What to Wear to Court in Pennsylvania
December 16, 2021 | Personal Injury
It’s important to put care into your appearance when you’re called to appear in court. Dressing properly shows respect for the court and legal proceedings.
In some courtrooms, you may be prevented from entering if you do not compy with the dress code. Knowing how to dress is a small but essential part of preparing for court. With this in mind, here are a few tips for courtroom dress in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Court Dress Code
The state of Pennsylvania doesn’t have one cohesive dress code for court. Typically, each courtroom relies upon a dress code specific to its county.
While the particulars might differ from one county to the next, it’s safe to assume that business casual attire is the expectation in any court.
It’s also common for a court to specify articles of clothing or headwear that are not allowed in the courtroom. Certain items of apparel should always be avoided when going to court, such as:
- Crop tops
- Ripped or dirty clothing
These items are always a bad idea to wear in a courtroom. You may even be barred from entering the courtroom for wearing them.
If you’re serving as a juror, you should also take care in choosing your clothes. The Berks County, PA, court dress code for jurors recommends business casual clothing and expressly forbids shorts, tank tops, or halter tops.
Clothing and Appearance Guidelines
If you go to court for any reason, you should pay close attention to both your attire and personal grooming. Your appearance speaks for you. Consider the following guidelines:
When possible, opt for business casual attire. This means a suit or dress pants with a button-up shirt or a polo for men. Shoes matter, too. Dress shoes are the best choice, although they are not strictly required.
The standard is the same for women—business casual—and may include dress pants with a blouse or dress shirt. Women might also choose a dress or a skirt and blouse.
Dresses or skirts should also be appropriate for the occasion. A dress meant for the office is fine, but a dress meant for a nightclub should not be worn to court.
In addition to your clothing, a court appearance means generally presenting yourself as clean and well-groomed. Practice good hygiene, such as showering and applying deodorant, to ensure you’re presentable and odor-free.
Men should consider a shave and haircut, while women should avoid elaborate or unkempt hair. Some courts will bar entrance to the courtroom over the presence of hair curlers. Hair, skin, and nails should all look groomed and presentable.
Attire to Avoid
Both men and women should avoid jeans, shorts, t-shirts, ripped or dirty clothing, along with clothing that has noticeable images or logos, sneakers, and sandals.
You should also minimize non-essential items on your person. Accessories are not necessary for the courtroom, and they can detract from your appearance. Hats, chains, and excessive jewelry should be left at home.
If you’re unsure about your attire, you can check your paperwork or consult with your legal counsel.
Dress to Impress
Court appearances occur for a wide variety of reasons: child custody, workers’ compensation, divorce, personal injury, and more. The reason why you’re in court doesn’t matter; the expectation is that you’ll dress to show respect for the law.
Appearing in court in appropriate attire is important. Your clothing can impact the impression you give and even influence the outcome of your case. Even worse, clothing that is too casual or revealing can prevent you from entering the courtroom at all.
With this in mind, commit to making a good first impression by wearing attire that shows respect.