How to Dress for Court

Cindy Castillo FAQs

  • First, it is important to understand that the way you dress for court influences the way a judge, prosecutor and/or jury views and assesses you, whether or not it be a conscious decision on their end.
  • Dress in business attire in order to appear professional and courteous. This includes: modest hemlines and necklines, neutral colors and cleanliness. Do not appear in stained, wrinkled, or worn clothes.
  • In most courts, you are not allowed to wear graphic t-shirts. Try not to wear any shirts with words or lettering on them. You want to influence the judge with what you say, not what your shirt says.
  • Do not wear hoodies, baseball caps, sagging pants, bandannas or chains. These clothes have a strong negative connotation that may work against you.
  • On the flip side, do not wear luxury or designer clothing such as Gucci or Dolce and Gabbana to court. If you appear to the judge or jury as “snooty” or “uppity,” you may offend them, as it may appear as though you view yourself as better than them.
  • We live in Arizona, so it will be tempting to wear summer attire, such as shorts, flip flops, or tank tops. For women, if you’re afraid it will be too hot, try for a skirt-suit, or lightweight slacks, a thin shirt, and a light-colored jacket. For men, try to dress in light-colored pants with a breathable dress shirt.
  • Make sure your hair is maintained and polished, and remove all tangles, grease and frizz. You should consider and discuss with your attorney whether or not you should get rid of facial hair. For women, pull your hair back into a bun to establish a poised appearance. If you choose to leave it down, make sure it’s not distracting. If you get a blow-out the day before, it might signal to the judge that you have your mind on things other than your case. For men, if you have short hair, make sure there are no fly-aways or cow licks. If you have longer hair, try pulling it back and securing any frizz.
  • Avoid loud or tacky jewelry. To err on the side of caution, keep jewelry and big purses to a minimum. There is a fine line as to what a judge or jury will tolerate. Again, you don’t want the accessories you’re wearing to steer the judgement for your case.
  • It’s best to air on the side of caution when dressing for court. If you have any questions on what you should wear to your court appearances, talk with your lawyer.