Courtroom Chic 101: A fashionable guide to courtroom attire.

October 19, 2023
courtroom chic

You’ve probably heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” which simply means that appearances can be deceiving and that it is important to look beyond outward appearances. While the saying is true, in a courtroom it is also essential to recognise that appearances can influence perceptions. A courtroom is a place where justice is administered, and while the judge or magistrate bases their decisions on the merits of the case and on the evidence presented, they are also humans and may inadvertently form initial impressions based on how someone is dressed. So, whether you are someone seeking justice or a legal professional dedicated to upholding the law, it's important to dress appropriately for court. It not only shows respect for the courtroom but can also create a positive impression on the people involved as you want to be seen as credible and put together from the beginning of the case.

Why does dressing appropriately for court matter?

1.         Demonstrates professionalism, enhancing your credibility and trustworthiness.

2.         Reflects respect by acknowledging the significance of the proceedings.

3.         Enhances your confidence - when you're well-dressed, you feel good.

Courtroom Attire

If you are involved in court proceedings and have a court appearance, you should ensure that you are dressed in a manner that reflects both respect for the court and conveys seriousness. Here are some tips for courtroom attire:

  • Business Attire: You should dress as if you are attending a job interview or a formal business meeting. This means that men should wear a suit, a shirt, and a tie. Women can wear a tailored suit, a blouse and a skirt or pants; alternatively a conservative dress.
  • Neutral Colors: Opt for neutral and subdued colours, such as black, navy, grey, or brown. Avoid bright or flashy colours and distracting patterns.
  • Grooming: You should ensure that your hair is well-kept, and if you have facial hair, keep it neatly trimmed. Avoid excessive makeup or accessories.
  • Shoes: You should wear closed-toe, professional shoes or heels. Avoid sneakers, flip-flops, or any overly casual footwear.
  • Keep jewellery minimal and understated. Less is more.

It’s important for you to understand that courtroom attire is more than just a matter of fashion; it serves a crucial role in the legal process by promoting respect, professionalism, and credibility. Further to that, your outward appearance can subtly influence perceptions, for instance, if you are involved in a custody battle and have been accused of child neglect, showing up in court well-groomed and in a suit will convey that you can take care of yourself and suggest that you are therefore are capable of taking care of others. In the same breath, if you are involved in a maintenance enquiry, showing up in luxury brands like Gucci or Versace may not be the best way to go to advance your case. Whether we want to admit it or not, much of our communication is non-verbal and sometimes our appearance speaks louder than our words and unfortunately books are judged by their covers.

The information contained in this article is for general guidance on matters of interest and does not constitute legal advice. For any enquiries, please contact us at