Courts follow specific rules and regulations regarding everything.
As such, jurors are expected to dress in harmony with those guidelines.
Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when getting ready for jury duty:
Table of Contents
- Dress in layers
- Avoid strong body sprays or perfumes
- Wear sensible footwear
- Aim for comfortable, but still respectful
- Avoid political slogans or explicit images
- Dress in layers
- Button-up shirts and a pair of business slacks
- Wear comfortable footwear
- Accessories should be non-existent or minimal
- Office casual clothes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What should I avoid wearing to ensure a professional appearance in the courtroom?
- Is it okay to wear brightly colored nail polish for jury duty?
- Is it okay to put tattoos on display for jury duty?
- Can I wear a backpack or large purse to jury duty?
- What is the best way to ensure my attire is appropriate for jury duty?
Veteran Trial Lawyer | Published Legal Scholar | Managing Attorney, Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC
Prospective jurors should prepare for the reality of spending a day in a government building, mostly waiting around. In Federal Court, there is a dress code and prospective jurors are informed with their summons. They should follow the dress code. Federal judges take it seriously. Outside a specific dress code, jurors should:
Dress in layers
Room temperatures tend to vary in courthouses but can go from cold to hot when a herd of potential jurors gets brought in.
Avoid strong body sprays or perfumes
But definitely use deodorant. They may be crammed onto benches with strangers for extended periods. Too many strong smells tend to mix poorly but they don’t really overcome BO.
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.
Aim for comfortable, but still respectful
Business casual is good. You don’t want to wear your best but you don’t want to be mistaken for a criminal defendant.
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.
Jury duty is a good time to select a wardrobe that lets you fly under the radar.
Award-Winning Fashion Stylist
When dressing for jury duty, you should always be professional.
Dress in layers
Normally the air is on, wearing a blazer or cardigan will give you the ability to take them off if you find yourself getting warm. I prefer wearing layers for this purpose.
Button-up shirts and a pair of business slacks
If you are not a button-up type, opt for a polo style shirt. You want to be as comfortable as possible. Never know what may happen during the process.
Wear comfortable footwear
Shoes should be comfortable and clean. Women should avoid wearing high heels. Tennis shoes and shorts have no place in a courtroom.
Accessories should be non-existent or minimal
Chunky, bright or jewelry that may make noise should be avoided. These can be a distraction, not just for the other jurors but for everyone in the courtroom.
A courtroom is a place of business, not the place to show off your personal style.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I avoid wearing to ensure a professional appearance in the courtroom?
To maintain a professional appearance in the courtroom, it’s essential to avoid clothing and accessories that might be considered distracting or inappropriate. Here are some guidelines to follow:
• Avoid casual clothing: Refrain from wearing jeans, shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, or flip-flops.
• Steer clear of revealing attire: Skimpy clothing, such as mini-skirts, low-cut tops, or see-through garments, is not suitable for court.
• Skip loud patterns and colors: Choose neutral or muted colors and avoid overly bold prints or bright colors that can be distracting.
• No hats or sunglasses: Unless required for medical reasons, hats and sunglasses should not be worn inside the courtroom.
• Limit flashy jewelry: Opt for modest jewelry pieces instead of large or ostentatious accessories that can draw unnecessary attention.
Is it okay to wear brightly colored nail polish for jury duty?
While there isn’t a strict rule against wearing brightly colored nail polish for jury duty, it’s generally best to opt for more subtle or neutral shades. This is because:
• Bright colors can be distracting: A courtroom is a serious setting, and it’s essential to maintain an atmosphere of professionalism.
• Neutral shades are more appropriate: Subdued shades, like beige or light pink, contribute to a professional appearance and are less likely to draw attention.
Is it okay to put tattoos on display for jury duty?
The acceptability of visible tattoos for jury duty varies depending on the location and specific court. However, it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution and cover up tattoos if possible. This is because:
• Perceptions vary: While tattoos are more accepted in modern society, some individuals may still hold negative perceptions of them.
• Professionalism is key: A courtroom demands a professional atmosphere, and covering tattoos can help maintain that environment.
Can I wear a backpack or large purse to jury duty?
While you can generally bring a backpack or large purse to jury duty, keep in mind that:
• Security checks are likely: Expect your bag to be searched upon entering the courthouse as a security measure.
• Space may be limited: Courtroom seating can be cramped, so consider bringing a smaller bag to avoid inconveniencing others.
• Keep it professional: Choose a bag that is simple, professional, and in good condition.
What is the best way to ensure my attire is appropriate for jury duty?
To ensure your attire is appropriate for jury duty, follow these tips:
• Dress smartly: Aim for a business casual or professional look with tailored pants, knee-length skirts, or dresses.
• Opt for neutral colors: Choose colors like black, navy, gray, or beige for a polished appearance.
• Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes: Avoid sneakers, sandals, or high heels that might be uncomfortable during long court sessions.
• Cover visible tattoos: If possible, cover up any tattoos to maintain a professional image.
• Grooming matters: Make sure your hair is clean and well-groomed and facial hair, if any, is neat and trimmed.
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