If The Devil Wears Prada then definitely stay away from Prada. At least in court. A common question from clients is, “what should I wear to court?” Whether it’s a custody hearing or a divorce proceeding here are some helpful tips on what is sure to impress the only fashion critic that will matter – The Judge.

The universal rule, for both ladies and gents, is to keep it conservative. No, this is not about who you are voting for come November; this is about portraying a certain image in family court. Think wholesome, honest, simple. Get rid of flash, haughty and expensive. Even being too stylish can send the wrong message. In family court your appearance should convey the message that your only concern is your family.

Let’s get to specifics.

Colors – Pick sober colors like black, gray, navy blue and brown. Solids and tasteful patterns are best. Stay away from anything bold or brash like red, colors that make you appear overly confident like yellow, or shades that make you seem just plain weird like purple. Really. Don’t come to court in purple…..okay, maybe a tasteful lilac tie or lavender skirt is fine….you get my drift.

Clothes – Suits or business attire are the safest choices. If this is something you don’t have in your closet, and expense is an issue, try low cost options like separates. Just buy a suit jacket (this works for both men and women), or ladies you can wear a sweater/blouse with a skirt/pants, and gentlemen a tie dresses up practically any collar. The point is, you want to walk into court showing all the parties present that you are serious and that you have made the effort.

Cuts – Nothing above the knees. This means men too! Nobody should ever come to court in shorts, skorts, or anything too revealing. So to be clear , nothing too tight (those skinny suits) or nothing too high (spiked heels). And, please, see what you can do about covering those tattoos all up and down your arms (especially if they resemble gang-style tattoos).

Let’s go even further to hair and make-up. Tasteful is king. This is predominantly a woman’s issue but there is always the guy you will see in the courthouse with some crazy hairdo that warrants a double take. Hair just needs to be well-kempt. And preferably one color. Get rid of the one streak fuchsia wonder please, just for court day.

Guys who have long locks need to tie them up. Gals who have crazy curls may need to tone them down.

And a note on make-up (assuming this tip is just for the females), keep it natural. Nothing too heavy on the lids or the lips is an easy rule to remember. Red lips are out. Way out.

Judges judge. That is the reality. And when your life, certainly your personal happiness, depends on a judge’s assessment of your appearance, then you may indeed have to make tough choices on how you want to be perceived.

For more fashion advice, or better yet, legal advice, schedule an appointment at Pacific Northwest Family Law today. Our lawyers are experienced family law practitioners ready to take on your case with great care and skill. Give us a call at 360-926-9112.