What to Wear to Court

Individuals who attend court hearings regularly are familiar with what to wear to court. Lawyers, attorneys, court employees, and victim’s advocates understand court attire. However, jurors, witnesses, and parties to the case may not be aware of court standards for attire. 

Most Florida courts have dress codes for people attending hearings or appearing in court. If you are represented by a personal injury lawyer, your lawyer advises you about the dress code before you appear in court. For persons who are not represented by an attorney, they can contact the court clerk for information about the dress code.

Conservative Attire is Acceptable in All Courts

Conservative attire is generally the acceptable dress code in courtrooms. For men, conservative attire includes suits, dress pants, dress shirts, and dress coats. Ties are also recommended. 

However, if you do not have a suit, a pair of nice pants and a shirt with a collar is generally acceptable. It is usually best to avoid bright colors, prints, and large jewelry. 

For women, conservative clothing includes suits, skirts, and dress shoes. Pants are acceptable, as are conservative dresses. Short, revealing, and tight clothing is not acceptable for women or men. 

It is also wise for women to avoid bright colors and large pieces of jewelry. Makeup should also be conservative. Heavy perfume and lotions, as well as cologne for men, are not recommended for court.

Are There Certain Items That People Should Not Wear to Court?

Some courts may have a more relaxed dress code than other courts. However, there are certain items that people should avoid wearing to court. Wearing these items to court could result in the judge asking you to leave the courtroom.

It is best to err on the side of conservative attire when attending court. Items that should not be worn to court include:

  • Shorts and short skirts
  • Flip flops and slides
  • Spike or stiletto heels
  • T-shirts 
  • Jeans
  • Tennis shoes or athletic shoes
  • Exercise clothes, including sweatpants and yoga pants
  • Clothes that are too small or too large
  • Tank tops and sleeveless shirts
  • Flashy jewelry and high-end clothing brands
  • Hats

If you do not own a part of dress pants or a dress shirt, talk with your lawyer. 

First Impressions are Important

No one deserves to be judged on their appearance, but it happens. First impressions are extremely important. Judges and jurors often make judgments based on appearance.

Therefore, in addition to your attire, it is wise to project a conservative appearance. Things that you should avoid when going to court include:

  • Unusual haircuts or hair color (i.e. green, purple, blue, etc.)
  • Extreme makeup decisions
  • Excessively long nails or bright nail polish
  • Large or flashy jewelry
  • Heavy cologne, aftershave, perfume, and lotion
  • Bare shoulders and legs
  • Dirty hair or ruffled appearance

Anything that calls attention to your appearance could influence a juror. It might not be fair, but it is a reality. Your lawyer will also work with you to ensure that your appearance is not a hindrance in court.

You want jurors to listen to your testimony. You need them to trust you and take you seriously. It can be difficult for a juror to do that when the juror is focused on your attire or appearance.

Preparing for a Court Hearing

Your attire and appearance are only two things you need to address as you prepare for court hearings and trials. Your lawyer works with you to ensure that you understand the process and procedures for court hearings. Understanding the rules and processes can help you relax and remain calm.

It is natural to be nervous about appearing in court. Your court hearing could have a substantial impact on your future. 

For example, if you are going to court because of a car accident or wrongful death claim, the outcome of your case could mean you have the funds to pay for future expenses and care. You do not want your attire or appearance to jeopardize the outcome of your case.

Attorneys generally spend a great deal of time with their clients preparing for a trial. Your attorney spent months preparing your case. Listening to and following your attorney’s instructions is one of the best ways to avoid problems in court.

If you have not told your attorney everything, now is the time to do so. An attorney can generally handle issues in a case, but the attorney needs to know about the issues before the court. The worst place for your attorney to discover damaging evidence that you failed to disclose is in a courtroom.