How should I dress for court?

One of the most common questions clients ask us is how they should dress for court. First and foremost, how you dress is important. When you enter the court room your appearance should be as clean and put together as possible so you give the best first impression. This isn’t about you being comfortable (sorry!), it’s about you giving the judge the best idea about you as possible.

The court room and judicial system in general all deserve respect. When you show up to court, how you dress says a lot about you and what you think of the court system. By showing up polished you’ll communicate that you respect it and those around you.

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How Men Should Dress For Court:

Men should dress in a long sleeve button down shirt with a collar and long pants. A belt or suspenders should also be worn to keep your pants up. If possible, wear a tie or sports coat as well. If you don’t own one, consider borrowing from a friend. Just be sure that it fits you well.

How Women Should Dress For Court:

Women should dress in a conservative women’s business suit or dress. A conservative top with slacks is also appropriate. The thing here is to limit any cleavage or too much skin showing. Your nails should be neat and clean and you’ll want to avoid wearing too much jewelry.


The shoes you wear to court should be as conservative as the outfit you choose. Never wear tennis shoes, spike heels, sneakers, open toed shoes, flip-flops, or anything else that could be worn to the beach or more casual venues. Remember, respect is the key here. Just ensure your feet are covered and shoes are clean and polished (they don’t have to be brand new, but make sure they’re cleaned up).

Tattoos and Piercings

While cool outside of the court room, you’ll want to make sure any tattoos or piercings are covered up. This doesn’t mean you need to apply makeup to cover up a tattoo, but by wearing long sleeves and buttoning collars, most tattoos should be out of sight and out of mind. Piercings, aside from earrings, should also be removed. If you’re worried about a piercing closing due to having to remove it, consider purchasing a clear plastic placeholder that you can easily swap with your daily wear jewelry.

Never Wear This Clothing To Court

In our years as attorneys, we’ve seen some interesting outfits show up to court, even after we advise clients to dress a certain way. When it comes to what not to wear, the following should never even be considered as appropriate attire.

  • Pajamas | We’ve seen people show up to court in PJ bottoms and slippers. The judge has flat out sent them home because of how disrespectful the outfit it.
  • Sexy clothes | crop tops, tight dresses, fishnet panty hose…the list goes on and on. It might be fun to dress sexy when you aren’t in court, but inside the court room these types of outfits are immediate cause for you to be kicked out.
  • Athletic attire | Athletic attire is comfortable, but that’s exactly what makes it inappropriate for the court room.
  • T-shirts with sayings on them | The Judge rarely finds these as clever as your drinking buddies do
  • Costumes | We get it, some people like to dress in costumes to express themselves. Hear us loud and clear: court is not where you go to express yourself. Leave the costumes at home and dress how we’ve advised – conservative and understated.


Before arriving for your court date, it’s important that you’re showered and ready to go. Be sure to brush your teeth, take a shower, shave or trim your beard, and be ready to look as put together as possible. Don’t wear too much perfume or cologne and ensure your nails are trimmed and if you wear makeup, ensure it is conservative.

The most important thing is that you appear clean and composed.

Have you found yourself in need of an attorney and asking questions like how you should dress for court or where to go from where you are? If so, get in touch with our experienced criminal legal team. We can help guide you through the process of understanding the nuances of court and give you the best representation possible.

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