Criminal Defense Attorney Kellie Mannette

919-351-5586 (Chapel Hill)
919-972-8390 (Raleigh)

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What should I wear to court?

This is a question I get a lot. The answer is “it depends.” Based on a variety of factors, your lawyer may want you to dress in a particular manner. But there are some basic don’ts (I have seen everything mentioned here at some point):

1. Don’t wear shorts, whether you are male or female. They always look out of place in a courtroom, and I have heard of judges who will not allow anyone wearing shorts in their courtroom.

2. Don’t wear articles of clothing with profanity on them. Along the same lines, any clothing with words or graphics that are sexual, related to drugs, or have any gang references should not be worn. If you get to court and realize you wore a shirt like this, turn it inside out.

3. Don’t let your pants sag. Almost all judges require pants to be pulled up around one’s waist when they are in court. Additionally, men must have their shirts tucked in.

4. If you are female, clothing should not be revealing. In general, this means it should not be tight, skirts should come to the knee, shirts should have sleeves, and you should be showing no cleavage whatsoever.

5. Do not wear a hat or head covering into the courtroom (unless it is a religious practice to do so). You will be ordered to remove it. Along the same lines, do not put your sunglasses on your head.

6. Do not wear slippers in the courtroom. Or anywhere outside of your house, for that matter. Same rule goes for pajama pants.

Frankly, what you wear in the courtroom should not matter. But it does. So be aware of what you are wearing, and what your clothes are saying about you when you walk into a courtroom. You do not necessarily need to wear a suit, and you should not have to go out and buy clothes specifically for court. But you should show respect to the court through your choice in clothing.

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Chapel Hill Office:
301 W. Barbee Chapel Rd.
Suite 309A
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
Phone: (919) 351-5586

Raleigh Office:
5 West Hargett Street
Suite 310
Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 972-8390