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Court building

Going to court can seem like an extremely daunting experience, especially considering that, for most people, it’s an entirely new and unfamiliar process. Knowing what to wear and, more importantly, what NOT to wear is step number one. Being able to check off the choose-outfit-for-court box on your To-Do list can help you feel a little bit more in control of the situation. That is, knowing that what you are wearing is making a good impression upon the judge can invoke a sense of confidence and preparation that you can carry with you throughout the entire proceeding.

General Standards

First and foremost, the number one rule of court attire is no revealing clothing. Although the term “revealing” can be interpreted in a variety of ways, merely try to avoid garments with low necklines as well as those that show the midriff and/or shoulder areas. Honestly, the more coverage, the better. However, keep in mind that form-fitting clothes are generally accepted while those that are skin-tight are to be avoided. If you really want to play it safe, a good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t wear it to a funeral, think twice about wearing it in front of the judge.

Moreover, although there is less of an expectation that those you bring with you to court dress formally, it is best they do so anyways. At a minimum, knowing that not only are you making a good impression upon the judge, but also that those there to support you are as well can provide an extra level of comfort and confidence during the proceedings. As such, for your own sake, take the safe bet and have any accompanying individuals abide by these general standards. Impressions matter. Make sure you do all that you can to ensure that yours is a good one.


  • Anything that that ends right above the knee is an acceptable length -(Obviously, anything that is longer in length is a safe bet).
  • If the outfit would otherwise lead to exposed shoulders, pair it with a cardigan or other type a sweater.
    • While it is more on the formal side, a blazer would work well too in achieving better coverage.
  • Closed-toed shoes are ideal, but a nice pair of sandals is not a bad thing. However, do try to avoid flip-flops if at all possible.


  • Always pants, never shorts.
  • Closed-toed shoes are a must.
    • If it is a sneaker, make sure that it is one that looks more like a slip-on van and less runners or converse. In more colloquial terms, the shoes should give more of a “clean” vibe than one that is “cool” and “fresh.”
  • As for tops, a form-fitting V-neck, a long-sleeved button down, or anything with a suit jacket will look best.
  • Avoid wearing any type of hat – baseball cap, fedora, beanie, and top-hat alike.

Now that you know that what you are going to wear will make a good first impression, hopefully going to court seems a little less daunting.

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