Whether you are a defendant, a victim, witness or spectator, you would think that dressing appropriately for court is a given. Not so.

In my 46 years as a practicing criminal defense lawyer, I am constantly amazed at how some people dress when they come to court. I’ve seen people come in with shorts, very short skirts, revealing clothing, t-shirts with vulgar or violent sayings on them, wearing flip-flops, bathing suits, more jewelry or gaudy bling than are in most jewelry stores, just to name a few sights.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m all for people expressing their own style and individuality, but when you go to court, you should dress appropriately. No need to impress with fancy clothes, or jewelry (that includes lawyers), but dressing respectfully is basic. After all, we are all judged, rightly or wrongly, by how we appear to others. So, I respectfully advise you to dress modestly whenever you appear in court.

Men should wear long pants (not jeans – even expensive ones) and a clean, pressed shirt. If you are comfortable wearing a suit or a sport coat, do so. Women should dress in a modest manner. If you wear jewelry, fine; just don’t overdo it. I’m not being judgmental, but I have seen what happens when someone comes into court dressed inappropriately: they lose credibility instantly. And, that is never good.

In our law firm, we take the time to prepare our clients, witnesses and supporters, before court. We want every possible advantage for our clients. Credibility matters!