One of my favorite shows on TV was the reality show, What Not To Wear. Stylists Clinton Kelly and Stacy London helped transform the lives of women (and men) by changing their clothing and giving them a new haircut. I was always amused when participants felt that their appearance did not matter because they were good people and other good people would recognize that. Stacy and Clinton spent many episodes trying to get participants to understand that so much of what people think of you hinges on their first impression of you. Not only is it true in business and in personal situations, it is very important to make a good first impression in court. The judge is not going to get to know you -- they may spend four hours or maybe a whole week with you in their courtroom -- but they will not get to really know you. They will only know what the witnesses say about you and how your spouse portrays you. Therefore, a good first impression (including the clothes you wear) can make a difference in your case.
Today we will focus on men and their appearance in court:
- Clothes should be clean.
- Clothes should not have holes.
- Clothes should fit. Not too tight and not too loose.
- Do not wear shorts.
- Tuck in your shirt.
- Do not wear shirts with printed material on them. For example, a Corona Light t-shirt you got at a bar in college.
- Do not wear beach shoes or flip flops.
- Shave. If you have facial hair, make sure you have groomed your beard and mustache.
- Do not wear cologne but do use deodorant.
- Jeans or slacks. This is really up to you. I think slacks make a better impression but as long your clothing is clean and free of holes then I think you should wear what makes you most comfortable.
- Suit. If you feel comfortable in a suit, then you should wear one. However, if your suit is ill-fitting then it would be better to wear a nice button down shirt and a pair of slacks over a suit.
If you question whether something is appropriate, then it probably is not. Notice that I did not talk about designer clothes. It does not matter whether your clothes come from a garage sale or from Neiman Marcus.
Always ask your attorney if you have questions about what to wear.