I grew up going to court. That’s not as bad as it sounds: I was a participant in this social-system experiment called teen court where teenagers decided on the fitting punishment for juvenile offenders. I didn’t hear of anyone getting hunted down, and punishments generally involved community service and essays, and one time court-mandated driver’s ed. But when you’re a volunteer jury member, you get used to the drill in court, free of the politics that lawyers have to deal with.
Funny thing about judges? They’re judgmental. The way you dress matters, and you will be dismissed from the courtroom if your attire is deemed inappropriate. Judges are like little kings in the US check and balance system, their kingdom their courtroom. Judge Judy is downright sweet compared to what some judges will tolerate. And while I can’t help you with a court case, I can help you out by pointing you out to the type of clothing expected.
Keep to these simple guidelines:
- Be conventional – while everywhere else in life you can choose to be as wild and crazy as you want, the courtroom is where you need to be heard more than anything else in the world. Dress in such a way that the judge will pay attention to you and not to what you’re wearing.
- No hats. You see women wearing hats in old movies, but those days are gone. Don’t wear them – the judge will know you’ve seen old movies, and this will annoy him/her.
- Mind your shoes – judges will give you an up-and-down, and if you’re wearing sneakers or boots you may be asked to leave and come back appropriately dressed. Much worse, your shoes may be mocked and you will be otherwise allowed to stay. Judges are allowed to do this – and there’s nothing you can do.
- The only skin that should be showing is arms, calves, and above the neck. Do NOT pick a sleeveless number.
- Never, under any circumstances, go to a courtroom showing cleavage of any kind.
- Stay away from prints our loud colors. Go with solids.
- Wear a jacket if possible.
- Shoes should be conservative with a 2″ or less heel.
- If you can afford it, wear a suit – it’s the courtroom standard.
- Make sure you’ve got camisoles, hose, etc. lined up properly. Keep them solid – this is no time for patterned hose or peekabo camis.
It’s even a good idea to pick out an outfit at least a week before and make sure it fits you properly. This is the exact time to use Hollywood tape and various underwear adjusters to make sure your clothing stays on exactly the way it’s supposed to. One stray bra strap might spell an expensive doover for you. Seriously, judges can be that picky if they want to.