I am usually in court a few times per week. It happens so often that I don’t really tend to think much about what I wear to court. It’s more like a formula:
Start with a boring dark suit
+ boring white/blue shirt
+ boring tie that has red in it
+ boring dark shoes
= Standard-issue Lawyer’s Uniform.
But most people are not in court all the time. They may have never been in court. They may not own any boring suits or boring ties. Or any suits.
And no one should feel like he or she needs to look like a lawyer in court. No one should feel intimidated by what other people wear to court. I have seen people judged by their appearance while in a courtroom, but it wasn’t because they weren’t wearing a suit. It was because they didn’t care.
That is the real issue—can the judge look at what you’re wearing to court and decide that you care about what’s going on enough to treat is seriously?
To that end, I’ve got a few suggestions. These are arranged in order of importance:
The goal is for you to look like a reliable, believable, responsible person. Are there people who dress well who lie? Of course. After all, most politicians dress up every day. And are there people who look terrible who should be believed? Of course.
Nevertheless what you wear to court does say something about you. You should dress as nicely as you can without looking uncomfortable.
It makes a difference.