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Appearing in a courtroom as a witness, juror or defendant is likely unknown territory unless you are in the law profession. Regardless of what brings you to court, you should put some thought into what you wear. Jeans are incredibly popular. It’s the piece of clothing worn most in the world. That said, can you wear jeans to court?
For whatever reason you are due in the courtroom, one of the first tasks is to contact the court—call ahead, check the website—find out if there is a dress code that specifically states something like: “Wearing jeans is not acceptable.” Once you confirm that jeans are allowed, then the answer is yes.
It’s unlikely that you will be kicked out of a court room for wearing jeans especially if they are allowed based on the courts’ dress code. That said, what you are wearing makes an impression. Even though you can wear them, jeans might not be the best article of clothing to dress to impress.
Let’s dig a little deeper and arm you with some more detail. Then you can decide if you should wear jeans to court, even if you can.
Is There a Dress Code For Court?
Most courtrooms will have some sort of dress code. It might be a formal list of Do’s and Don’ts, or it could be in the form of suggestions and/or examples of what to wear and what not to wear. The only way to know for sure is to contact the court. Information may be listed on their website. Or you may have to pick up the phone and call them.
A Dress Code might look something like this:
Court participants will dress appropriately and respectfully in this professional government environment.
- Males: Collared shirt and long pants (jeans are allowed)
- Females: Dresses, skirts and blouses and long pants (jeans are allowed)
Jeans are allowed and should not be distressed, torn, or faded.
- No shorts are allowed
- No shirts promoting alcohol, drugs or tobacco products
- No shirts with profane or racial slurs
- No head coverings unless for religious reasons.
As you can see by this example, a court will likely give you some guidance of what clothing is deemed as acceptable or not. Let’s take what not to wear a step further.
What Should You Not Wear to Court?
If you can track down the court dress code, it will likely list items that shouldn’t be worn. There are items that should not be worn even if there isn’t a dress code.
Apparel That is Inappropriate for Court at All Times
- Sleeveless shirts, including muscle shirts, tank tops, spaghetti straps and tube tops.
- Gym or exercise items like leggings, yoga pants, sweat-pants, hoodies or shorts.
- Athletic attire. Think sports jerseys, ball caps, warm-up suits.
- Sequins, short hemlines and low-cut tops.
- T-shirts, especially those with a vulgar or offensive message.
- Sundresses, strapless dresses, crop tops and plunging necklines.
- Pajamas, sleepwear and slippers.
- Spiked accessories, oversized jewelry or chains.
- Sweatbands, bandanas and hairnets.
Some other tips to follow when selecting your outfit:
- Make sure all your clothing fits, nothing too big or baggy and nothing too small and tight.
- Your underwear should be out of site. So should your midriff.
- No hats. If you must wear a hat, remove it before entering the courtroom.
- Shorts in any length or style should not be worn.
- Wear shoes but not flip flops, sandals, or sneakers. No super high heels either.
- Sheer or see-through shirts are not appropriate. Cover up.
- Any article of clothing that is ripped or has holes should stay in your closet.
- Your shirt should not make a statement of any sort.
- Think twice about bold colors and patterns, it’s not a fashion show.
- Make sure your clothes are clean and free of stains.
Think about a courtroom like you might think about a job interview or church. A respectful statement should be made with your attire.
Can You Wear Jeans to Jury Duty?
You can wear jeans unless the dress code specifies otherwise. Often a description of the dress code will be included in your jury summons—the letter from the court letting you know that you need to appear as a juror. If you decide to wear jeans, make sure they are comfortable. Jurors may be sitting for long periods of time.
Clothing should be free of rips, tears, and stains, including your jeans.
Can You Wear Jeans to Court As a Witness?
As a witness in the court, you should check to see if there is a dress code that states jeans are not appropriate.
Jeans may be allowed in the courtroom but probably not your best choice as a witness. Making an impression is best with clothing that is on the conservative side like slacks, a dress shirt or blouse.
Can You Wear Jeans to Court As a Spectator?
Yes, you can wear jeans if there isn’t a dress code that states, “no jeans.”
Though you might be able to wear jeans, a courtroom is a serious place. Make sure your jeans have a proper fit and are presentable to the judge and your peers.
What Should a Woman Wear to Court?
It’s best to be a bit conservative. A dress, a skirt or pants with a blouse are all appropriate to wear. If you choose pants, make sure they are full length, avoid capris or long shorts. With a skirt or dress, the hemline shouldn’t be much higher than an inch or two above your knee. No slits or tight clothing. Wear a sweater or blazer with a sleeveless top or dress. Your shoes should be closed-toed with a moderate heel. No stilettos.
Hair, nails and make-up should also be on the conservative side. Modest jewelry, natural looking make-up and trimmed nails are some other good suggestions.
Make a Good Impression
Whether you’re a defendant, witness, juror or spectator, what you wear reflects yourself. Show some respect to someone else’s place of business. A courtroom is a serious environment and there’s no need to call attention to yourself or make a fashion expression. Family court, traffic court, criminal court—it doesn’t matter—take a long look in the mirror and use your common sense. Make sure you are neatly groomed.
Always check to see if there is a dress code for the courtroom that you will visit. If jeans are okay to wear, make sure they are not ripped, torn or too faded. A darker denim with no flaws is the most appropriate if you plan to wear jeans.
Jeans or no jeans, keep your attire respectful and make a good impression.