What to Wear to Court for a Criminal Case - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

As Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys, we always advise our clients on what to wear to court – but we often see people there who don’t have legal representation and show up in inappropriate clothing. Whether or not you’ve hired an attorney, it’s important that you know what is (and what’s not) acceptable to wear to court for a criminal case.

What to Wear to Court

The court is a solemn, formal place. You should try to wear something that would be acceptable in church or at a nice social function. The idea is to show that you respect the court and that you’re taking the issue seriously.

For men:

  • Slacks or khakis
  • A collared shirt with a tie (but if you don’t own a tie, just wear a collared shirt); long sleeves are preferable
  • A belt
  • Nice shoes

Make sure you shave before court, or trim your facial hair neatly.

For women:

  • Slacks or dress pants, or a dress or skirt that falls at or below your knees
  • A dress shirt that isn’t revealing
  • Closed-toed shoes

Avoid extreme makeup or hairstyles that can detract from the court’s serious and subdued environment.

If you don’t have dress clothes, it’s okay – you can still be presentable for court. Work uniforms are acceptable in most cases, as long as they’re clean and in good repair.

What Not to Wear to Court

Don’t wear:

  • Anything that bares your shoulders or legs
  • Athletic attire
  • Clothing that shows your underwear or bra
  • Crop tops
  • Hats
  • Jeans, unless they’re the only long pants you have
  • Noisy jewelry
  • Open-toed shoes or sandals
  • Revealing tops
  • Short skirts
  • Shorts
  • Sunglasses
  • Tank tops
  • Tennis shoes
  • Tight clothes or exercise clothes
  • Tops with spaghetti straps (or no straps)
  • T-shirts unless that’s all you have (and then, make sure the T-shirt doesn’t have drug references or alcohol logos)

It’s not that the court would prefer you to wear dressier clothing – in some cases, people working at the court won’t even let you in if you’re wearing inappropriate attire. Then you’ll miss your court date, even though you were there, and you’ll cause yourself even more issues than those you’re already facing.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Going to Court?

If you need a lawyer’s help with a court appearance, call us at 414-383-6700. If it’s easier, get in touch with us online to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

Carlos Gamino