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What to Wear to a Legal Proceeding

What to Wear to a Legal Proceeding is available on Accurate Court Reporting Inc



Growing up there was a lot of things I remember my parents always telling me to do. There was always the typical sit-up straight or you‘ll have bad posture when you grow-up, always wear clean underwear because let’s face it you just never know and last there is nothing better than a great first impression. A first impression is what can set the tone in whatever you are doing and there are several things that go into that but one we are going to focus on is how to dress to impress.


Whether you are a lawyer, a court certified shorthand reporter, the judge or the defendant, the thing to remember is that any kind of legal proceeding is important and how you dress needs to reflect that you are taking this seriously. For those of you that are being deposed, dressing properly can help thwart any suspicions of guilt, mistrust or disrespect. These are the times when you need not put yourself at a disadvantage to the jury.


Attorneys need to know to that as a professional you need to reflect that you are worth your time and money. In my time working depositions I know that there is a certain level of professionalism that goes into one. I have seen some attorneys show up to the courtrooms in things that wouldn’t be appropriate even if they worked at Wal-Mart. For instance, at a deposition of an expert witness an attorney showed up in cargo shorts, strapped sandals, Hawaiian shirt and safari hat. The reasoning behind this was he was going on a fishing charter right after the deposition. I can understand that it may not have been any time to change but to show up to a deposition dressed like this is a little extreme.


The next question is how do I dress? What should I wear and what should I avoid while at a deposition or any legal proceeding.


Tips for the Gentleman

A major tip is to definitely look professional. There is no penalty for being the best dress person in the room. Here’s a list of things you should do and have as well as three possible solutions to looking professional.


Things you must have:

  • At least one pair of nice Khakis
  • At least one long sleeve, button up dress shirt
  • Dress shoes, dress Socks and leather belt that match, i.e. black shoes, socks and belt.
  • At least two nice ties. Having two neckties is great just in case you are called in to do a deposition and then called to appear in court. This way the same shirt and khakis look different in both occasions.


3 solutions to dressing successfully:

1. A suit and tie. Wearing a suit and tie is always a great thing while at a deposition or in court. This shows confidence and the acknowledgement that you will go the extra mile.

Mens Business SuitMens Business Suit             Mens Business Suit


2. Business casual with a sport coat. Again this suggestion comes from years of experience in dressing down while looking like you dress up. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

Mens Business Sport CoatMens Business Sport CoatMens Business Sport Coat


3. There are some of you out there that don’t own a suit or sport coat. But that is ok. Wearing a pressed pair of khakis and a tucked in, long sleeve button up shirt can be all you really need. Some other suggestions would be to wear a sweater or quarter zipped pullover. Match that with a pair of dress pants or khakis and you will still look good without wearing a suit and tie. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

Men Business CasualMens Business Casual 2


Tips for the Ladies

Just like the gentlemen the major tip is to look professional. There are many ways to accomplish this but the best advice would be to make sure that your dress code lines up to something similar to the corporate world. Things like short skirts and tops that show too much cleavage are obvious things to avoid. When it comes to women’s fashion within the work place I can tell you that I am no expert but have seen over the years timeless fashions that always seem to work.


Things you must have:

  • A pair of nice black, blue or white pumps
  • Accessories. This is what you can get to really show off who you are. By choosing matching sets of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets will really give you the ability to stylize any outfit without spending a lot of money.
  • Handbags and purses. This is really a personal choice as to what style and look you want to achieve. Anything designer works but with so many options out there is won’t be hard to find something within your budget.


3 solutions to dressing successfully:


1. There is nothing wrong with a pant suit, but for those of you that have been turned off by them because of their reputation for being looked at as fashion suicide I am here to show that they are still a great addition to a professional woman’s wardrobe. When wearing the right pant suit or skirt suit it is a really powerful statement that can show you mean business. For a timeless pant and skirt suits I would make the suggestion to lean towards more traditional color choices like black, navy blue, grey or tan. With women fashion anything you were can be styled up through your choice of accessories.

Here are a few suggestions:

Women Business Pant SuitWomen Business Pant SuitWomen Business Pant Suit

Women Business Suit SkirtWomen Business Suit SkirtWomen Business Suit Skirt

2. Dresses are a great choice for keeping a more feminine look while maintaining the level of dress that may be needed. When wearing dresses, as well as skirts in the work place you should be conscience of the length. Anything that is cut higher than right above the knee could be considered too high. There is no need to overdo the style of dress as it can be dressed up with accessories as you like.

Women Business Dress 2Women Business Dresses 1Women Business Dress


3. Casual dress for women is probably the one thing that could be the hardest to determine if it is still formal enough in the work place. On idea would be to replace the more formal suit jacket with a cardigan or a more casual jacket. This still keeps you looking like you mean business and have you feeling more comfortable. If your environment allows it jeans are a great way to dress down without losing any formal appeal. The one requirement to wearing jeans is to leave the distressed ones at home. There is no way that you can look like you mean business while wearing a pair of wholly jeans.

Here are a few successions:

Women Business CasualWomen Business CasualWomen Business Casual


Fashion in the work place is always changing and those changes have made it challenging sometimes for those working in the legal realm. The formalities that once existed decades ago have been traded in for more practical and comfortable choices. The key thing to remember is to always look professional. You fashion choices are really up to you so go out and find what works for you and your budget. A great place you men to start would be Banana Republic, Mens Wearhouse, Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren. For the ladies I look at Macy’s, Kohls, Ralph Lauren and Banana Republic.


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