Going to court for the first time can be nerve-wracking and intimidating. You may question everything, even the clothes you've decided to wear. What is proper attire for the courtroom?

General Guidelines

Technically, there's not a strict set of guidelines, but there are generally accepted types of clothing. The courts in Massachusetts have offered a list of tips to help. Below are a handful of highlights:

Wear Formal Clothes

When in doubt, just imagine you're going out to eat at a nice restaurant or going to church, and then dress accordingly. A nice pair of pants with a belt, a button-up shirt, and a tie could all work for men. For women, consider things like a dress, a long skirt, pants and a blouse, a dress shirt, or a sweater. A suit is also great for either gender, though not required.

Be Respectful

What you want to keep in mind is that your clothes should show that you respect the judge and the court process. If you show up looking like you're going to a music festival or a pickup basketball game, you don't look like you're taking the charges seriously. Dress to impress, like you would for a job interview. Be respectful even if you think the authorities are wrong and the charges are going to be thrown out.

Avoid Controversial Clothing

You want to avoid anything controversial, like a t-shirt with swear words or drug references. You also want to avoid ultra-casual clothing like flip-flops, halter tops, baggy pants, ripped clothing, shorts, hats, and anything that is semi-transparent. Though you have a right to wear what you want in your day-to-day life, certain items can have you removed from court.

Preparing for Court

No matter what charges you're facing, it's important to prepare for your first court date and be ready. In addition to figuring out what you should wear, take some time to look into your rights and legal defense options well in advance.