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what to wear to a court

What to Wear to Court: Tips for Proper and Stylish Attire

Learning what to wear to court is a way of showing respect to the judges.
May 05, 2024

When preparing for a court appearance, attire is not merely a matter of personal preference – it's a reflection of respect for the judicial process and can significantly impact the perception of the judge and jury. So, do you know what to wear to court?

Whether you're a litigant, witness, or spectator, understanding appropriate courtroom attire is essential. This article will share a comprehensive guide on what to wear to court to ensure you make a favorable impression.

Dos for Dressing for Court

Before talking about what to wear to court for men and women, let’s break down some rule of thumb when it comes to court-appropriate attire:

  • Always color-coordinate the attire: Avoid dressing in one color scheme, as it can give off a less mature vibe. Instead, opt for neutral, professional colors and blend them together to create a more visually appealing look.
  • Wear dark leather shoes whenever possible: Dark leather shoes are a classic choice for formal occasions like court appearances. They convey a sense of professionalism and are typically more appropriate than casual or brightly colored footwear.
  • If you wear jewelry, keep it to a minimum: Excessive jewelry can be distracting and may not be suitable for a courtroom environment.
  • Trim your hair: Neatly groomed hair conveys professionalism and attention to personal appearance. It shows respect for the court and can contribute to a positive first impression.
  • Clip and trim your nails: Well-groomed nails are an essential part of a professional appearance. Keeping nails neat and trimmed demonstrates attention to detail and personal hygiene.
  • Try to tailor your outfits: Tailoring your clothing ensures a proper fit, which is key to looking polished and put together.

Don’ts for Dressing for Court

When choosing what to wear to court, there are an equal number of things you should avoid including:

  • Don’t overdress: Stick to conservative attire that reflects professionalism without being overly formal.
  • Don’t wear hats of any kind: Wearing hats indoors, including in a courtroom, is generally considered disrespectful. Remove hats before entering the courtroom to show respect for the proceedings and the judge.
  • Don’t overdo your makeup: Keep makeup natural and understated. Avoid heavy or dramatic makeup looks that can be distracting or detract from your credibility.
  • Don’t wear sneakers or casual shoes: Choose closed-toe dress shoes that are appropriate for a professional environment. Your footwear should complement your outfit and convey respect for the legal proceedings.
  • Don’t wear revealing and tight clothing: Inappropriate or revealing clothing can be distracting and may give the wrong impression in a courtroom.
  • Don’t wear flashy clothing: Avoid clothing with bold patterns, bright colors, or excessive embellishments. Stick to neutral colors and conservative styles to convey professionalism.

Read also: How to Dress Better Everyday: 7 Simple Ways to Start With

What to Wear to Court for Men

Understanding the dress code for the court is as important as the case itself, as it directly impacts how you are perceived by the judge, jury, and other parties involved. Below is a guide to what to wear to court for men:

1. Suit

Opt for a well-fitted suit in a conservative color, such as navy, black, or gray. A two-piece suit consisting of a jacket and matching trousers is the most appropriate choice.

2. Shirt

Wear a long-sleeved dress shirt in a solid color or subtle pattern. White or light blue shirts are classic options that convey professionalism. Ensure that the shirt is clean, pressed, and neatly tucked in.

3. Tie

Complete your look with a conservative necktie. Choose a silk tie in a solid color or simple pattern that coordinates with your suit and shirt. Avoid novelty ties or overly bold patterns.

4. Shoes

Wear closed-toe dress shoes that are clean, polished, and in good condition. Opt for classic styles, such as oxfords or loafers in black or brown leather. Avoid wearing sneakers or casual shoes.

5. Socks

Select dress socks that match the color of your suit or trousers. Socks should be long enough to cover your ankles when seated to avoid exposing skin.

6. Accessories

Keep accessories to a minimum and choose understated options. A leather belt that matches your shoes, a wristwatch with a simple design, and a conservative briefcase or portfolio can complement your ensemble without being distracting.

As for a minimalist watch to elevate your court attire, Gnomon Watches has some to offer. The Aristo Bauhaus 38 Fresh White 4H127 comes with a minimalist design inspired by the Bauhaus movement, this watch features a sleek stainless steel case and a fresh white dial that exudes timeless charm.

Aristo Bauhaus 38 Fresh White 4H127
Aristo Bauhaus 38 Fresh White 4H127

Meanwhile, the Citizen Eco-Drive 40 Black Ref. AQ4060-50E comes with a sleek black stainless steel case and bracelet, radiating elegance and modernity to your style. Another minimalist watch to consider is the Mido Multifort Power Reserve Blue Ref. M038.424.11.041.00 with a striking blue dial adorned with sleek silver-tone indices and hands. This watch effortlessly combines style with functionality.

7. Grooming

Pay attention to personal grooming by ensuring that your hair is neatly styled and facial hair is trimmed and well-groomed. Keep nails clean and trimmed, and avoid wearing excessive cologne.

Read also: How to Dress in Your 30s with Confidence and Sophistication

What to Wear to Court for Women

Just like men, women should also follow the dress code for court. Here's a guide on what to wear to court for women:

1. Suit or Dress Suit

Opt for a tailored suit or dress suit in a neutral color such as black, navy, or gray. The jacket should be well-fitted and conservative in style.

2. Blouse or Dress Shirt

Wear a collared blouse or dress shirt underneath your suit jacket. Choose solid colors or subtle patterns, and ensure that the neckline is modest.

3. Dress or Skirt

Alternatively, you can opt for a conservative dress or skirt that falls at or below the knee. Avoid overly tight or revealing styles, and ensure that the hemline is appropriate for a professional environment.

4. Tights or Hosiery

If you are wearing a skirt or dress, consider wearing nude or neutral-colored tights or hosiery to maintain a polished appearance.

5. Shoes

Choose closed-toe shoes with a low to moderate heel. Classic styles such as pumps or loafers in black or neutral tones are ideal. Avoid sandals, flip-flops, or shoes with excessively high heels.

6. Accessories

Keep accessories minimal and tasteful. Opt for simple jewelry such as stud earrings, a delicate necklace, or a professional watch. Avoid wearing excessive jewelry or accessories that may be distracting.

For women seeking a professional watch to complement their court attire, options like the Rado Centrix Automatic Diamonds Ladies Ref. R30019744, Mido Baroncelli Signature Lady Colours - Special Edition Ref. M037., and Presage Automatic Ladies Craftsmanship Enamel White Ref. SRRX002 offer both style and sophistication.

Rado Centrix Automatic Diamonds Ladies Ref. R30019744
Rado Centrix Automatic Diamonds Ladies Ref. R30019744

These timepieces feature elegant designs, quality craftsmanship, and subtle embellishments that add a touch of refinement without being overpowering. With their reliability and understated elegance, these watches are perfect for completing a polished and professional look in the courtroom.

7. Bag

Carry a structured handbag or briefcase in a neutral color that complements your outfit. Choose a style that is professional and functional for carrying necessary documents or materials.

8. Grooming

Pay attention to grooming by ensuring that your hair is neatly styled and makeup is subtle and polished. Keep nails clean and manicured, and avoid overly dramatic hairstyles or makeup looks.


Choosing what to wear to court appropriately is not only a matter of respect for the judicial system but also a reflection of one's seriousness and professionalism. Whether you're a man or a woman, adhering to the established guidelines of formal attire can convey your understanding of the gravity of the situation and your willingness to adhere to societal norms. 

As the general rule of thumb, dressing conservatively is paramount. For men, this typically means opting for a well-tailored suit in dark or neutral tones, paired with a collared shirt and tie. Women can similarly opt for a tailored suit, a modest dress, or a skirt and blouse ensemble.

Read also: What to Wear to a Funeral to Show Respect and Dignity

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