I remember the first time I ever showed up to court without a tie.
I left my tie in my house, and I didn’t have one in my car. (I usually keep a spare tie in my office and the glove box of may car.)
I was running just one time, so I had no choice but to walk in without a tie.
It was, let us say awkward.
Before the judge could say anything, I apologized for my attire (or lack of it), and explained the situation.
The judge was very gracious about my faux pas, telling me a story about having done the same thing and having his judge make fun of him in front of his colleagues. He hated that judge from then on and vowed to never do that to an attorney.
I was lucky I appeared before a forgiving judge on the right day, but I should have planned better.
Wearing the wrong thing can wreck your day in court.
So, what should you wear?
This is my rule of thumb: wear what you would wear to church or to a funeral.
In other words, put on a suit if you’re male, or a dress, skirt, or pant-suit if you’re female.
Yes, I know that sounds stuffy, but courts and judges are stuffy.
They want you to show respect, and it’s hard to do that wearing jeans and a T-shirt.
You have one shot to impress a commissioner or judge, so dress up.
Few other suggestions regarding what to wear:
- Conservative colors.
We live in Utah, so conservative colors are safest.
- No tattoos.
If you have tattoos, cover them up. Don’t let your ink distract allow someone to prejudge you, or distract from what you’re trying to convey to the court.
- No crazy jewelry, including earrings.
Again, don’t do anything that may cause a bad first impression (guys, this means no gauges or earrings). No crazy necklaces, earrings, or rings. Tone it down in the courtroom. You can always wear that stuff later after you win in court.
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