Having an appointment in small claims court can bring about a large number of emotions. While worrying about everything else involved with a court case, it may be easy to overlook your attire. However, dressing properly can mean the difference between winning your case and losing it. Dressing your best can be a huge help to your case, or the case of the person for whom you are a witness.
Your clothing represents an outward expression of your attitude and respect for the court. For this reason, you should dress as well as you can. Consider your courtroom attire to be similar to that which you would wear on an important job interview. This means you should be in business casual attire. It is not necessary to dress to the nines, but a nice casually dressy outfit is the best idea. For men, business casual entails wearing a nice pair of dress pants and a dress shirt. You can wear a tie or a bowtie as well. A suit jacket is not necessary, but can reflect positively on you. Wear a belt to keep your pants in place, and don’t have your pants in too saggy of a state. Neutral or dark colors work best for clothing, as they tend to look more professional. Business casual for women involves conservative well-fitted outfits. You can choose to wear a pants suit or a skirt. If you opt for a skirt or dress, make sure it isn’t too short. Knee-length is a safe length to wear in court. As with men, go for more classic, neutral-colored clothing. Try to find clothes that aren’t too revealing as far as cleavage or midriff is concerned. Neither gender should make use of shorts or tank tops. They are too casual for a courtroom setting. Make sure your clothes are well-ironed and clean. If you are wearing decent-looking clothes, but they are dirty or wrinkled, you may still come across as less professional than the other party.
Hair and Accessories
Accessorizing for court should follow the less-is-more mantra. Keep jewelry and head gear to a minimum. Leave hats at home, as well as sunglasses. With shoes, think about whether or not you would wear the shoes to a job interview before deciding to wear them to court. Stilettos, flip-flops or sneakers should be avoided. Make sure your hair is in a decent state. Waking up and going into court without brushing your hair isn’t recommended. If you have a lot of facial piercings, you may want to take them out, or put in retainers.
Ticara Gailliard is a college graduate with a degree in communications/film and video production from the University of Memphis. She has been a writer for over 15 years and has been published in local writing magazines such as "Grandmother Earth." She also edited two books for her high school.