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Courtroom Attire: 4 Tips on the Dress Code for Women

by Dominic Chandler
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When you’re attending court, it’s important to look professional to inspire trust from the jury and your client and show respect to the authority of the courts. The dress code for women is similar to the dress code for men and below we’ve put together some tips on how you can dress appropriately for court and make a great impression during a case. 

Wear Conservative Outfits

One of the most important things to remember is that a courtroom is a place of business and in turn, you should dress appropriately for work, remaining professional and respectable to convey confidence that you can do your job successfully. 

A conservative outfit for women to wear to court would include a pantsuit, a long skirt or modest dress with a smart professional blazer. 

Don’t wear clothes that are too revealing as you want the focus to be on your argument for or against the case as opposed to making a physical impression. Avoid short skirts, low-cut blouses and dresses and don’t have too much exposed skin around cleavages, arms and legs.

Wear Professional Suits and Dresses

A conservative dress code often equals a professional one. Wearing clothes best suited to your role in court is an easy way to garner respect from the judge and the jury, giving your argument professional weight and giving the right impression that you’re taking the case seriously. 

Business suits, dresses and skirts are the way to go, matching the conservative theme as well as helping you to look formal and authoritative. 

You’ll want to avoid any clothes that are too showy or casual. It’s a given to avoid clothes with materials such as sequins or lace on them and avoid items of clothing such as sweatpants, sandals, leather jackets, sunglasses or shorts. 

If you can, you can get specially made and tailored suits for your court appearances to enhance your professional image. Make sure to go for a sleek business style that fits you well and isn’t loose around your frame.

Wear Neutral Colours for Your Courtroom Attire

When you’re picking out your professional suit for your day in court, make sure to select neutral colours such as greys, browns and blacks. 

Neutral colours will allow your court outfit to remain understated, making it easier for the jury to focus on what you’re saying without being distracted. The right outfit will always help to support your case, allowing you to remain professional and draw the correct kind of attention. 

Bright colours and combinations will distract and detract from your professional image. The same goes for wearing bold patterns like polka dots and stripes. Keeping the design of your outfit neutral alongside the colours will prove enormously beneficial. 

It’s also a good idea to try to avoid any bright or gaudy accessories and jewellery like hats, scarves, bangles and overstated necklaces. This will help your courtroom outfit to remain neutral and make sure you give off the best impression possible to the judge and jury. 

Wearing Barrister Robes in Court

You may find that some of your cases require an extra level of professionalism for court, especially in more serious cases such as criminal court. 

In these situations you, as a female barrister, may be required to wear barrister robes and a wig in court. This will also include wearing a round collared white shirt with a tab down the front. 

Wearing barrister robes in court will help in making a good impression on the jury and your client. It will help you to look more legally professional and mark you as a symbol of authority and power in the court that will always help to lend your arguments more credence. 

Barrister robes bring a sense of formality to the court proceedings, allowing you to honour the history and traditions of court and show your respect for the law. Don’t forget to continue to wear professional court attire underneath your barrister robes to aid in enhancing your legal professionalism. 

Your outfit may not be seen underneath the robes but you should still take care, especially with your shoes. Making sure they are conservative and black with low heels and no open toes. 

The right dress code for women is essentially the same as the dress code for men with the additional option of wearing a skirt or a dress. So long as your courtroom attire remains professional, conservative and neutral, you will be well-placed for making a respectable court appearance and allowing all the power of court proceedings to be put into your argument for your client.

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