Making the right impression in court is often as much about how you look as what you say. That’s why choosing what to wear to court is so important.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, judges and members of the jury will make assumptions about an individual based on how they present themselves. The difference between a sloppy and a clean appearance can make a difference. Knowing how to dress for court may not just improve how you are perceived, it may also provide you with a greater sense of confidence in your claim.
As personal injury lawyers who represent clients of all backgrounds, we at Demas Law Group, P.C. want to make sure no one’s case suffers just because they put on the wrong outfit on an important day. Case results should always come down to which side has the facts and the law on their side.
We’ve prepared a list of recommendations for men and women so that everyone who walks in court looks like they deserve to be heard, as they certainly do. We hope the advice here is useful for anyone expecting a big day in court. If you have any additional questions, please contact us now for help.
What Men Should Wear to Court
For men, the goal is to look professional without appearing extravagant or intimidating. This can be a delicate balance, but the best option is always a clean suit with a tie. The suit shouldn’t look too expensive (since expensive clothing makes someone look like they think they are better than others and makes them less sympathetic). The suit should fit well, so if the only suit in your closet is several sizes too big or too small, it’s better to buy a new one, rent one, or find a different outfit to wear.
If you don’t have a suit and you can’t get one before you are set to appear in court, the next best thing is a dress shirt with a tie and a pair of slacks. Be sure to tuck the shirt into the slacks as well. Dress shirts should always be long-sleeved, and again, everything should fit well and be clean.
For men, jewelry and accessories should be simple and understated. It is always acceptable to wear your wedding ring, but cufflinks, necklaces, and other accessories are often expensive-looking, so you might want to leave those at home. A watch is fine, but make sure it is a nice-looking watch that doesn’t look too expensive.
Grooming is also essential for men. If you have a beard or mustache, make sure it is trimmed and looks neat. Hair should also be washed and kept in a style that looks professional. Tattoos should be covered up, and all piercings should be removed. Also, be sure to wear deodorant and perhaps a little (but not a lot) of cologne.
What Women Should Wear to Court
Advising women on what they should wear to court is a little more complicated since they have more choices in professional attire. Once again though, the key is to look professional. If you work in an office, think of an outfit that is ideal for the average day. In other words, don’t wear anything too dressy or too casual.
In more concrete terms, the best outfits for women heading to court are usually found among these racks: a dress (although avoid any that are too short or revealing), a pantsuit, a dress-skirt-and-blouse combo, or a dress-pant-blouse-and blazer combo.
This is, of course, only basic advice. Sweaters can also be appropriate if they look professional, for instance. Just be sure all items are neat, professional, and complement each other. As with men, the clothing should look nice but not too expensive.
The key is to think conservatively. That means avoiding showing too much skin and always erring on the conservative side. You want the judge or the jury to be listening to your words, not thinking about your clothes.
This is also important when it comes to jewelry. That means leave your bracelets, necklaces, and rings at home. Jewelry can either communicate wealth (thus losing the personal sympathy) or tackiness, depending on its quality. Either assumption is undesirable for the person in court.
Grooming is also an important consideration. Women should also hide tattoos and remove piercings. Hairstyling is often a more complicated matter. For women with long hair, be sure it is kept back from the face. This not only looks more professional, but it also helps you avoid playing with it nervously, which sends the wrong signals to those watching. Your hair should be clean, dry, and styled conventionally if possible. If it is dyed an unusual color, dye it to a natural shade for the court appearance.
Finally, use deodorant, but be careful with perfume. If you wear it, keep it subtle and light.
The Best Colors to Wear to Court
It’s not just the style of clothes that matter, it’s the color as well. Colors often have a subconscious effect on us, and that can change our opinions without us knowing.
Perhaps the most surprising thing to recognize when preparing for court is that you should avoid black. That’s true for men and women. Black has associations of power, coldness, and aggression, which are the opposite of the sympathetic image everyone wants to create.
You should also avoid wearing any color that is too loud or distracting. Women should avoid bright colors with their dresses, and men shouldn’t wear a tan, green, or less traditional colored suit. These take away the sense of seriousness about the person and can be a distraction.
Patterns are also distracting, so leave those at home and stick with solid colors.
When choosing an outfit, no matter the type, and no matter whether for men or women, the best color to wear to court is dark blue or dark gray.
What Not to Wear to Court
In some ways, it’s easier to say what not to wear to court than to give specific advice. Avoid anything casual. Don’t wear flip-flops, athletic shoes, shorts, jeans, T-shirts or undershirts, hats of any type, or sunglasses. In short, don’t wear anything you’d wear on your day off, your day at the gym, or your day at the beach. Women might also want to avoid high heels and open-toed shoes.
You want to avoid looking too casual, too provocative, or too dressy. Look for that perfect middle ground, and you’ll be sure to look modest and sympathetic to the members of the court.
Contact a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have an injury claim, we are here to help. While many injury cases settle out of court, our experienced trial attorneys are always prepared to take our cases to court if necessary. If your case leads to an important day in court, the Sacramento personal injury attorneys at Demas Law Group, P.C. will be there to guide you every step of the way. Contact us by phone or online to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your claim today.