By: Danielle Murphy, Paralegal
As COVID restrictions ease and more of the world starts to open back up, many businesses are moving back to in-person operations, including the Judicial System. Soon, the days of Zoom hearings and tele-conferences will be behind us, and we’ll all have to start wearing pants to work again. While some businesses will surely be more forgiving if you no longer fit into your pre-COVID work pants, unfortunately, the Courts won’t afford you that type of leniency.
If you have ever been to court, whether a divorce or traffic ticket, then you know there is a strict dress code you must adhere to, and in many cases, the Judge will kick you out of the court room and your case will not be heard if you are not wearing the proper attire. Below are some things to remember when getting ready for your hearing to ensure that your attire will not get you in trouble with the Judge.
What To Wear:
To start, you can never go wrong with business casual style. A button-up shirt tucked into a pair of nice slacks or khaki’s looks good on everyone. If you don’t own a pair of slacks or a button up, a collared shirt or nice blouse tucked into a pair of nice jeans (dark wash and well-fitting with no holes, rips, stains, rhinestones, etc..) should be acceptable as well. If you are wearing pants, then you always need to be sure to tuck in your shirt and add a belt. If you are wearing a dress or skirt, always make sure that the length is appropriate (knee-length or longer) and if your dress is sleeveless, you will want to wear a blazer or cardigan over the top. It is also important to wear shoes that are clean, comfortable, and well kept.
What NOT to Wear:
Although some jeans can be appropriate for court, you can’t wear just any pair. Jeans, or any pants with holes, rips, stains, stickers, or any other embellishments (like acid-wash) will not be appropriate. Additionally, shorts, leggings or any kind of athletic wear are not permitted in court for men or women. Sleeveless dresses, dresses that are too short or too low-cut will not be permitted. T-shirts or tank tops should not be worn unless you are wearing them as an undershirt. Any blouses or other tops with offensive patterns or slogans will also merit removal from the court. Lastly, flip flops, Crocs and shoes that are in disrepair or otherwise distracting (leave your light-up Sketchers at home) should not be worn.
If you have read this list and are still worried or unsure about what to wear to your upcoming court appearance, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would wear your outfit to a job interview, and if the answer is no, you may want to tweak your ensemble. You can also ask your lawyer! They go to court all the time and they should have no trouble giving you ideas for what to wear.