How Should I Dress For Court?

People often ask me what they should wear to Court. Here’s how I respond:

Dress to Impress

Wear an outfit to Court that shows you are trying to dress to impress. Think to yourself, what could I wear that shows I’m taking this seriously?

Your clothing choices can communicate a lot to the judge. It communicates you know to be respectful to the judge and the courtroom. When you take the time to wear nice clothing it shows you care about yourself. The judge will care more about you if you care about yourself.

This doesn’t mean you have to wear a $1,000 Armani tailored suit. For some people this can mean simply long pants and a shirt with a collar. The judge will know if you are in an outfit that communicates you are taking the matter seriously, even if it’s not the most expensive suit in the store. The trick is to look clean and put together.

You might be tempted to think that what you wear makes no difference. That the judge sees so many people that all the people blend together. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A nice outfit can distinguish yourself from the other ten people who will go in front of the judge in jeans and a t-shirt with their favorite sports team.

The judge is in a powerful position to offer lots of “breaks” to someone in your shoes. A suit and tie could be the difference maker.

What about a Work Uniform?

Many people ask me if a work uniform is acceptable for a court appearance. Many court dates are in the morning, and people wouldn’t have time to change from Court clothes to a uniform. A uniform is fine for court. A uniform shows the judge you have a job, which is always a good thing.

However, I will say that if you’re job doesn’t involve a uniform, then still dress nice. For example, many people go to work in jeans and a paint-stained old shirt to work because they paint for a living or are in construction. The judge doesn’t know this.

The judge just sees you in this clothing and will not know that you wear this for your profession. In these situations, I would recommend not coming to Court in your work clothes, but instead wear the types of clothing discussed above.

Call Us

Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at

Sam Bernstein is an Ann Arbor Criminal Defense Attorney.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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