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How to Dress for Criminal Court


If you are scheduled to appear in court for an alleged criminal offense, one of the things you must prepare for is what to wear. Since defendants often never testify at trial, how you dress shows how much you respect the court and that you take the charges against you seriously.

Both men and women should dress conservatively like they are going to work, a religious service, or an otherwise formal gathering. The colors of the clothes should be dark and neutral such as navy blue or dark grey—not bright or light.

How Men Should Dress to Court

Men should wear a suit and tie to criminal court since it makes them appear more professional. However, if your suit doesn’t fit or you don’t have one, you can wear a white or light blue button-down dress shirt, dress slacks or khakis, dress shoes, and a black or brown belt. Instead of a sports jacket, men could wear sweaters over dress shirts.

Men SHOULD NOT wear the following types of clothes to court:

  • Jeans
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Athletic sneakers
  • Sandals
  • Work boots
  • Hats

How Women Should Dress to Court

Women should wear dresses and pant suits. In addition, a combination consisting of a professional blouse and a dress skirt is appropriate.

Women SHOULD NOT wear the following types of clothes to court:

  • Crop tops or tops with spaghetti straps
  • Strapless dresses or sundresses
  • Exercise outfit
  • Cut-offs or short shorts
  • High-heel spikes
  • Open-toed shoes

Other Areas of Concern

Jewelry and make-up should be kept to a minimum. If you have any revealing tattoos, please try your best to cover them up. If your hair is unkempt or unnaturally dyed, schedule a hair cut or an appointment to dye your hair back to a normal color. Ensure you take a shower and brush your teeth before going to court and avoid smelling like alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana.

If you have been charged with a crime in Bergen County, NJ, contact the Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC today at (201) 574-7919.

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