Going to court for a personal injury lawsuit after a situation like a car accident can be stressful. Your DuPage County personal injury lawyer will prepare you for the trial. Understanding the process can help you remain calm and focused on your role throughout the process.
Ideally, all court cases should be decided based on the merits of the case. However, human nature can get in the way. For example, people often make snap decisions based on a person’s appearance.
Therefore, looking respectful and professional when attending court in DuPage County for a personal injury case is best. Dressing appropriately does not mean you need to purchase an expensive suit.
Comfortable, well-fitted, conservative clothing is best for a court appearance. Overdressing or “trying to impress” can cause negative opinions, like showing up for court in sloppy, torn clothing.
How Should I Dress for My Personal Injury Trial?
Always discuss this question with your DuPage County personal injury attorney before the first day of your trial. However, some guidelines to keep in mind about what to wear to court include the following:
What Not To Wear to Court?
Sometimes, explaining the items you should not wear to a personal injury trial is easier. Those items include:
- Exercise clothing
- Muscle or sleeveless shirt
- A top with thin straps (i.e., spaghetti straps)
- Strapless dresses and sundresses
- Clothing that is too large or too small (avoid “skin-tight” attire)
- Blue jeans (If these are your only pants, talk with your lawyer to discuss your options)
- Clothing that reveals undergarments
- Shorts or cut-offs
- Anything you would wear to the beach, to work in your yard, or to take the kids to the park or zoo
- Shirts with references to food, alcohol, politics, or religion
- Crop tops
In addition to your clothing, you should pay close attention to your shoes. Do not wear flip-flops, open-toed shoes, work boots, spiked high heels, or athletic shoes. Also, avoid wearing a lot of jewelry, especially if it makes noise when you move.
Tips for Hygiene and Appearance in Court
When going to court, you must also pay close attention to your hair and hygiene.
Hair should be neat and dry. Do not come to court with wet, messy, or dirty hair. It is also best to avoid unusual haircuts and unnatural colors as well.
Whenever possible, cover tattoos and remove piercings before entering the courtroom. Bare legs and bare shoulders are not advisable.
Generally, you want to appear clean. Men should be clean-shaven or have neat, trimmed beards. Ensure your nails are clean, trimmed, and not polished with neon or bright polish.
Avoid perfume and scented lotions. Some people are very sensitive or allergic to fragrances.
Court Attire Guidelines for Men and Women
It is not fair that someone would judge you by your appearance. However, it happens every day. When you go to court, you want every advantage possible.
Therefore, dressing conservatively can help. The judge and jurors “see” that you are taking the matter seriously. Dressing conservatively helps them focus on your testimony and the evidence presented in court instead of your appearance.
Guide for Women
Women should opt for a conservative dress, business suit, or pants suit. Dress pants and a conservative top also work.
Keep jewelry to a minimum. Trim nails and polish them with a neutral color. Wear close-toed shoes that are flat or wedge-heeled.
Make sure you brush your teeth, wear conservative makeup, and have neatly groomed hair. If possible, schedule a haircut about two weeks before the trial to ensure you have a neat cut and take care of any issues with your hair color.
Guide for Men
Men should wear a suit and tie or dress pants and a long-sleeve button-down shirt with a collar. A sports coat with dress pants is also appropriate. Make sure that your belt is neat and matches your outfit.
Schedule a haircut a couple of weeks before the trial. Make sure your beard and mustache are trimmed and neat. Brush your teeth and keep jewelry to a minimum.
Why Does It Matter What I Wear to Court?
As discussed above, people often make instant judgments based on appearance. Then, they listen to what we say. Unfortunately, first appearances often stick with people.
Jurors are average individuals. They are instructed to decide the case based on the evidence they hear and the law explained to them by the judge. However, jurors have biases just like everyone else.
Therefore, dressing conservatively makes you less likely to trigger someone’s bias unintentionally. Jurors give up their time to appear in court and decide your case. Your outfit and appearance should tell them you treat the trial seriously so they are not wasting their time.
If you have questions about your clothing for trial, talk to your DuPage County personal injury attorney immediately.