I like to think of myself as being very open-minded and free of prejudices; not one to judge
people by their outward appearances. So I'm happy to go argue that you're a great parent,
regardless of the number of visible tattoos or facial piercings you have. However, when you go
into court, you need to keep something in mind: the judge is probably going to be older and
more conservative than you are. While you don't think the little diamond in your nose is a big
deal, he might. Judges have to make very important decisions about people's lives based on
very limited information. An important part of that information is your appearance in the
courtroom. So, with that in mind, here are some suggestions on how to dress when you have a
hearing, trial, or other appearance in front of a judge:
-Look as nice as you possibly
can. Court is one of the very few formal occasions left in our lives. The judge is
wearing a robe, and probably has a suit on under that. So even if you go out to eat in jeans,
and wear capri pants to church, this is one venue that has not loosened up the dress code.
Respect that, and dress up.
-Solid, dark colors are best. This is not the time to
take a big fashion risk.
-No writing anywhere, on any item of clothing. No T-shirts with
slogans, no pants that say "Juicy" across the bottom.
-No hats indoors, unless you
are a lady who is in the habit of wearing hats on formal occasions.
-Men should wear at
least dress pants and a shirt with a collar. A dark suit is great if you have it; a coat
and tie is fine, and a shirt and tie are nice, too. No jeans or shorts. On your
feet, no sneakers, sandals, or work boots. This being Texas, cowboy boots are
-Women should wear a dress or pants. Think of dressing for a funeral versus
dressing for a date. So, nothing tight, low-cut, or short. Skip big flashy
jewelry. And bring a jacket or sweater; it's cold in the courtroom. No super-high
heels, strappy sandals, or sneakers.
-This one seems like a no-brainer, but I have to
tell more and more clients these days to COVER UP ANY TATTOOS. That includes ones on your
ankles, wrists, and neck. Wear a scarf or socks or something. If all else fails, bridal
shops sell flesh-colored patches to cover tattoos. I'd rather the judge think you just had a
lymph node removed than read "Born to be Bad" on your neck.
-Similarly, REMOVE ANY
FACIAL PIERCINGS. One earring in each ear for women is fine. Men should NOT wear any
earrings or other facial jewelry. So the nose ring, the lip ring, the eyebrow peircing - they
all have to go. I'm sorry, but it's only for a few hours. And don't try to cover up your
eyebrow ring with a band-aid; no one is fooled. I don't know what to tell you about
guaged ear piercings. Whether you leave them in or take them out, it's going to look
odd. Just try to style your hair so your ears don't show, I guess.
I hope this helps you
the next time you have to go to court. You may think the lawyers or the judge are cramping your
style, or inhibiting your self-expression, but remember: these are your kids we're talking
about. They're worth it.