As my friends and family know, I’m a decades-long fan of the Grateful Dead, but I know better than to wear tie-dye to court. Court is not a concert — it’s a place of respect and seriousness, a venue where persons appointed as magistrates or judges officiate in the administration of justice.
In other words, it’s not the place to wear a trippy, mind-bending tie.
First Impressions Count
According to a 2009 article in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a person’s clothing is a top factor in how he/she is perceived by others, along with other traits such as a firm handshake and good posture.
The below sections on dressing appropriately and choosing colors are useful for both men and women. The rest is geared to men because that’s what I know. For the female readers, I suggest checking out attorney Dianna Gould-Saltman’s article
I’ve read several lawyers’ blogs where they recommend dressing as if you’re going to your mother’s synagogue or church, or to your grandmother’s for Thanksgiving dinner. I suppose they’re using the mother/grandmother angle to reinforce the idea of respectfulness, modesty and cleanliness, all of which are good guidelines.
I read another lawyer’s blog in which he counseled young lawyers to dress sedately, but once they started getting a few gray hairs, they could dress however they wanted for court. Uh, not true. I have more than a few gray hairs, and I’d never dress any way I want for the courtroom unless I want my case to be treated any ‘ol way the judge wants. Doesn’t matter if you’re twenty-six or eighty-six, first impressions still count.
Choose Suitable Colors
Confession time — I’m blue-black color-blind, meaning I can’t distinguish well between blues, blacks, browns and greens. This means I rely on my color-astute wife to help me pick out clothes for court. When we started dating, she mentioned I was a “fall” person, which made me think she viewed me as some kind of fall guy until she explained I looked best in fall colors, like muted yellow, green, etc. As she explained, wearing the right colors helps a person look healthier, younger and refreshed. Who knew?
My wife suggested I include a color chart in this post, which is below. For those of you who like to read the fine print, yes, this is a color chart from TheChicFashionista.com. May I add that just as real men eat quiche, real men also aren’t intimidated by the word fashionista.
Charcoal, Navy and Blue
In general, these are the best colors to wear to court. They’re not as severe as black, and they complement many colors of shirts and ties. Many years ago at trial college, an instructor claimed that blue was the best color to wear to court because blue connoted “the truth.”
Caveat: Never Wear Brown
The same trial college instructor lectured us that credible trial lawyers should never wear brown to court. Why? Because used-car salesman wear brown suits, so wearing a brown suit connotes the image of a tire-kicking shyster. Hence, I’ve never worn a brown suit to court, or anywhere else for that matter.
Avoid Bright Colors
A lawyer’s appearance should be a subtle, professional message, but if you wear a bright colored suit, you become a distraction. Or worse, a joke. You’re not a crayon, you’re a lawyer. Oh, and avoid white suits, too, as they connote “drug kingpin.”
Select the Right Tie
I have some Jerry Garcia ties, but I don’t wear them to court. I also have a Broncos blue-and-orange tie, but I don’t wear it to court, either. Again, your goal in court is not to dress like a distraction or a cartoon or a rabid sports fan.
I have a variety of solid, dark-hued ties that I rotate with my suits and shirts. A salesman at a men’s clothing store also helped me match some patterned/striped ties with shirts and suits. A rule of thumb: Select patterns/stripes that are tastefully scaled and modest.
What About Shoes?
Keep it simple: Black or dark brown lace-ups. Another lawyer said to never wear square toes, so I’ll toss that suggestion in here, too.
To Shave or Not to Shave
Again, I like keep it simple — I always go to court clean-shaven. For those of you more creatively inclined in the facial hair department, check out this article on The Lawyerist: .
Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
Latest posts by Kaufman (see all)
- Denver Personal Injury Lawyer Shaun Kaufman: Safety Tips for Scooter Drivers
- Tips from a Lawyer: Late or Missed a Court Date? Here’s What to Do
- How to Swim with the Sharks and Not Get Bitten by the Big Bad Wolf: 4 Tips for Hiring the Best Lawyer
How Can We Help You?Call Shaun Kaufman Law at 303-309-0430. We are happy to offer a free, initial phone consultation regarding your case. Or fill out the below contact form, and Shaun Kaufman will get back to you as soon as possible.
Subscribe via Email to Shaun Kaufman Law Posts
Recent Popular Posts by Shaun Kaufman
- Sartorial Tips from a Lawyer: What to Wear to Court As my friends and family know, I'm a decades-long fan…
- Colorado Temporary vs. Permanent Protection Orders There are two forms of protection orders (commonly called restraining…
- Should You Lie or Not Talk to the Police? Can I get into trouble if I lie to the…
- Don’t Be a Cop Magnet: Top 10 Reasons Police Pull Over… It's fairly easy to get pulled over while you're driving.…
- Sentencing: Tips for Preparing a Mitigation Package Sentencing is important in many criminal defense cases. Understand that…
- What Happens When the Police Shoot a Citizen In today's blog, I'm discussing the procedures used by police…
- After the DUI Arrest, What Happens Next? After you are taken into custody for DUI, you will…
- My blog has recently been added to , which is part of one of the largest networks of blog directories on the Web. Please visit to vote for my blog and comment to other blog users.
Shaun Kaufman Law serves clients across…
Denver Metro area and throughout Colorado, the Denver Tech Center, Golden, Brighton, Littleton, Boulder, Lakewood, Longmont, Englewood, Arvada, Fort Collins, Greeley, Aurora, Evergreen, Lakewood, Broomfield, Castle Rock, Parker, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Glendale, Louisville, Lone Tree, Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Cherry Creek, Pueblo, Black Hawk, Georgetown, Eagle, Carbonale,,El Jebel, Leadville, Glenwood Springs, Granby, Grand Lake, Durango, Pagosa Springs, Silverton,Telluride, Ouray, Delta, Gunnison, Lake City, Walden, Loveland. Rifle, Meeker, Rangely, Central City, Salida, Westcliffe, Canon City, Fairplay, Sheridan, Creede, Del Norte, Centennial, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Kiowa. Broomfield, and all communities of The Foothills, The Eastern Plains and the Front Range, Trinidad, Walsenburg and Aguilar.