How To Dress Appropriately For Court: A Style Guide For Women

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Going to court is a serious matter, and you want to make sure that your appearance reflects this! Here’s a guide on what to wear to court for women, so that you know how to give off the right impression. 

What you wear in the courtroom can have an impact on how the judge views you, so it’s important to dress appropriately at all times with proper courtroom attire. This article will discuss what women should wear when having a court appearance or attending a hearing. We’ll also touch on what not to wear in the courtroom if you don’t want people whispering behind your back!


Judge in courtroom


If you are ever called to testify in a court hearing, it is essential that you dress appropriately with a professional look. Appearance matters, why is that?

Your appearance in the courtroom matters greatly as this is a big influence when judges and juries are determining your credibility. You are more likely to be considered and taken seriously when you’re dressed in an appropriate outfit and your appearance is well-kept, and therefore shows everyone that you are a serious person and you mean serious business.


4 Tips On How To Dress For The Courtroom

1. Be Modest

There are certain guidelines that will always apply when it comes to dressing appropriately for court. The general rule is that what you wear should be modest and conservative, meaning no low-cut tops or short skirts. You want people in the courtroom paying attention to what you have to say rather than what they can see!

The most important thing is not showing your skin – this includes cleavage, shoulders, arms or legs. Wear a conservative dress or any other appropriate clothing that complies with the court dress codes. Another equally important factor is making sure nothing inappropriate shows through clothes (e.g., lace). 

2. Dress Smartly

When it comes to dressing professionally, you always want to dress the part. What people wear in court is generally business attire – meaning a suit or formal dress for women and suits/dress shirts with ties for men. A nice outfit that shows respect will go far when trying to make a good impression on those who are deciding your case!

3. Go For A Sleek Style

This means showing up to court in tailored pants or a tailored trouser suit, or even something as simple as a clean dress shirt or blouse.

4. Wear Neutral Colors

Avoid bright colors. These tend to be distracting in a professional setting. Instead, we recommend wearing neutral solid colors like black, navy blue, grey, white, cream and beige. 


What Outfits To Wear In Court

1. Button-Up Blouse + Sleek Pants


White button up blouse and black straight leg pants for court

Get these pants at Lulus


In our opinion, the best option (and also the most classic one out of the rest when it comes to legal proceedings) is a simple button-up blouse or a long-sleeved dress shirt tucked into a pair of sleek, tailored straight-leg dress pants. You can also go for a collared shirt or a nice blouse, and a pair of slacks.


2. Simple Black Dress

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Simple black sheath dress for court

Get this dress at Lulus


When in doubt, just go for a simple black dress that is also modestly styled. Avoid dresses with spaghetti straps (if you have no other option, cover yourself up with a blazer). 


3. Trouser Suit / Blazer & Pants


Trouser suit for court

Get this blazer at Nordstrom


Another option to go for are trouser suits since these will make you look confident and sleek. You can opt for a matching blazer and pants suit, or you can wear a neutral blazer with different colored pants.


4. Modest Top + Pencil Skirt


White long-sleeved top with black pencil skirt


Get the skirt on Lulus


A classic business casual combination, a modest blouse and a pencil skirt is another appropriate courtroom attire.


What Not To Wear In Court


1. Shorts & Ripped Jeans

It’s just common sense not to show up in something so casual and inappropriate. Remember that you are there to represent yourself, what to wear is also a respect to the law and the courtroom.

2. Inappropriate Footwear

Athletic sneakers and flip-flops are a big no-no. High heels and dress shoes are fine, as long as they are in a neutral color.

3. Revealing Clothes

Absolutely no short skirts, crop tops, sleeveless shirts, muscle shirts, tank tops, tops with deep low necklines… you get the idea. Always dress as modestly and as conservatively as you can so you won’t draw much attention to your body.

4. Loud And Bright Prints 

If possible opt for solid colors over patterns as these may draw more attention than necessary. Minimize jewelry so don’t wear any large earrings. Lastly if possible avoid bright colors – orange pants with a light pink shirt isn’t exactly subtle and will divert attention away from what you are saying. This isn’t what you want!


5 More Court Appropriate Outfits For Women




Black and white striped blouse with dress pants


Get the blouse on Lulus




Tweed midi pencil skirt


Get this skirt on Shein




Black patterned blouse tucked into black dress pants


Get these pants on Lulus




Blush pink blazer for court


Get this blazer on Nordstrom




White collared blouse with emerald green straight leg pants


Get the pants on Lulus (but ditch the bag!)


Commonly Asked Questions

What’s the usual dress code for federal courts in the United States?

 This really depends on the courtroom, but always keep this in mind: Wear clothes like you’re going to a job interview. Court cases are serious occasions, and respecting the court means showing up in appropriate attire.

Can I wear accessories to a court date?

 Sure, but no over-the-top jewelry like chunky bangles or thick necklaces: keep your jewelry simple and minimalistic. The basic rule when it comes to your appearance would be to wear dainty or small earrings, wear light makeup, and if you have long hair, brush it up in a ponytail or keep it in a bun.


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