How should I dress to go to court in Tarrant County or Dallas County?
How you dress to go to court is important. As some would say, wear your Sunday best. Courtrooms are formal and the judges are very strict about attire from their staff to lawyers to parties to witnesses to spectators. Only jurors can get away with more relaxed attire. The last thing you want to do is get kicked out of a courtroom or have the judge postpone your appearance due to your clothes. Your appearance will definitely tell the judge a lot about you and sometimes those small cues the judge picks up can make a difference. In general, you want to have a conservative, professional appearance.
You will not impress the judge with flashy jewelry or trendy outfits. Even if your divorce attorney or employment attorney comes to court wearing something you feel violates the rules below, keep in mind that your divorce or employment attorney appears in court regularly and knows the judges better than you. I have had judges in Dallas comment favorably on a party’s bright pink hair; while I’ve also heard judges in Fort Worth make life-changing decisions based at least in part upon the way the party was dressed. Whether you believe this is right or wrong is irrelevant. You go to the court that exists, not the court you want for your divorce.
General guidelines for dressing for court in Tarrant County and Dallas County, Texas
I will break down some guidelines for men and women separately; but there is one general piece of advice that applies to both sexes. If you have tattoos and/or piercings, try to cover them up as much as possible, with the exclusion of women having the bottoms of their ears pierced. Yes, it is the twenty-tens and many people have visible ink and piercings.
However, your judge probably isn’t that hip and may not take you seriously. If you have other ear piercings, cover them with your hair if you can. Face piercings: consider using a piercing filler or retainer for the day, if you can safely use one. If you have tattoos on your arms, wear long sleeves. If you have tattoos on your legs, make sure you are wearing slacks that cover them. Tattoos on your neck? Wear a collared shirt. If you have tattoos on your face or hands where it is very hard to conceal them with clothing, consider using tattoo concealer make up to cover it.
With men the biggest problem is often not dressing up enough. I cannot tell you how often men come to court in jeans and a t-shirt. I promise your judge will not be impressed by your Affliction t-shirt. Do not give the judge two tickets to the gun show. I don’t care how great your divorce lawyer; you are not doing yourself any favors.
Suits are obviously acceptable but not required. At a minimum you should wear, “business casual” attire, which means slacks (no jeans) and a dress shirt or nice, solid color polo. Keep your dress shirts with skulls on it or the polo with a design on it for the club. Tuck your shirt in and wear a belt. Wear dress shoes. Comb your hair, trim any facial hair and shave the rest. No hats, shorts, baggy clothes, jerseys, capes (sorry), tuxedos, work uniforms or work boots. Cowboy boots are acceptable in Fort Worth but not preferred.
Women sometimes also come to court too casual but the real offender for women is dressing too provocative. Ladies, just like the men don’t need to show off their biceps in court, there is no need to appear in very short skirts, low cut shirts, or super tight clothes. Women have many more clothing options than men so there’s no doubt a lot I’m leaving out, so make sure you use your best judgment. Picture what your grandmother would say about what you wear to court. If she would think it’s too risqué, you probably need to change. After all, the judge might be a grandmother. No matter how much you think a little skin might improve your chances with the judge, in a courtroom it will work against you many more times than it will help.
Suits are fine but at a minimum you need to wear “business casual” or “professional” attire. Dresses are ok as long as they are not evening-style dresses, too short, or too tight. No latex dresses, no little black dresses, no curiously high slit, etc. If the dress exposes your shoulders or is armless, think about wearing something over it. Shirts should be button up blouses or some shirt with at least some sleeve length and not show too much cleavage. No casual t-shirts, no tank tops, no sleeveless shirts, no tube tops, etc. Tuck your shirt in if it looks better that way.
Pants are fine but you should wear full length pants. No capris. No super tight pants and no jeans or shorts, even dressy ones. Skirts are fine as long as they reach your mid-thigh or longer. Like dresses, no compromising slits. Nothing too tight. Shoes need to be dressy. Heels are fine as long as they are not too stripper-shoe-ish. Flats are ok as long as they are dressy. Heeled boots are ok. No sandals, flip flops, sneakers, etc.
Keep your hair, jewelry and makeup conservative. Don’t wear jewelry that makes noise. Leave the sparkles, glitter, animal prints, latex, PVC, etc. at home. Don’t overdo the perfume. Don’t bring a huge, flashy purse with you. Take your sunglasses off.
Still looking for more information on this subject? Check out this video I made on the same subject: