Few people have entered a courtroom before their arraignment besides perhaps completing jury duty. Although having a defense lawyer on your side is crucial to fighting for your future, preparing for your day in court by practicing proper courtroom behavior and learning how to dress yourself are essential to presenting your best image to the court. Believe it or not, your physical appearance is crucial to helping your lawyer represent you successfully.
Wearing suitable clothing signals respect to the courtroom and allows the court to see that you are taking your case seriously. If you have been arrested in Louisiana for a misdemeanor or felony offense, you should discuss what to wear to court with your lawyer. Below are some grooming and fashion tips for men and women that can steer your case toward a successful outcome.
Appropriate Attire for Men in Court
The main point to keep in mind when dressing for court is to be conservative. A suit with a tie is acceptable but not necessary, particularly for men in rural areas. Courtrooms generally do not allow anyone to appear in shorts; you want to send the message to the court that you understand the gravity of the situation. Appropriate menswear options include:
- A sports coat
- A long-sleeved button-down collared shirt (preferably a neutral and solid color)
- Closed toed dress shoes
- Suspenders or a belt to keep pants up
In rural areas, you may wish to skip a suit and tie ensemble to prevent people from thinking that you believe you are above others. You especially do not want to out-dress judges and lawyers. Another important consideration is to wear clothing that is fitted but comfortable. If you have recently gained or lost considerable weight, purchase clothing that fits well.
Appropriate Attire for Women in Court
Women should also dress conservatively. A rule of thumb is to avoid clothing that you would not feel comfortable wearing to a religious ceremony. When deciding what to wear to court, think about what you would wear to a social function or a job interview. Womenswear options may include:
- A professional dress
- A conservative business suit
- A conservative pants suit
- A solid-colored top with long slacks
- Closed-toed dress shoes
Women should avoid low-cut blouses or tops with bold prints as they may distract others in the courtroom. Skirts should reach the knee or stop at no higher than one inch above the knee. Tight or form-fitting clothing should also be avoided, as well as spike heels, flip-flops, sandals, or other open-toed shoes.
Women, in particular, should stay away from the color black. The color of a woman’s clothing can influence people’s perceptions of her. Research has shown that people may perceive a woman in black as having a cold or uncaring persona.
Clothing to Avoid to Court
Both men and women should avoid the following articles of clothing and accessories:
- Gym clothes
- Hats and other headgear
- Tank tops
- Revealing clothing
- Excessive jewelry (stick to your wedding ring)
Grooming and Hygiene Tips
Men and women should appear neatly groomed for court. Both men and women should take care to:
- Shower before court
- Tie long hair back
- Cover up tattoos
- Hide underwear
- Avoid smelling like cigarettes or alcohol
- Clean and trim their nails
- Avoid brightly-colored nail polish
- Remove all piercings
- Schedule a haircut two weeks before the appearance
- Brush teeth and use mouthwash
- Shave or trim mustaches and beards
- Wear light makeup
- Wear deodorant
At The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm, our Louisiana criminal defense lawyers strive to provide quality representation for people accused of misdemeanors, felonies, and federal crimes. Judges, clients, prosecutors, police officers, and fellow lawyers highly respect attorney Eric Johnson, who thoroughly prepares his clients before each court appearance. Be sure to request a free consultation by calling 318 377-1555 or contacting us online.