Mark Roman | November 2, 2020 | Personal Injury
The Florida statutes do not prescribe a dress code that must be adopted by all Florida courts. However, certain courts and judges have adopted standard or minimum dress codes for their courtrooms. If your lawyer has not discussed court attire with you yet, you might want to ask your personal injury attorney what to wear to court so that there is no confusion on the day of your hearing.
What is Business Casual?
Throughout Florida, many courts suggest “business casual” as the dress code for anyone attending a court hearing. The Pinellas County Clerk of Court advises jurors to wear business casual attire. However, the only guidance is to use good judgment, and shorts are not appropriate court attire.
Likewise, the Pinellas County Circuit Court for Family Law states that court business is important. Individuals should dress appropriately by avoiding shorts, halter tops, and caps. However, the court does not define “appropriate” attire.
The Oxford Dictionary defines business casual attire as less formal than traditional business attire, but the attire still has a businesslike or professional impression.
Still confused? If so, you are not alone.
Individuals who have never worked in a corporate setting or professional office may not be familiar with business casual attire. However, they might be more familiar with “church attire.” Church attire and business casual are generally similar. The attire is relaxed, but yet formal enough to wear to church.
Many attorneys used to describe what to wear to court as “church attire.” However, church attire does not mean the same thing that it did 20 years ago. It is acceptable for people to wear shorts, t-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops to many churches.
Therefore, “church attire” is no longer suitable for describing what to wear to court. Another way attorneys described what to wear to court is by telling clients to wear what they would wear to a meeting with a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, banker, or doctor.
Yet again, those clothing styles have changed too. The truth is that people wear what they feel comfortable wearing to almost any meeting. That will not work in court.
What Should You Not Wear to Court?
Many attorneys opt for telling their clients what they should not wear to court. Then they give them a detailed definition of what is acceptable as “business casual” for court.
Examples of things that you should never wear to a court hearing include:
- Shorts and mini skirts
- Tank tops, t-shirts, and sleeveless blouses (always cover shoulders completely)
- Jeans of any kind
- Flip-flops, slides, or spiked heels
- Tight-fitting items, including skirts, pants, and shirts
- Tennis shoes and work boots
- Workout clothing, including yoga pants
- Hats of any type
- Clothing that reveals your underwear
- Anything you would wear to the beach, amusement park, or other recreational activity
It is also a good idea to remember that it is best to leave the cologne, perfume, and scented lotions off for the day. Make sure that your hair is clean and neat. The days before a court hearing is not the time to try out a wild color or hairstyle.
What are appropriate items to wear to court:
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Short-sleeved polo shirts
- Khaki pants, skirts, and slacks
- Dress pants and skirts
- Conservative dresses
- Suits or sports coats
- Conservative tops for women
You should appear neat, clean, and a little toward the conservative side. For that reason, cover up tattoos, remove piercings, and avoid clunky, eye-catching jewelry.
What Does it Matter What You Wear to Court?
When you appear in court for your car accident case, slip and fall accident, wrongful death trial, or other personal injury case, first appearances matter. No one deserves to be judged on their appearance, especially in a courtroom.
However, jurors are human, and some of them could form a snap judgment about you based on your appearance. That judgment can change as they learn the facts of what happened to you, but when you are fighting to win a court case, you never want to do anything that could harm your chances of winning even in the slightest.
Probably the most important reason to dress appropriately for court is to let the court know that you take the matter seriously. Taking the time to present yourself in a professional manner lets the judge and the jurors know that you take this matter seriously. Your attire can also give your testimony additional credibility when you are dressed in business casual clothing.
I Still Do Not Know What to Wear to My Personal Injury Trial
Talk with your personal injury lawyer. Some individuals may not own business clothing. In those cases, nice, dark blue jeans with a dress shirt might be appropriate.
Your attorney will help you decide what to wear to court. Do not feel embarrassed to tell your attorney that you do not have a suit or dress clothes. Your personal injury lawyer wants you to tell him because he cares and wants to help you with every aspect of your personal injury case.