How to Dress for Jury Duty (28 Tips + Expert Insights)

When you receive a summons for jury duty, your first thought might be, “What am I going to wear?” It’s a valid concern and one that many people struggle with.

After all, you want to present yourself in the best possible light and show that you respect the court.

In this article, I’ll share some simple tips to help you choose the perfect outfit for jury duty. We’ll cover everything from the basics of business casual attire to the importance of layering and comfortable shoes.

By the end, you’ll feel confident and prepared to fulfill your civic duty.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is for informational purposes only and may not reflect specific court policies or dress codes. Please consult your local courthouse for precise directives. This is not legal advice.

Opt for Business Casual Attire

My personal favorite, business casual, is your sweet spot for this civic duty. It’s professional enough to show respect for the court but not so formal that you feel out of place.

So, what does business casual look like for jury duty? Think about swapping your jeans for slacks, or if you’re more comfortable in a dress, a modest sundress layered with a cardigan is a great choice.

You want to aim for an outfit that wouldn’t be out of place in an office setting but still feels like ‘you’. Remember, you’ll be sitting for long periods, so comfort is key, but so is a polished appearance.

Ensure Clothing Fits Well and is Comfortable

Imagine sitting in a room for hours on end; now, think about what you’re wearing. Is it too tight? Too loose? Clothing that fits just right can make all the difference. And when it comes to jury duty, you don’t want to be the one constantly fidgeting because your outfit is giving you a hard time. I mean, who needs that extra stress?

Here’s what fitting well and staying comfortable could include:

  • Pants that allow you to sit and stand without restriction
  • Tops that don’t pinch or pull when you move
  • Layering pieces that can adjust to your body temperature throughout the day

It’s not just about looking good; it’s about feeling good too. As we talked about earlier, the right fit complements your professional appearance and conveys that you’re taking your role seriously.

Plus, when you’re comfortable, it’s easier to stay focused on the proceedings and perform your duty effectively.

Choose Neutral Colors

When in doubt, think neutral colors. Why? Because neutral colors don’t scream for attention but have this cool, collected vibe that’s perfect for a setting as serious as a courtroom. We’re talking whites, blacks, grays, navies, and beiges.

These colors keep the focus on the duty at hand rather than on your bold fashion statement.

But hey, choosing neutral doesn’t mean you need to fade into the background. A pop of color with a tie, a scarf, or some accessories? Totally cool, as long as it’s not shouting for attention. It adds a bit of your personality into the mix without crossing into the “too much” territory.

Avoid Revealing Clothing

The courtroom isn’t the place to make bold fashion statements with your clothing choices. It’s more about showing respect to the process and everyone involved. So, dresses that are too short or tops that dip too low? Maybe save those for the weekend.

You’re probably thinking, “But what’s considered too revealing?” A good rule of thumb is if you have to ask, better opt for something else. We’re going for a look that says, “I’m here to take this seriously” rather than “I’m here to turn heads.”

What does appropriate attire look like, you might ask?

  • Tops that cover the shoulders and chest
  • Skirts or dresses that are knee-length or longer
  • Pants that don’t ride low on the waist

Steer Clear of Graphic Tees and Offensive Slogans

We all have that favorite t-shirt, right? The one that fits just right, feels like a hug, and maybe even gets a chuckle out of friends. However, jury duty calls for a bit of a wardrobe pivot. Shirts that shout out bands, brands, or, let’s be real, anything that could be read from across the room probably aren’t your best choice.

What to Wear Instead?

  • Solid color tees
  • Button-up shirts
  • Blouses without any big logos or slogans.

In the courtroom, your shirt screaming with logos, characters, or slogans can scream even louder than words. So keep it simple and clean.

Why skip the graphics?

  • They can be distracting or even offensive to others
  • Slogans or images could unintentionally bias someone’s opinion of you
  • Plain or subtly patterned tops maintain the neutrality needed in a courtroom setting

Avoid Overly Casual Footwear

Let’s talk shoes. We know the urge to slip into those flip-flops or worn-out sneakers because, hey, they’re like walking on clouds. But when it comes to jury duty, it’s better to step it up a notch.

The goal is to balance comfort with a touch of formality. You don’t have to go all out with high heels or shiny dress shoes; think more along the lines of a nice pair of loafers, flats, or even clean, simple sneakers in good condition.

Footwear Do’s:

  • Loafers
  • Flats
  • Clean, unmarked sneakers

Footwear Don’ts:

  • Flip-flops
  • Slippers
  • Beach sandals
"Wear sensible footwear. Jury panels are often left standing in the hall and may do a lot of walking as they get moved around. Parking is difficult near many courthouses so they may have a hike from their car."

— Joseph Hoelscher | Veteran Trial Lawyer | Published Legal Scholar | Managing Attorney, Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC

Maintain Good Personal Hygiene

Think about it this way – you’re going to be in close proximity to a bunch of people, possibly for hours on end. Keeping it fresh isn’t just common courtesy; it’s also about feeling confident and ready to tackle the day.

Starting the day with a refreshing shower, a light touch of deodorant, and minty fresh breath is key to a great start to your day and a positive effect on others.

You’ll notice that when you feel clean and neat, it’s easier to concentrate and stay in the moment. I mean, who wants to sit there worrying if their neighbor can smell lunch on their breath from two feet away? Not me, and I’m sure not you either.

Ensure Clothing is Clean and Wrinkle-Free

Now, I’m not saying you need to iron every inch of your clothing or get them pressed professionally, but showing up in clothes that are clean and free from wrinkles just tells everyone you’ve got your act together.

It’s all part of presenting yourself as a put-together, responsible adult. It also goes a long way in showing respect for the court and the process you’re a part of.

Quick Tips:

  • Hang clothes up as soon as they’re dry to avoid serious wrinkles.
  • If ironing isn’t your thing, hanging clothes in the bathroom while you take a hot shower can help ease those creases.
  • A clean, pressed look doesn’t only apply to your outerwear; even your undergarments play a role. It’s all about feeling good inside out.

Choose Skirts or Dresses of Appropriate Length

When it comes to skirts or dresses, length matters. You’re aiming for the Goldilocks zone – not too short, not too long, just right. For jury duty, that usually means skirts or dresses that hover around knee length.

This ensures you’re comfortable, no matter if you’re sitting or standing, and you won’t have to fuss or fidget.

Choosing the right length isn’t just about following rules; it’s about feeling comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing, ensuring you can focus on the important task at hand without any wardrobe worries.

Opt for Long Pants or Slacks

When it comes to choosing bottoms for jury duty, long pants or slacks are your best bet.  They’re versatile, comfortable, and always on point. You don’t have to worry about them being too casual like jeans, or too fussy like some skirts can be.

And the best part? They pair well with just about anything in your closet.

Easy Pairings:

  • A crisp button-up shirt for a more formal vibe.
  • A comfy, solid-color tee to keep things on the casual side of business casual.
  • Loafers or flats—to keep your feet happy too!

It’s all about looking put together without sacrificing your comfort. After all, sitting through proceedings can get long, and you don’t want your attire to be a distraction.

Choose Conservative Necklines

Conservative necklines are like the polite hellos of the fashion world – they’re understated, they’re professional, and they never outstay their welcome.

It’s not about hiding away; it’s about choosing an outfit that lets your role as a juror shine, free from distractions or discomfort.

A conservative neckline ensures that the focus remains on the case and not on your wardrobe choices. It’s about blending in respectfully.

Button-up Shirts and Business Slacks are Appropriate

When deciding what to wear for jury duty, you can’t go wrong with button-up shirts and business slacks. These pieces whisper ‘reliable’ and ‘attentive’—qualities that are spot-on for a juror.

Now, don’t worry about going all out with colors. Stick to the classics. A light blue or white button-up shirt paired with black or navy slacks can do no wrong.

Consider a Blazer or Suit Jacket for a Polished Look

Sometimes, an outfit just needs that final touch to pull it all together. Enter the blazer or suit jacket. This layer says ‘polished’ and ‘professional’ as soon as you swing it on over your shoulders.

Let’s see why a blazer or suit jacket can be a smart choice:

  • Adds instant structure and formality to your look.
  • Great for creating a strong first impression when you walk into the courtroom.
  • Practical, too — those pockets come in handy for a pen or small notepad.

A blazer adds versatile functionality to your outfit. If you get a little chilly, it’s there to warm you up in style. And if the room heats up, you can easily remove it while still looking put together. That’s what I call courtroom savvy!

Choose Breathable Fabrics

When picking out what to wear for jury duty, remember: the courtroom is not the place for a sweat session. Go for clothes made of breathable fabrics to keep you cool under the collar, literally. Cotton, linen, and silk are your best friends here.

Why does this matter? Well, jury duty can take a while, and being distracted by feeling too hot or too itchy isn’t ideal. You want your full attention on the proceedings, not on adjusting your outfit. So, think airy, think breathable, and you’ll be all set for a day of civic responsibility.

Keep Accessories Minimal and Professional

Accessories can make or break an outfit, especially in a formal setting like a courtroom. The key here is to keep it simple and professional. A watch? Sure, that’s both useful and understated.

A pair of small stud earrings or a simple necklace? Absolutely, they add just the right amount of personal touch without being distracting.

The goal is to complement your outfit, not compete with it. You’re going for a polished look that says, “I’ve got this“. It’s all about finding that balance where your personality shines through without making too much of a statement.

Avoid Noisy Jewelry

Now, you might have a bracelet collection that jingles like a symphony or necklaces that add the perfect metallic edge to an outfit. But here’s the thing: noisy jewelry is like that cellphone ring everyone forgot to silence—it’s distracting.

When you’re at jury duty, you want to be the listener, not the one breaking the silence.

Here’s what to leave at home:

  • The charm bracelet that acts like a wind chime on your wrist.
  • Those beautiful but clinking bangle stacks.
  • Long, dangling earrings that chime in every time you nod.

Leave Unnecessary Jewelry and Loose Change at Home

When heading out for jury duty, think of your pockets and bags as VIP areas – only the essentials get in. That means leaving behind your pocketful of loose change. Not only does it keep things simpler (and lighter), but you’re also saving everyone from the concert of clinks and jingles every time you move.

Think about it, a quiet courtroom and the sudden sound of someone’s personal coin collection taking a tumble? Not the best mix.

So, before you head out, do a quick check: wallet, keys, and phone-in. A handful of change – maybe not today.

Style Hair Neatly

When it comes to hair, the idea is to keep it neat and out of the way. Whether you have long locks or short strands, think about how you can style it so it doesn’t become a distraction for you or others.

This isn’t the time for that extravagant hairstyle you’ve been wanting to try out. Keep it simple, keep it neat.

  • A simple, low ponytail or bun works wonders for longer hair.
  • Short hair can be kept neat with a quick comb-through and a bit of styling product to keep things in place.
  • If bangs are part of your look, make sure they’re trimmed or pinned back so they’re not a distraction.

Keep Makeup Natural and Minimal

For makeup, natural and minimal is the way to go. Think of it as your everyday look turned down a notch. You’re aiming for that fresh, ready-for-the-day face, not gearing up for a glam photoshoot. A dab of foundation, a touch of mascara, and a swipe of lip balm, and you’re golden.

This isn’t about hiding who you are; it’s about presenting the most polished version of yourself in a setting that values subtlety and professionalism. Save the bold colors and glitter for a night out, and let your natural beauty shine in the courtroom.

It’s all about feeling comfortable in your skin and being ready to take on the important role you’ve been given.

Avoid Strong Perfumes or Colognes

When you’re in close quarters, like a jury box, it’s not just the visual impression that counts. The scent you carry into the room can leave a strong impact, too—sometimes a bit too strong.

That’s why it’s best to skip the heavy fragrances on jury duty days. You want to come across as considerate and self-aware, and part of that is understanding that what’s a pleasant scent to you might be overpowering to someone else.

Why tone down the scent?

  • Some folks are sensitive or allergic to strong fragrances.
  • It keeps the air neutral, avoiding any subconscious associations with particular smells.
  • It reinforces that professional atmosphere, just like neat hair and minimal makeup do.

Avoid Clothing with Busy Patterns

When picking out what to wear to jury duty, think solid colors or very simple patterns. Outfits with loud or busy patterns can, unfortunately, be a bit too distracting in a courtroom setting. It’s not the place for your wildest floral shirt or that geometric-patterned dress, no matter how much you love them.

Opting for something simpler doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. It’s about ensuring that attention remains on the proceedings, not on deciphering the pattern on your tie or blouse.

Solid colors or subtle patterns are like the polite guests at a party — present and pleasant but not dominating the conversation.

No See-Through or Suggestive Clothing

Keeping things professional means avoiding any clothing that’s see-through or could be considered too suggestive for the setting. It’s all about context.

What works for a beach day or a night out isn’t quite right for a courtroom. You want to be sure that what you’re wearing respects the seriousness and formality of the occasion.

Choosing outfits that maintain a level of modesty shows that you understand the gravity of your role as a juror. Dressing appropriately is your way of showing respect for the judicial process and everyone involved.

Avoid Political Slogans or Explicit Images

Political slogans or explicit images on clothing can sway opinions without a word being spoken, and in a courtroom, that’s the last thing you want. So, it’s best to keep attire neutral to avoid influencing others or bringing personal biases into the mix.

Consider this:

  • Your clothing should be as unbiased as you are supposed to be as a juror.
  • Keeping your look neutral helps preserve the integrity of the court’s proceedings.
  • You’re there to review evidence impartially, not campaign for a cause.

Remember, your role as a juror is to contribute to a verdict based on facts and evidence, not personal beliefs or statements.

"Avoid political slogans or explicit images. It might keep you off the jury, or you might be ordered to turn your shirt inside-out or turn over your property to the bailiff. Some judges may force you to change and return another day. Your funny Federal Boobie Inspector shirt will be very awkward if you end up in the front row of a child sex trial. Best case, whichever lawyer doesn't like the message will grill you to establish that you are not a fair person."

— Joseph Hoelscher | Veteran Trial Lawyer | Published Legal Scholar | Managing Attorney, Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC

Avoid Showing Tattoos if Possible

Tattoos are a form of self-expression and art, and while they are widely accepted in many areas of life, the jury box calls for a bit more discretion. If possible, it’s a good idea to cover tattoos to maintain the formal atmosphere of the courtroom and prevent any potential preconceptions.

This isn’t about denying your personal style; it’s about ensuring that nothing extraneous impacts the trial.

Remove Facial Piercings

Facial piercings, much like tattoos, are a personal choice and a way to express individuality. However, for the duration of your time on the jury, it’s best to take a more conservative approach.

Removing facial piercings is another step towards creating that neutral appearance that doesn’t distract or potentially sway opinions.

Don’t worry; this doesn’t mean you’re abandoning your style or personality. Think of it as playing a part that helps the court run smoothly. Once your duty is done, you can go right back to rocking your piercings with pride.

Wear Minimal, Non-Distracting Nail Polish

Opting for minimal, non-distracting colors keeps things professional and prevents your fingertips from stealing the spotlight. So, maybe save the neon green or sparkly unicorn polish for another day, and go with nudes, soft pinks, or a simple clear coat instead.

It’s all about striking that balance where you feel put-together without drawing too much attention. After all, the focus should be on the case, not on guessing what shade of polish you’re wearing.

Avoid Hats or Headwear Unless for Religious Purposes

Headwear in the courtroom has a pretty clear-cut etiquette—save it for outside unless it’s required for religious reasons. Hats and non-religious headwear can be seen as too casual or even disrespectful in such a formal setting.

Plus, they can cover your face, making it harder for others to read your expressions, which is crucial when you’re part of a jury.

So, unless it’s for religious reasons, here’s the hat policy for jury duty:

  • Put your favorite baseball cap or trendy fedora on hold for now.
  • If you do wear religious headwear, ensure it’s neat and non-disruptive.

Remember, jury duty is about blending into the solemn process of the law, and that includes the way you dress from head to toe.

Choose a Professional-Looking Bag or Briefcase

A professional-looking bag or briefcase doesn’t just complete your outfit; it says you mean business. Whether it’s a sleek tote, a simple shoulder bag, or a classic briefcase, choosing something understated and professional is your best bet.

Why does this matter? Well, walking into the courtroom, you want to feel prepared and organized, not like you’re still rummaging through a bag of endless depths trying to find a pen.

Plus, a tidy bag makes a good impression — it’s like the cherry on top of your well-thought-out jury duty outfit.

More Expert Insights

“Office casual clothes. When I first graduated from college and got called for my first jury duty, I felt very grown-up and tried to dress professionally to fit the concept. What I have learned is there is absolutely no need to dress up for jury duty.

Office casual clothes are perfectly fine including jeans. I am not suggesting ratty jeans and sweatshirt, but a nice casual jeans outfit is fine. The other important recommendation is something comfortable as you will be sitting around for hours. Again, this is not suggesting old ratty sweatpants.”

— Diane Pollack | Stylist, Stylempower

“Shoes should be comfortable and clean. Women should avoid wearing high heels. Tennis shoes and shorts have no place in a courtroom.”

— Shawna Solomon | Award-Winning Fashion Stylist

Frequently Asked Questions

What is jury duty?

Jury duty is when citizens are called to serve on a jury in a court of law. It’s a way to participate directly in the legal process, helping decide cases by listening to the facts presented and making impartial decisions. Serving as a juror is both a privilege and a responsibility in helping maintain the justice system.

What should I do if my religious attire doesn’t match the suggested dress code?

Courts respect religious practices and allow exceptions for religious attire. If you wear specific garments for religious reasons, you should feel free to do so. If concerned, you might contact the court ahead of time to inform them.

Is it acceptable to repeat outfits if serving on a jury for multiple days?

Absolutely, it’s entirely acceptable to wear the same outfit more than once, especially for extended trials. The key is to ensure your clothing remains clean and presentable throughout the service period.

Final Thoughts

As a juror, you have the power to make a real difference in someone’s life. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s also an opportunity to serve your community and be a part of something larger than yourself.

When you dress appropriately for jury duty, you show that you understand the gravity of your role and that you’re ready to take it on.

So, next time you’re called for jury duty, don’t stress about what to wear. Just follow the simple guidelines we’ve covered, and you’ll be sure to make a great impression.

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Jahrine is a seeker of knowledge and personal growth. When not exploring the worlds of self-help books and spirituality, she enjoys reading dark fiction and spending time with her beloved dogs. With diverse interests, including career development, travel, and poetry, Jahrine is constantly expanding her horizons and seeking new experiences.