Does It Matter What You Wear To Court

Recently an article appeared about a judge in a small Pennsylvania town who posted a sign outside his courtroom asking that people dress appropriately. What got this judge to post such a disclaimer was the fact that he was upset by the vast amount of people entering his courtroom still in their pajamas.

Now you might be wondering can the judge do that? And does what people wear affect the outcome of their case?

The reality is there is no prescribed dress code in most courts. You will be told to dress comfortably, but avoid extremes in dress; for instance, ragged cutoff jeans/T-shirts or clothing with inappropriate or offensive writing on them. However, judges have been known to order people to reappear in appropriate attire.

So although pajamas might be acceptable going grocery shopping or out with friends, they really aren’t appropriate for court appearances.

You see, what we wear is as important as what we say.

When we wear certain clothes such as pajamas out in public or in areas where people can interact with us we give them the impression that we are unkempt and that appearances don’t mean much to us. Not having pride in appearance can make people scrutinize our behavior and make assumptions that can affect the outcome of the case or the amount of settlement.

Why do I share this bit of dress code information?

It’s important to realize that when we appear in court, we do so to help our cause and when we dress in a condition that might have people questioning us, well, we can actually tip the scale out of our favor and potentially ruin the case. Yes, the clothes we wear can have an impact on the jury’s behavior and how the judge perceives your testimony.

Pajamas, t-shirts with wild designs, shorts, flip-flops, sneakers and even baseball caps will give the impression that you really don’t care about your case. Wear those clothes that you would wear to church or some would say your “Sunday Best”. You don’t have to dress to the “nines” as my grandmother would say…just nice enough to give the impression that you care about your appearance.

In Indiana we get those same types of people trying to push the limits of their appearance…tattoos, piercings, chains…the list goes on and on. We always advise clients to dress appropriately, to cover up offensive tattoos and remove piercings as if their case depends on it. Remember the old adage… “you never get a second chance to make a first impression!”

Make that first impression count.

Our mission here at The Law Offices of David W. Holub is to provide top quality legal representation, to inform, to educate and to guide. We also share with you why things like proper attire matter and why impressions count, and why we strive to be attentive and accessible to all our clients’ needs. But most of all, we strive to represent each client aggressively to obtain prompt and favorable results.

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