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What is Appropriate Dress for Court?

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. | Last updated on

Fashion is a must for celebrities out on the town, and for Lindsay Lohan, court appearances are no different. Facing charges of felony grand theft related to an allegedly stolen necklace, she made her way back into a Los Angeles courtroom yesterday. In a tight, white dress.

Did I mention that it was also short and paired with patent leather heels?

Though the entertainment media loves to rag on Miss Lohan, they actually made a good point: Lindsay Lohan's white dress was not an appropriate dress for court.

When you must dress for court, you need to consider the court dress code. Most court dress codes are strict, intending to keep order and protect the safety of attendees. They're also designed to match the level of respect one should grant the justice system. And because judges are the arbiters of that respect, they also have the right to enforce the dress code--with fines and jail time.

Fed up with the lack of respect shown by court patrons, judges across the country are cracking down on court dress code violations. High on the list of offenses? Flip flops, exposed undergarments, and offensive t-shirts.

If you don't want to be barred from your date with a judge, or end up paying twice the amount of your original traffic fine, put a little thought into how you dress for court. Court-appropriate clothing can often be found for cheap at local big box retailers.

If you follow these few rules, you should be fine; but if you're from someplace very formal, you might want to double check.

  • If you'd wear it to the beach, gym or park, it's out. This includes sandals, gym shoes, tank tops, shorts, hats and exercise gear.
  • If you'd wear it to bed, don't even think about it.
  • If you'd wear it to a club or bar on a Friday night, leave it in your closet. This includes short skirts and dresses, tight pants and tops, anything low cut, and hooker heels. For men? Leave the funky shirts at home and pull up your pants.
  • Do not show your undergarments.
  • Jeans: just say no.
  • Men, wear a shirt with a collar. Check to see if a tie is necessary.

Though she's got a hefty criminal record and a drug problem, we can learn a lot from Lindsay Lohan-- court dress codes just being part of it.

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