Fashion Tips for the Courtroom3/22/2017
Fashion Tips for the Courtroom
However trendy or casual your personal style may be, when you attend the courtroom, special unwritten 'rules' apply. While it's clearly vital to look smart, you need to remain respectful of the more formal atmosphere of the courtroom and the role you're there to perform.
These tips may assist you in avoiding any courtroom faux-pas, whether that means lessening your comfort during the day or helping your chances of success.
Choose Classic Suit Styles
It's important to select the right suit style for courtroom attendance; you've probably got a lot at stake on this day, and you need to strike the balance between being taken seriously and appearing over-confident or carefree.
Your suit should be modern 'enough', yet not the epitome of style, avoiding all forms of overt fashion statements. It doesn't matter if the current trend happens to be wide lapels or a slight flare to the leg. You should be seen wearing suits traversing time and style, in other words, ones that don't date easily and cannot be considered distasteful. If you're unsure what denotes a classic suit, stick with gray, charcoal, and navy tones. Patterns are fine, but keep them subtle and minimal. Stay away from bold stripes or loud plaids. Ready to get started? Shop suits.
Resist the lure of the trendily-cut suit. However appealing it may seem, it's vital not to stand out for the wrong reasons. Keep your individual fashion preferences for less formal occasions.
Ensure Breathable, Appropriate Fabrics
Breathable fabrics (natural fibers) commensurate to the time of year will ensure you stay comfortable through what will prove to be long, warm, and likely high-pressure days.
Lightweight cotton, silk-blend or linen-mix summer suits will wick away perspiration and have the dual benefit of remaining smart. They won't age easily or turn shiny when pressed.
For a chilly winter, choose woolen suits or a wool-cashmere mix; these are often the fabrics of choice for classic suits, anyway.
Buy Sufficient Garments
If you're a lawyer, or in courtrooms frequently, it makes sense to have two good quality winter suits and at least three summer suits, since attending a trial many days in a row means alternating suits will be necessary. You'll want to be seen varying your suits but also, alternating gives you time to drop the worn garments off for cleaning.
In summer, you'll struggle to feel fresh, so you might even choose to take a spare shirt along to the courtroom each day and change during lunch or breaks. Feeling fresh and clean will help you feel on top of your game, no matter how long and arduous the courtroom days turn out to be.
'Buying sufficient garments' for the courtroom may sound expensive, but you can negotiate prices with gentlemen's tailors; every tailor--whether selling you bespoke or off-the-peg garments--would leap at the chance to sell three or more suits, and it could work out more cost-effective than buying from a large store. In addition, when purchasing from a tailor, you can be sure your suits will fit perfectly; even off-the-peg suits will be more keenly tailored and you'll have all the right advice to hand.
Well-fitting suits are just as important as buying breathable fabrics since a poor fit (especially if too slim-fitting) will render you hot and uncomfortable. Therefore, the fit and the fabric are all part of the same thing.
Keep to Muted Colors
Don't be worried about appearing staid and boring; muted colors are the order of the day in the courtroom. Adhere to black, navy blue and dark gray, with the latter being better suited to summer than winter.
Your tie and shoes should be equally understated; while vibrant ties and colorful socks may be all the rage in other settings, they are not the correct courtroom attire. You do not want counsel or the judge to raise their spectacles at your color choice; the aim is to blend in. For this reason, patterns, stripes and checked fabrics are also to be avoided.
Muted colors do not mean you need to under-dress, however, nor do you want to make up for the muted tones by wearing ostentatious, over-expensive fabrics. A mid-quality suit is preferable, ensuring you're neither under- nor over-dressed.
Don't 'Dress Up' Suits Unnecessarily
The point of selecting classic suits is to appeal to the taste of the courtroom's formal, somber atmosphere, so not 'dressing up' your attire is just as important. This means avoiding 'bling' and accessories that can raise eyebrows. Old-school lawyers will dislike jewelry or forms of affluence in the courtroom and may deduce you're a fly-by-night not taking matters seriously.
It's important to wear the right watch, shoes, socks, belt and cufflinks to accessorize your suits. These also should be classic in style. Good brands are desirable, but a flashy Rolex watch or high-shine Hermes belt buckle would be inappropriate. Your shoes should be black and traditional, with a good, unworn and clean heel.
Your tie and socks should be muted, too, as the aim is to match, not contrast; because of this, it's ideal if your suit is a matching two- or three-piece rather than separates. Your shirt collar style should be classic and fastened to the top before being finished off with a dark or dark-striped, traditional-style tie.
Finally, accessorizing could even be said to determine the scents you wear and the baggage you take to the courtroom, as well as how everything is presented. Avoid strong scents and after-shaves, and ensure your briefcase or trolley-case complements your clothes. Ensure everything is smartly-laundered, and your shoes and briefcase are well-polished and clean.
In short, while you want to make a good impression, nothing about your fashion sense should provoke discussion or be especially remarkable. Following these basic but sensible tips will ensure you always look and feel appropriately dressed for the courtroom day, and that you're taken seriously by your clients, lawyers, or even your foes.
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