What Should I Wear to Court?
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What Should I Wear to Court?
Why Your Courtroom Attire Matters
It is very important to give yourself every advantage in court, and this includes making a good first impression. Everyone present will take note of how you choose to present yourself, including the judge. Dressing appropriately indicates respect for the judge and the judicial process. If you wear something too informal or loud, it may lead those present to believe that you are not taking the matter seriously. We have compiled some tips to help you put your best foot forward, whether you’re fighting a traffic ticket or criminal charges.
Massachusetts Courtroom Attire Guidelines
The State of Massachusetts publishes guidelines outlining appropriate courtroom attire. These are gender specific, providing separate standards for men and women; in them, you are encouraged to think of the courtroom as a formal environment.
With this level of formality in mind, it is encouraged that you dress neatly and make sure your clothing fits well. If you cannot afford a new outfit for your court date, just be sure that your outfit is clean, pressed, and not too loose or too tight. You should also avoid revealing clothing – low necklines, stilettos, and muscle shirts should all be left at home. Women should make sure tops and skirts are both long enough. While this type of conservative, formal dress may not be your personal style, it is expected in a courtroom setting.
How to Choose Your Outfit
When thinking about your courtroom attire, consider what you would wear to a meeting at a formal office job. Men should consider a long-sleeved button-down shirt and tie, along with dress pants and dress shoes. If the weather is colder, add a suit jacket or plain sweater. Women have more options – they may choose either dress pants or a skirt, paired with a blouse or sweater. Accessories should be limited to a few modest pieces. Avoid bold makeup, overly styled hair, and unnatural or brash colors whenever possible. Some individuals may wish to cover visible tattoos or take out their piercings for a court date.
What Not to Wear
Often, it is easier to rule out what is not appropriate courtroom attire. If you dress inappropriately, whether as a witness, participant, or an observer, it is possible that you will be asked to leave the courtroom. Avoid this issue by looking over our list of don’ts:
- Strapless dresses or tops
- Halter tops
- Yoga pants
- Exercise clothes
- Tube tops
- Spaghetti straps
- Crop tops that expose the midriff
- Clothing that exposes underwear
- See-through clothing
- Flip flops
- Visible underwear
- Athletic shoes
- Ripped, torn jeans
- Stiletto heels
- Baggy pants that fall below one’s hips
- Clothing that promotes illegal or inappropriate activity
- Clothes that depict or promote sex acts, violence, drug use, or profanity
Getting Ready for Court
Beyond selecting the appropriate courtroom attire, you should prepare in a few other ways. Plan to get a haircut two weeks before you are scheduled to appear in court. Be sure that you are freshly showered and neatly groomed. Men should shave or trim facial hair, and women should wear conservative makeup (if any). Hair should be styled and dry. Don’t forget to brush your teeth and apply deodorant before arriving at the courthouse.
Set yourself up for success in court. Once your courtroom attire has been planned out, you also need to ensure that you have the best legal defense possible. Coughlin Law Group provides criminal and DUI defense in the Boston area. Our experienced attorneys are committed to protecting your rights and building a comprehensive defense. If you or a loved one has been arrested or is being investigated for a crime, call 617-758-8888 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.