What To Wear To Court As A Defendant

First impressions matter and what you wear goes a long way toward creating that good first impression. No matter the reason behind your upcoming court visit, it is important to wear the right thing and make a good example to the judge or jury. Consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall at 703-934-0101 to answer all of your legal questions, help you build a strong defense, and determine what to wear to court as a defendant in order to make the best first impression.

The Psychology of Appearance

If you need to visit a courtroom as a defendant, what you wear will make an impression on those around you, including the judge and jury, and can contribute to the outcome of your case.

What you wear is not officially something that should influence your case, however, human psychology says otherwise. Research in social psychology and the influence of fashion on the perception of others explains that people absolutely make judgments based on how others look. These judgments can be positive or negative and in the courtroom, they can play a significant part in the outcome of your case. Your credibility, reliability, honesty, and character can all be judged by those who have the ability to make a decision about your guilt or innocence in your criminal case. Make sure to take your appearance seriously if you plan on visiting the inside of a courtroom in your criminal case.

What to Wear to Court as a Defendant

As you prepare for court, you should obviously go over your defense strategy, your side of the story, or your alibi. However, you should also seriously consider what you will wear to court in order to best represent yourself to the judge and jury. The courtroom in the United States is a place that has always been filled with decorum, respect, and honor. Men are expected to take off their hats, and all attendees in the courtroom will rise when the judge walks into the

courtroom. There is a heightened sense of formality in a courtroom that should be taken seriously by any person that enters there. If you are a defendant, you have an extra responsibility to ensure that you make a respectful first impression on the judge, the jury, and anyone else in the courtroom. Learn more about what to wear to court as a defendant by following these simple rules and advice.

Simple Rules

The courtroom should be a place of respect and dignity. Your clothing should honor our judicial system and process. There are a few simple rules which apply to men and women. These include the following:

Never wear jeans.

Never wear shorts or revealing clothing.

Avoid sandals, t-shirts, or anything that has been cut or frayed. It is better to think of your court visit as a conservative situation, not a casual social engagement.

Men should wear a suit and a tie. If you do not own a suit and you cannot get one at a second-hand store that fits you well, dress slacks with dress shoes and an ironed, button-down shirt will suffice. If you do not have dress slacks, khakis will work equally well when paired with dress shoes and an ironed, button-down shirt.

Women should wear dress skirts or pants with a blouse and simple, flat closed-toed shoes. Other options would include a conservative and modest dress, or a pants suit with the same close-toed, flat shoes. If you do not have flat shoes, high heels will work so long as they are not too flashy and again, remain conservative. For women, any outfit that is worn should not be overly revealing, or too short.

For men and women, it is important to wear something that is form-fitting, not overly tight, and not overly baggy.

Color Matters

As a defendant, the colors you choose can influence how approachable you are to the judge and jury, how sympathetic, and even how credible you are in the eyes of the jury.

As a man, the darker the suit you choose, the better. Darker-colored suits are considered more formal, but black suits demonstrate superiority. In a situation where you want to be serious but humble, dark blue suits, dark brown suits both work very well as do dark gray suits. If you do not have a suit in this color it might behoove you to pick one up just for court even if you do not plan to use it again.

For men, a dress shirt should be light blue or white.

Ties should be simple without distracting patterns or images on them. Blue or black plain ties are best.

As a woman, traditional and conservative colors are also best. Dark grey or navy blue will give you the impression of being serious without being overbearing. Avoid anything that is too bright or bold. The best rule for women trying to figure out what to wear to

court as a defendant is not to draw flashy attention to themselves, but rather present themselves as a serious person honoring the courtroom.


For men and women, keep accessories to a minimum. Men can wear tie clips, watches, and cufflinks so long as they are discreet. Women should avoid excess jewelry or distracting accessories.


Hair matters almost as much as color. Whether you are a man or a woman, it is in your best interest to keep yourself well-groomed. Consider getting your haircut, trimming any facial hair, and styling or at the very least brushing your hair prior to your arrival. If you are prone to new hair dye every week, consider going with something more natural before you step into the courtroom. Additionally, women should also make sure that their makeup is done conservatively and that they appear professional and serious.

Contact a Defense Attorney Regarding Your Criminal Case Today

Our criminal defense attorneys have years of experience in and out of the courtroom and can help ensure that you not only have a strong defense but that you present yourself to the judge and jury in such a way that you make an excellent first impression. If you have questions about how to properly dress and you want to know more about what to wear to court as a defendant, contact the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall at www.farlawoffice.com or 703-934-0101.