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What to Wear in Court

What to Wear in Court

No matter what people say, first impressions matter. Yes, we all know that what you look like shouldn’t matter; that it’s your heart that counts. However, human nature does not change and, like it or not, you are judged based off your appearances. You have to give people a chance to know your heart, but if you are slovenly and filthy with dirt under your fingernails, crumpled clothes, and bad body odor, no one will want to get close enough to you to know you as a person.

In court, appearances matter. After all, you are putting your future in the hand (in the case of a judge) or hands (in the case of jurors) who don’t know you from Adam. They don’t have anything to judge you by except how you appear; this includes your physical looks, your demeanor, your attitude, and your words. You want to put your best foot forward, and that means dressing the part of a victim, not of a perpetrator.

Donahue Law Firm is a DUI law firm that helps those accused of DUI (driving under the influence) or DUII (driving under the influence of intoxicants). We specialize in lessening your charges or completely exonerating you. We know DUI law inside and out; we know the law enforcement as well as the court community; we have years of experience. Below, we’ll detail what you need to wear in court in order to make a great first impression and increase the chance of you garnering sympathy, compassion, and hence, the chance of a lesser sentence. Contact us today!


What men should wear in court

Court is a serious business, and you need to take it seriously, especially if you’re defending yourself against a serious charge such as DUI. Donahue Law Firm in Bend suggests that all of our male clients wear a suit preferably. Court is still a place where formal is better. Make sure your suit is fitted, pressed, and you have a nice matching tie. Court is not the place to wear a skull tie or show up disheveled. Remember, how you look matters, and everyone will be taking note.

What men should not wear in court

Casual wear is a big no-no, as are outfits that show a lot of flesh. If you have tattoos, it’s best to hide them. While tattoos are more accepted in society at large, they still can leave a bad impression in someone’s mind, especially if your tattoo involved nudity or lewd positions or words. It also might not be the best place to wear your hemp necklace, earrings, or gold jewelry. Furthermore, Donahue Law Firm in Bend advises that you trim your hair and your beard before your court appearance, and don’t forget to shave. We all remember how Nixon’s five o’clock shadow lost him an election. Details matter. Do not wear:

  • Tennis shoes
  • Shorts
  • Flip flops
  • T-shirt
  • Tank top
  • Jeans
  • Muddy boots

Color matters

You wouldn’t normally think about what color says about you (especially men), but you need to when you go to court. Light colors for suits tend to give a casual air, so avoid tan, gray, browns, or unusual colors of suits that will just have jurors or judges focusing more on your suit color than what you are saying. Donahue Law Firm in Bend suggests that you stick to dark colors, but avoid black, which gives off an air of superiority. Dark gray or navy blue is your best bet.

Choose a shirt that is formal as wear, is white or off-white, and will support your tie gracefully. Try not to choose a dress shirt but a buttoned collar. It doesn’t look the best with your tie and is once again less formal than otherwise. Same with the tie. Pick a matching tie that is not bold by any means — no matter how much you like it or think it’s cute.

The aim of dress is to blend in, meaning you don’t want to wear anything distracting to the jurors. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of your testimony, but no one hears what you are saying because they are thinking how you could possibly be wearing a bright pink tie with whales on it. Be tasteful, and blend in.

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What women should wear in court

Donahue Law Firm in Bend advises women similarly to men — you want to be formal but not over the top formal, such as ball gown formal, but you definitely want to be tasteful. Dress like you would for a job interview or for a business dinner. A dark skirt that doesn’t stand out paired with a white blouse and a matching patternless sweater is perfect on a winter day, or choose a nice dress that is solid in color and dark for a summer day.

What women should not wear in court

The sad fact of the matter is that women will be judged more on their clothing and appearance than men. This is because of society at large, and there’s nothing you can do about it, but go along. Court is not the place to make a statement about societal norms, nor it is the place to wear clothes that accentuate your curves. You want fitted clothing, but not tight. As a woman, your clothing can be misconstrued and give a negative connotation. Be as innocuous as possible.

Keep jewelry to a minimum. The last thing you want to wear is a huge diamond necklace that is the envy of every woman in the court. Again, you do not want to wear anything that would draw attention away from the facts of the case or the testimony in court. Your goal is to blend in. If you are involved in a case that involves money, don’t appear to be well-off. You need sympathy from the jurors and the judge, not envy. If you have tattoos, cover them up as well. Tattoos are even less acceptable on women than they are on men. Wear as natural makeup as possible, and avoid bright red lipstick. You absolutely do not want to wear:

  • Anything see through
  • Anything that shows your cleavage
  • Any tight fitting clothing
  • A mini-skirt
  • Stiletto high heels
  • Tank tops
  • T-shirts
  • Flip flops
  • Shorts
  • Casual shoes
  • Jeans
  • Gaudy makeup
  • Vibrant hair colors
  • Long, brightly painted fake nails
  • Huge nose rings or earrings
  • Anything with a spaghetti strap
  • Anything where someone can see your bra
  • Anything that shows your panty line

Colors for women

In general, Donahue Law Firm, a DUI law firm in Bend, recommends that you stick to dark colors like we recommended for men. Plain is best with little patterns or designs. Dark gray and navy blue are again the go-to colors for court. Don’t wear black for the reasons given above, and avoid red, which is the color of power. No matter your persona by nature, you want to appear meek and at the mercy of the court. Draw out sympathy, and you’ll have a better chance of winning.

Impressions matter, and when you’re facing serious criminal offenses, such as drug charges, domestic battery, and assault and battery charges, or you were arrested for DUI, a very serious charge in most people’s eyes, you want to show the court and all of the court’s attendees that you understand the gravity of your situation. Drawing unnecessary attention to yourself because you thought it would be funny to dress as Garth from Wayne’s World because it’s close to Halloween will not behoove you in the least.


When you’re facing serious criminal defense charges or DUI charges — charges that can potentially alter the course of your life — you need a team of lawyers that is passionate about having your day in court. Because at the end of the day what matters is results. Donahue Law Firm in Bend is a law firm that gets results.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to our dedicated law team. We can answer all of your questions and help you decide on a solid course of action. Our firm understands the potential damage to you as a person and to your family if you are convicted of a serious crime. You need someone in your corner, cheering you on as you roll with the punches. When the going gets tough, you’ll need support. Donahue Law Firm in Bend is here when you need us, whether just to talk to, to vent to, or to offer an uplifting word.

Donahue Law Firm in Bend has been defending people accused of serious criminal offenses and DUI for years. We know what it takes to help lessen your charges or have them dropped, including understanding that how you look in court matters. We believe that you are innocent until proven guilty, and we fight for your story to be heard. With our experience and knowledge, we can help. Contact Donahue Law Firm in Bend for all your criminal defense and DUI law needs!

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