Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Courtroom Attire for Ladies

Austin is a very casual town so many of my clients often ask for advice on what to wear to family court.
Dress to impress especially if you are in a hotly contested custody battle. The judge will be observing your dress, appearance, demeanor, and conduct in the courtroom. When in doubt, think super ultra conservative. That means no fashion statements, no bare arms, no strapless tops, no cleavage showing, no open-toed shoes/sandals/flip flops, no jeans, no short short skirts/dresses, no sneakers, etc. That sure is alot of "Don'ts"!  

So what are the Do's?  Conservative pieces, conservative colors. Opt for a nice pair of dark slacks (or knee-length skirt) and a very conservative blouse (not tight/not sheer). A jacket with simple earrings and watch is perfect.  No big dangly earrings.  You don't want the judge or the jury to be distracted by such items when listening to your testimony.  

If you have perused your closet and you do not have anything that would be appropriate, it's time to go shopping.  Since you and your significant other are fighting for every dollar, go somewhere where you can get classic pieces for rock bottom prices.  My go-to places are Target and Goodwill. Both places always have black skirts/slacks and white shirts in stock, Goodwill especially.  If it's winter, you can add a sweater from your closet.  If it's summer, look for a scarf to knot around your neck or light weight sweater/jacket.  It will be cold in the courtroom.

In this courtroom illustration, Nicole Richie appears in court on DUI charges way back in July 27, 2007 in Glendale California. I love Ms. Richie's fashion sense but such "fashion" is not appropriate when appearing in court. The main problem with this dress is that it shows too much shoulder and arm.  However, a very simple fix is a nice, fitted jacket. 

Stayed tuned for the next post to be on a Gentleman's Attire!

Illustration by Mona Shaefer Edwards/Getty Images