What to Wear to Court: Creating a personal brand

Real Estate Lawyer

Whether you’re appearing in court to fight a speeding ticket, litigation, or representing a client, the same general dress and appearance rules apply. Montana USOW Ambassador (https://www.theunitedstateofwomen.org/), and a real estate lawyer in Bozeman, MT, like from Silverman Law Firm, offer these dos and don’ts of courtroom appearance.

1. Dress with Respect

You want to let the judge know the minute he or she sees you that you take this situation seriously. Wear clothes that are modest, clean and which fit you well. Clothes don’t have to be new but they should demonstrate that you understand that this is a serious occasion.

2. No Distractions

If this court appearance is about something that is important to you — and it should be, why else would you be there? — you don’t want your appearance to divert the judge’s attention from your message. Wear clothes that are simple, tailored, neutrally-colored (with a few exceptions) and allow any focus on you to be about your message, not about your appearance.

3. For the men, what NOT to wear

Starting from the top, unless you wear something on your head for religious purposes, no hats or caps. Court staff will probably make you take it off anyway. No dark glasses (like sunglasses) unless you have a medical reason to wear them. Minimal jewelry. If you wear earrings, take them out or wear a small stud. No bling! Expensive jewelry also says, “I’ve got plenty of money to give away here.”

If you wear contacts but own glasses, wear the glasses. Got long hair? In addition to coming in as freshly washed as possible, if you’re not going to cut your hair, wear it back in a ponytail. Long-sleeve shirt and tie with sports coat and slacks. No jeans. Need I say that it is never okay to wear pants so low a judge can see your underwear? It’s also okay to wear a long-sleeve shirt with a pull-over sweater and slacks. Shoes: Dress shoes or loafers, polished. No tennis shoes, sandals, or flip-flops. If you have tattoos, do your best to cover them because they can be a distraction

4. For the ladies, what NOT to wear

Again, we start at the top. Hair should be clean and simple. No hats unless for religious reasons. Makeup should be minimal. Foundation, mascara, lip gloss in a neutral color. No dark glasses but regular glasses or contacts are both fine. Minimal jewelry and what you wear should be small and tasteful. Dress or skirt and top are fine. Clothes should not be form-fitting and length of skirt or dress should be about knee length. Slacks or a pantsuit are also fine; not jeans, not leggings. Sweater or sweater set and skirt or slacks are okay. Nothing low-cut in the front and no sleeveless tops (Michelle Obama’s great arms notwithstanding, this is not the place for it.) If you wear a skirt or dress, were dark or neutral pantyhose. Shoes should be flats or low (no more than 2″) heels. They should be in good, polished shape. Remember what I told the guys about tattoos? The same goes for the ladies.

5. When in doubt

If you have a lawyer, tell your lawyer what you’re planning to wear and ask your lawyer if your choice sounds okay. Your lawyer will appreciate it, since it’s one less thing to worry about and the lawyer can then focus on your case.

If you have no lawyer, take a field trip to the courtroom where your case is going to be heard. Take a look around the room and observe who seems “dressed for success” there. Pay attention to how the judge responds to people as they come before him or her. Your case may not be won based on how well you dress, but you sure don’t want your case lost for that reason, either!