This is a great question I’ve seen and heard often, what should I wear to court? Usually, women are going for their first time, to finalize the divorce, or to fight the custody arrangements after divorce.
Dressing to be taken seriously, to seem confident, and all-around collected is a must! Do not dress to impress your ex-husband or to gain his attention, that will backfire because many judges and the lawyers will notice, as well. This will be the time you’ll want to look the most professional that you can look. In a way, you’ll want to blend in, to the professional crowd, instead of standing out!
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What You Should Wear (Different Optional Pieces):
- Clothes that fit (baggy clothes are not appropriate; it looks like you’re hiding something but not too tight either)
- Solid color (black, gray, brown or navy) or thin-pinstriped dress pants (no capris)
- Solid color (same as above) pencil or another type of dress skirt (3/4 or full length–to the knee or beyond)
- Solid, striped, or muted-color blouse
- Solid or small print dress (to the knee or beyond)
- A blazer (if you have one/can afford to buy one)
- A cardigan sweater (if you’re wearing short sleeve or a top with low cut neckline add a sweater and/or a scarf)
- Closed-toe pumps under 3″ or flats
- A limited amount of jewelry or none
- A natural look and muted colors of make-up (tone it down!)
- Little to NO perfume
- Light-colored, neutral, or no nail polish
- Glasses if you wear them (leave the sunglasses in the car, unless you’re blind)
Examples on Amazon (Click Image to Open Link):
Need More Ideas? Search Pinterest for “Court Attire” or “Womens Business Professional”
You could even create your own look from pieces you have in your closet. I’ve had a couple of pairs of really nice black and dark pinstriped dress pants in my closet for years. One pair I purchased from Kohl’s when my mother died in 2010 (only wore them a handful of times since). Now, I just pair them with different tops, cardigans, or a blazer to complete the look.
If you want you could purchase a simple black dress; nothing that shows cleavage. You can wear it to court, to a formal party, and to funerals. Depending on the dress you could dress it up or down depending on the event. See these nice examples; these would be okay for court.
If you know you won’t want to wear these clothes again after wearing them to divorce court, then buy from Goodwill or another thrift store. Then, donate it back to the store after washing so another woman who needs professional work clothes or is going to court can use them as well.
What NOT to Wear:
- Nothing loud, obnoxiously bright (maybe if it’s under a blazer), or anything that draws the wrong attention to you.
- Tank tops, spaghetti-strapped, or shirts that show your shoulders, cleavage, or midriff (you want to dress modestly; cover it up)
- Sundresses, short skirts, or anything too casual (if you’d wear it at the beach it’s not allowed in court)
- Open-toed or bright red shoes (tans, black, or navy are a better choice)
- Sneakers or sandals
- Demin jackets
- Shorts or jeans (some courts will NOT allow you in the front door with shorts, skorts, or cut-offs on; long jeans may be allowed but they need to be free from holes, the darker the better, so they look like dress pants and not your comfy jeans)
- Hats or anything on your head (unless it’s a hijab)
- Bright-colored hair (now is not the time to dye your hair pink, purple, or teal; wait until the divorce is final)
- Facial piercings (take the nose or tongue ring out when you’re at the courthouse; the judge will notice when you open your mouth!)
Cover your cleavage, midriff, thighs, your tattoos (if possible), brush your hair and pull it up if it looks stingy. And do NOT smell like cigarette smoke, drugs, or alcohol (even if it’s from people you live with). Do not try to cover it with perfume! Just be fresh and clean.
No, I’m not being judgmental here; dress how you want any other time!
This is serious stuff!
Remember you are representing yourself as a good citizen of your community, showing the court you are better than they say you are, AND the best parent for your child. Sadly, as much as you hate it (we all do!) you’re being judged on your appearance because the judge doesn’t have time to get to know you personally so he/she’s judging how you look and behave in court.
Do your best to impress… then go home and be yourself!
Also, GRAB this FREE Divorce Preparation Guide to learn all the legal divorce terms that you’ll hear in court and from your lawyer.
I hope this was helpful to you!
What questions do you have about what to wear or what not to wear? Or feel free to share your court experience story that could encourage someone else. [Real name not required.]
Many blessings on your divorce journey,
Image Credits (Clothing Ideas): Amazon.com & Pinterest.com