How Should I Dress for Court?


I Have a Court Date Soon, What Should I Wear?

If you are headed to the courthouse, one of the first decisions you will need to make is what to wear. From the moment that you walk into the courtroom, the professionals inside will be judging you. The decisions made by the judge and by the prosecutor can change your entire life. Just like you they are human, and they react differently based on appearances sometimes. Even if it is their job not to, judges and prosecutors will treat you differently based on what you wear. So let’s talk about how to dress your best for court so that you can get the result you want.

Dressing for Court for Men

If you are a man dressing for court, wear a collared shirt. It can be long sleeve or short sleeve, but it should have a collar. It doesn’t need to be a dress shirt, a polo shirt or any collared shirt will look respectful to the court. Wear dress pants or khaki pants, appropriately around the waist and not sagging. Jeans are usually acceptable so long as they are not ripped but nicer pants are preferred. You may choose to wear a tie, a blazer, or a suit if you have one. Wear dress shoes and dark socks, or in a pinch you can wear clean sneakers.

Things a man should absolutely not wear to court include the following:

  • Graphic t-shirts with inappropriate material like the ones below

A person wearing a white shirt

Description automatically generated A person sitting at a desk

Description automatically generated No Ragrets Mispelled Regrets Tattoo T-Shirt | Just Say Yes To Drugs Tee Shirt

  • Tank tops
  • Pants with rips above the knee or in an inappropriate location
  • Pants that are sagging, especially those that sag below your behind and reveal your underwear
  • Gym shorts or athletic shorts
  • Dirty or torn sneakers
  • Slides or tube socks and slides
  • Predominantly red clothes, blue clothes, or any clothing that could be mistaken for gang colors

You may find yourself having to show up for court in your work clothes, such as your construction wear or your work uniform. This is encouraged because it shows the judge that you are employed and that you care about making it to court. If you follow these suggestions, you’ll be properly dressed for court.

Dressing for Court for Women

If you are a woman dressing for court, in the South conservative attire is preferred. A lot of old Southern traditions are still around in the present day, and one of them is that all women should “dress like a lady.” Many judges and prosecutors are men who come from backgrounds where they learned and accepted these kinds of cultural norms. Whether you agree with them or not, the best way to approach court in North Carolina is to follow some suggestions about dressing appropriately.

Wear a conservative shirt that is not revealing, transparent, or tight fitting. If your shirt has buttons, make sure to button the shirt higher than you normally would out of court. Wear dress pants or a skirt of professional length. That length will be just above the knee at shortest. You may choose to wear a jacket, blazer, cardigan, or shawl. If you choose to wear a sleeveless top, be sure to bring one of those items with you to cover your bare arms. Certain judges both male and female have even complained about that, as silly as it seems! Wear close-toed shoes of an appropriate and comfortable height.

Things a woman should absolutely not wear to court include:

  • Tops that others would consider revealing including halter tops, bikini tops, crop tops, tank tops, cami tops, tube tops, lace tops, or low cut tops
  • T-shirts that have inappropriate subject matter or are revealing such as belly t’s
  • Try to avoid any top which leaves your arms entirely uncovered
  • Mini skirts, short shorts, bikini bottoms, leggings without a longer top, ripped jeans
  • Underwear that is visible above your waistline or bras that are uncovered
  • Athletic wear
  • Slides or casual sandals without straps
  • Heels that are very high in length

When you are outside of court, you may prefer wearing a lot of clothing different than what is acceptable in court. These suggestions are not designed to tell you what clothing you should or should not wear in your own private life. Instead, we make them so that you can be sure that the people who control the outcome of your case won’t be distracted, and they will judge you based on who you truly are. That result is worth the compromise dressing for court poses for many women.

Suggestions for All People

The following suggestions for appearing in court are helpful for all people:

  • Come to court well-groomed; tie back any loose hair
  • Dress conservatively even if that is not your normal style
  • If you wear jewelry, choose understated pieces
  • Cover visible tattoos that you have to the best of your ability
  • Consider your color and pattern choices carefully, you are not there to be noticed
  • Turn your cell phone off if you are allowed to bring it inside the courthouse

The best guide for dressing for court is the Church on Sunday rule. If your family worships at a house of prayer, whether at church on Sunday, a temple, a mosque, or any other holy place, consider dressing as you would to attend a service or a function there. If you are non-religious, then consider dressing as you would for an important interview or business meeting. If you would not wear your court outfit to one of these places and feel comfortable, then change what you are wearing to something more professional.

If you are headed to court, following these fashion tips should help you feel more comfortable at the courthouse and more ready to resolve your matter without distraction.

Now all you need is the right representation to help you! Have questions besides picking the right outfit for court? Now is the time to give us a call so that we can help you with more than just fashion advice! Call us now at (704) 931-5535 and speak to one of our award-winning attorneys about your upcoming court appearance today. We will fight for you!