Serving Clients in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Loudon, Sevier & Roane Counties

What Do I Wear to Court?

How you dress or how you look shouldn’t matter anywhere, right?  How does what you are wearing make it more or less likely that you committed a crime?  Or say anything about what kind of parent you are?

It may not be right, it may not be fair, it may even be offensive. But the fact is that what you wear to court makes a huge impression on the Judge who is going to decide something that is likely very important to you. So, what do you wear? Here are some guidelines…


  • Anything that shows your legs above the knee, your toenails, your shoulders, or your chest.
  • Anything that you would wear to a club.
  • Anything you would wear to the gym.
  • Anything you would wear to the beach.
  • Anything you would wear camping.
  • Anything you would wear to do housework.
  • Anything you would wear to the prom.
  • More than one ring, necklace, earring, or other jewelry.
  • Anything that shows body art or piercings.

For example, torn blue jeans are a no. So are T-shirts. Pajama pants. Yoga pants. Gladiator sandals. A mini skirt. A camisole. If you don’t own something you think will be appropriate, or you can’t afford an outfit, consult your attorney about your best options.

My favorite outfit was worn many years ago by an innocent man who was charged with soliciting sex. I told him to wear what he would wear to church. He showed up in a metallic gold suit with brown-and-white saddle oxfords and a felt hat with pheasant feathers.  I asked him what he was thinking, and he told me, without a trace of humor, that this is what he would wear to church. With that in mind, I will still advise you that you…


  • Anything your lawyer would wear to court.
  • Anything a pastor would wear to the pulpit.
  • Anything a politician would wear to a national debate.
  • Anything you would wear to a funeral.

When in doubt, cover up, go dark, and be boring. The Judge should not form an opinion about your case after being distracted by what you wear.

 If you’re looking to schedule a case assessment with Margaret Held or another Held Law Firm attorney, call us at (865) 685-4780.