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Being court summoned already sounds like a stressful position to be in and whether you are the defendant or being prosecuted, maintaining a professional look will help you look more credible and confident. You want to create a great first impression and the image you convey with your clothing can drastically make a difference. People automatically judge others by their appearance, even if they are unconscious of it so generally wearing at least business casual always safe.
We made a previous article for the lawyer's dress code here so you can have an idea of what to wear when you walk into the courtroom. The attire is not exactly the same as the pressure is not on to be a complete professional, but this should give you a sense of what you should expect others to wear. The bottom line is if you want people to take you seriously, then aim to put your best foot forward.
Women’s Dress Code:
Women are a bit more flexible in their clothing and there is not an exact dress code to follow. The recipe usually just calls for a nice blouse, with a blazer on top and dress pants, or opt for a blouse and pencil skirt. Your colors should remain neutral and professional. The colors I recommend for both women and men are: white, black, blue, and gray as they are easy to mix and match. Button-up shirts can also be expected with a blazer above it and dress pants.
One example of an outfit complete with a pencil skirt and blouse is highlighted in this piece by Ann Taylor. If you scroll down to the “what to wear it with” section, the second outfit is perfect. The pencil skirt compliments the blouse and blazer combination, the earring accessories are elegant, and the shoes look neat, tying in the whole look. If you do not like wearing skirts, these fitted pants are an excellent substitute. Again in their “what to wear it with” section, I want to highlight the first outfit and say that a solid light pink blouse with the light ruffles is also acceptable because it is subtle and still graceful. You can use these styles as a reference. One thing to note is that women should try not to wear clothing that is too revealing or tight and also clothing that is too baggy. Clothing that is too provocative or flashy can come off the wrong way. On the other hand, clothing that is too baggy can look a bit sloppy or not thought out.
Men’s Dress Code:
There is a myth that men do not have many accessories to play with when “dressing up,” but that is certainly not true. There are many ways to wear the same article of clothing in different ways to give it a new ambiance. In some ways, it is easier to find an outfit because you always want to wear a button-down shirt or a dress shirt, but finding the right fit can be tricky.
The trend is to wear slim-fit dress shirts, blazers that compliment your silhouette, and fitting pants. You do not want anything too loose, nor too tight for both your upper body and lower body clothing. Our White Collar Speckled Dress Shirt or otherwise known as “The Blue Skies” is the right balance of character and professionalism. It is a slim-fit white dress shirt, which compliments the body type of slimmer men. It is made of 100 percent cotton so it is breathable in the case that you feel nervous just being in court. What I most like about this dress shirt is that it still has some charisma to it. White dress shirts are everywhere, so standing out is a little bit difficult. It is made of thicker material than our popular white dress shirt, “The Crescent,” so feel rest assured that your upper body is not revealed, unlike some cheaper and transparent white dress shirts. The thickness makes it more opaque. The inside of the collar also has a slight pattern inside for a nice pop of texture inside. You can opt to wear this with or without a tie, but we recommend a tie in the courtroom.
We also like the Striped Blue Dress Shirt, aka "The Grand Canal," and recommend it for your court date. The stripes are subtle, yet still have the potential to create the illusion of making you look taller. It's a great confidence booster for those who want to stand tall and appeal to the courtroom. Since it is a solid and subtle blue, this shirt can be matched with a variety of ties. I usually like white and black for a professional color scheme, but blue is more versatile than a white dress shirt. You can wear it with khaki chino pants or black dress pants and top it off with a blazer on top.
Ties are also like dress shirts where there are so many different types of style you can wear them even though it is just a simple tie. Certain knots are better for specific occasions, and in the courtroom, you may want to try the full Windsor knot. It is a common knot that people wear to interviews or business professional events. That is the case here as you are there to do business and look credible. If you want to be safe, a solid tie is recommended like our classic solid black tie. It is perfect for a white dress shirt and is a classic display of professionalism.
For a tie that matches our striped blue dress shirt, try something like our maroon plaid tie. This should add another layer of professionalism to the mix. Again, keep the Windsor knot and add a black blazer on top. If possible, get a blazer that is tapered in the middle so it shows the definition in your body. Always tuck the collar of the dress shirt underneath the blazer and keep your tie underneath the blazer if you choose to button it up.
As for the pants, we have said it many times for the shirts and we give the same advice for dress pants. Slim fit is your safest option for any type of built man. Short and tall men can benefit from these fitted pants, but you want to make sure they are not too tight. If there are wrinkles when you sit down, then they probably fit too tight somewhere. It should look tapered around the leg, but loose enough to pass the one-inch test where you pull the fabric of the pants and it stretches an inch. If you have a bigger built below the waist, then you may want to try regular or straight fit pants. They are roomier around the crotch area and do not taper in as much at the bottom. Shorter men will look shorter the baggier the pants, so aim for a slim fit. As for the type of pants, go for dress pants or black chinos that look like dress pants.
A dress shirt and tie is great, but why stop there. Your look does not have to be complete once you throw on a suit. You can add a bit more pizazz to be sure to impress the courtroom. A watch or bracelet is a nice touch, but if you aren't used to accessorizing, then start off with something more subtle. Make sure not to wear clothing that is too tight or too loose, as this can give off the wrong impression.
If you did not know these existed, then yes, tie clips are definitely a thing that can help bring more character into your wardrobe. Though I usually find them during fancier occasions or in business meetings, the courtroom is another setting where I deem them appropriate. If you have never worn one and are not feeling adventurous yet, then our matte tie clip is one tie clip you may be interested in. It works with any outfit combination or more specifically, any tie. It is matte, so it does not exactly pop out, but it is meant to complement your existing outfit.
If you want some more fun in your clip, try the black and gold tie clip. The sheen of the gold compliments the black background and adds a pop of color to your clothing. I see this clip being used on a white dress shirt with a black tie, a classic combination. This clip brings life to the normal black and white colors and shows your confidence in wearing such an accessory.
Though we usually think of the people going on trial when needing to dress up, as a possible juror, you still wield a heavy task of listening to the case and help determine the outcome. There can also be some stress on your shoulders, but knowing how to dress should not be one of them. You have a bit more leeway than both the lawyers and the people on trial when it comes to your dress code. I recommend that you still conduct yourself professionally, but dress comfortably, you may be there a while. For women, a blouse with a blazer or cardigan on top, some dress pants, and elegant shoe ware should do the trick. For men, button-down shirts and pants such as chinos or dress pants will work. For those who have careers that require business casual attire, you probably already have an outfit ready in your wardrobe. If it is something you would wear for a luncheon or an educational conference, then it should still be adequate enough for a seat as a juror.
Court day is a big day and not exactly everyone's cup of tea. Make a good first impression and present yourself with confidence whether you are facing the judge or listening to the case as a civilian. You should ultimately go for a business formal look, but you do not need to stick with the conventional white and black suit. Wear safe colors, fitted clothing, and some accessories here and there to stand out from the crowd. Be comfortable, be confident, and do not be afraid to be a little bold.