT to wear to court -- YES, I've all of the items mentioned in court!
Sleeveless or muscle shirt - Exercise outfit - Nothing sexy or too dressy -- tight tops, short skirts, sequins, slinky top, revealing tops -- nothing you'd wear out on a Saturday night! - Sundress or strapless dress - Crop tops -- cover your belly button - Any top with spaghetti straps- T-shirts (especially ones with beer, drug or sexual references) - Anything you'd wear to do yard work - Athletic attire -- especially baseball caps - Jeans -- unless they are the only long pants you own - Clothing that is too small or too large or that reveals your underwear - Shorts or cut-offs- Hats - Footwear, such as:Flip-flop sandals, High heel spikes, Open-toed shoes or anything you'd wear at the beach -
Sunglasses -- unless medically prescribed - Lots of jewelry -- especially if it makes noise when you move.
Hygiene is important!
Don't look dirty or unshaven!
Cologne and perfume -- use very little -- too much and everyone will wonder what you are trying to cover up!
Don'ts: smell like cigarette smoke.
Smelling like pot -- that's a totally different problem!
Smelling of alcohol -- again that's a totally different problem!
Nails -- extremely long nails on both men & women, neon or bright nail polish -
Tattoos & Piercings -- Hide the tattoos if possible!
Remove excessive jewelry & piercings BEFORE entering the courtroom.
Bare legs or shoulders showing.
Ideas on what to wear to court
Conservative attire -- something you would wear to church, work or a nice social function. (If you wear a uniform to work, it is usually ok to wear to court -- unless you wear shorts to work.)
Wear clothes that fit -- if you have gained or lost a lost of weight, please buy something new for your courtroom appearance.
Suit with tie -
Sports coat -
Long-sleeve button-down shirt with a collar and long pants -
Wear a belt or suspenders to keep up your pants.
A nice dress or woman's business suit -
A conservative pants suit -
Conservative top and long slacks.
Jewelry -- less is more --
(If you claim you have no money, then wearing lots of jewelry is unwise!)
If you claim you are broke, wearing designer clothes and looking "perfect" is NOT a good idea!
Body piercings -- take them out BEFORE entering the courtroom!
Most judges are old and conservative. Approx. half the judges are women so ladies won't wear clothes that "show off your chest"!
Some additional ideas
Nails -- neat and clean. Neutral nail polish.
Shoes -- closed toe & conservative.
Hair -- Schedule a haircut 2 weeks before the court appearance. Look neatly groomed. If long, tie it back. No hairnets, rollers or combs.
Brush your teeth & use mouthwash.
Men -- shave before court & trim your mustache/beard.
Women -- wear very conservative make-up.
Use soap & water liberally before coming to court .
Deodorant -- you will be nervous so be prepared.
If you perspire a lot, bring a handkerchief or whatever to look "cool and confident".
Use your common sense!
You are being watched from the moment you park your car. You might even park in the same garage as the Judge. You don't want to "stand out"! I've heard the clerks in the back hallway laughing about some people in the courtroom. Assume that the judge will hear their conversations. If you have no idea what to wear to court then have a relative or friend help you pick out your outfit.
If you claim that you are broke, looking like you just stepped out of a fashion magazine is NOT smart.