Should You Still Dress Up for Court?

Court dress codes for online court hearings should still follow the decorum of hearings held in person. Many courts are conducting hearings online using Zoom, due to safety precautions for the coronavirus pandemic and in some instances lawyers or defendants have not dressed appropriately.

According to The New York Times, one judge in Florida issued a letter to lawyers, stipulating the lawyers and defendants should still observe court dress codes. According to the judge, one male lawyer had appeared shirtless on Zoom. A female attorney had appeared in bed under the covers.

Court Dress Codes—Do’s and Don’ts

Dress Code Don’ts

Don’t wear shorts, torn jeans, low cut blouses, T-shirts, tank tops, low hanging pants, baggy pants or see through shirts. Women should not wear short skirts, capris or provocative clothing.

Dress Code Do’s

Dress conservatively as if you were going for a job interview or to church or synagogue.

Men’s Attire

  • A shirt with a collar tucked in
  • Long pants
  • Wear a neutral tie with the dress shirt (preferably solid colored or check patterned. Avoid unusual ties (Santa, cartoon characters, etc).
  • Wear a sports coat if you have it
  • Wear socks and dress shoes (no sneakers)
  • Trim your facial hair if you have a beard, mustache or goatee
  • Wear a conservative haircut (wash out unnatural die colors such as blue or green)

Women’s Attire

  • Wear a skirt or slacks
  • Ensure the skirt is not too short (no more than two inches above the knee–no mini skirts)
  • Wear full-length pants (not capris)
  • Wear a nice blouse or dress shirt
  • Or wear a dress but ensure it is not too revealing (wear a sweater if it shows off arms and shoulders)
  • Wear nice shows (avoid sneakers, flip-flops and if wearing heels, ensure they are not too high)
  • Avoid messy hairstyles and wear a neatly brushed style, such as ponytail or hair in a bun and keep the hair out of your face.
  • Be conservative with makeup and nails (no flashy colors or bright lipstick)
  • No large jewelry that makes noise when you move (the less jewelry the better, unless a wedding ring or watch)
  • Cover tattoos and remove piercings
  • Remove hats and sunglasses

Leave your cell phone in your car.

Your appearance in a court hearing establishes your credibility as a witness and can affect the outcome of your case. If you have any questions about dress codes or proper courtroom etiquette, be sure to ask your attorney.