“Dress to impress.” It’s an adage that applies to countless situations, including job interviews and first dates. But have you ever considered the impact of dressing nicely for court? Believe it or not, how you dress for your appearance is important. There’s no question you want to have every little advantage when you stand in front of a judge. Lawyers agree that dressing professionally, yet conservatively can go a long way in the judge’s ruling. Here are some tips to consider as you prepare for the big day:

  1. Wear “business casual” attire, at the minimum – Being in a courtroom every day, our lawyers see plenty of interesting outfits. Few things make us shake our heads more than men wearing t-shirts, jeans, and tennis shoes. If you really want the judge to take your case seriously, it’s imperative to dress accordingly. We tell our clients to wear a suit whenever possible. Should that not be an option for whatever reason, a button-down dress shirt and nice dress slacks (with a belt) will usually suffice.
  2. Get a haircut and shave – More men are letting their hair grow out, whether it be on their head or their face. Make it a priority to get a haircut and shave before your court date. These might seem like little things, but again, they make a difference in how the judge perceives you.
  3. Avoid dressing too provocatively – Many women are guilty of this one in the courtroom. They mistakenly believe that “showing a little skin” improves their chances with the judge and a more positive ruling. More times than not, though, the decision to wear a short skirt or low-cut top actually works against them. Play it safe and stick with something such as a button-up blouse or a nice shirt with some sleeve length. It goes without saying that tank tops, tube tops, and leggings are out of the question.
  4. Keep your hair, jewelry, and makeup conservative – Some women confuse court appearance clothing with what they’d wear to the bars with friends. Avoid wearing jewelry that stands out and/or makes noise. Steer clear of anything with sparkles, glitter, etc. As much as you’d like to show off that enormous purse, just leave it at home for the day. Lastly, take your sunglasses off.
  5. Cover up tattoos and piercings – This goes for men and women. If you have noticeable ear piercings, try to cover them with your hair if possible. In terms of face piercings, consider using a piercing filler or retainer. Then there are tattoos. For women who have them on their legs, wear nice slacks to cover them. If you have tattoos on your neck, be sure to wear a collared shirt. Again, it’s all about looking presentable to the judge.

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