If you are facing charges of white-collar crime, how you present yourself to the jury is very important. Keep in mind that juries are comprised of ordinary people. As such, they are prone to internal and subconscious biases that can be affected by many different things — even the clothing a defendant wears.
Without ever realizing it, juries can make snap judgments about defendants that may or may not reflect the truth about the person on trial. Below are some observations to keep in mind when dressing for court.
Consider what message your outfit is sending
If you are on trial for running an alleged Ponzi scheme or for embezzlement, what do you think the jurors will think when you show up in designer suits or dresses, Italian leather shoes or Louboutin heels? You may fare far better by selecting something off-the-rack at J.C. Penney’s for your court appearances.
Expensive jewelry is also a big no-no. If you are married, wearing your wedding ring is a good idea. Other than that, the only other jewelry item you should consider wearing if you are female is an understated pair of silver or gold stud earrings. No diamonds, no big hoops or distracting chandelier earrings. If you are male, don’t wear any earrings or other jewelry.
Tight clothing is also out. The jury might get distracted by your curve-hugging dress, but that is not necessarily a good thing when one is on trial. There is one school of thought that believes wearing loose clothing conveys vulnerability. That can be good when you are trying to convince a dozen people of your innocence, but it has also been known to backfire. If you decide to go this route, the clothing you choose should hang loosely on your frame, not engulf you in yards of fabric. Select a loose-fitting suit or dress in your size or perhaps one size larger.
Let your attorney be the final arbiter when it comes to your outfit for court
It is a good idea to involve your criminal defense attorney in the selection of your courtroom attire. A few days before your court appearance, do a dress rehearsal at your attorney’s office. Then, listen to the guidance and advice they offer you regarding your appearance.