June 16, 2011

Prima Face

For those of you not hip to legal terms or Latin, Prima Face means "on it's face."  Google for more information.  You know you waaaaaant to . . . .

 Believe it or not, one of the questions I get a lot at work is "what should I wear when I go to Court?" (Hey, I'm a paralegal, they save the tough questions for the attorneys.) This is always a great question to ask and I love when people ask me because it really is important to know.  Luckily for you all, I was in Court today and this is what I wore.  Hopefully, you never have to go to Court for anything, but if you do, you should be prepared.

I go to the actual courthouse fairly frequently to pick up or drop off documents for work and sometimes I am surprised, nay, shocked and appalled at some of the things that I see people wearing.  Tank tops, flip flops, holy or baggy jeans, sports jerseys . . . ugh.  Save that for the BBQ.  True, the Judge may or may not pay much attention to what you are wearing and you want it that way.  There is no need to turn the attention of a Judge from what you are saying to what you are (or are not) wearing.  Make a good impression.  It's a Judge, not your Uncle Remis visiting from the back woods somewhere.

You should think of dressing for Court similarly to how you would dress to go to church or an important business meeting or to meet your significant other's parents for the first time.  It should be professional and show (in this case the Judge) that you respect him or her.

Court can be very nerve wracking no matter why you are there, so wear something that you are comfortable and confident in.  You don't need to have anxiety about how you look or having to constantly adjust your outfit on top of whatever other stress you have going on during a Court appearance.  However, this does not mean that you can wear shorts, jeans or any kind of track, yoga, pajama or gym clothes.  Please do not do this, even if your jeans are brand new.  At least make it look like you did something other than roll out of bed, pick the least smelliest thing out of your hamper and threw it on.  (You would not believe how often I see this in Court)

When I was in college for my paralegal certificate, one of my professors (an attorney) told us about the Rule of 5.  Ladies, this is especially true for us.  All your accessories should add up to a Rule of 5 which does not mean you can have 5 accessories, but you have to gauge the "bling factor" of each piece (earrings, watches, bracelets, broaches, rings, etc.).  If you are sporting a gold watch, that's probably 2 points depending on the size.  Small earrings = 1 point and a big gaudy ring would probably take all 5 points.  This is very challenging for me because I looooooooove to accessorize, but remember, it can be distracting and even disrespectful to the Judge to showcase your latest collection of the clearance rack at Claire's (or what have you).

As far as clothing, be conservative and modest.  You don't have to go over the top and wear your fanciest dress or a pant suit.  What you do need to do is pay extra special attention to your hemlines and necklines.  If you feel comfortable in a dress (and today I did because it is summertime and H-O-T out), just make sure you are not accentuating your legs or cleavage.  Also, pay attention to the fit of what you are wearing.  In other words, leave the tight tops and barely-room-to-breath pencil skirts for another time.  Basically, make sure that if your grandmother saw you in what you are wearing, she wouldn't do a double take.

Additionally, you should have conservative footwear on, namely if you choose to go the dress or skirt route.  If you are wearing pants or a long skirt or dress, a higher heel is probably fine.  If you are wearing a skirt or dress, stick with lower and more conservative heels.  But, you should wear some nice shoes.  Try to keep to a closed toe heel.  Do not wear sneakers.  Not for any reason.  You're not running a triathlon.   

Keep your makeup simple.  Do not break out the Mack summer color collection haul for this trip.  Foundation, mascara and a bit of blush is all you need.  If you must wear eye shadow, keep it to warm and subtle colors.  No Judge wants to stare at Mimi on the stand.  Trust.

Hopefully, none of you will have to be in Court for any reason, but it happens.  I know all my fashionista sisters out there pretty much think of this as a no-brainer, but there are some ladies that are not quite sure.  I speak to these women a lot.  So, go forth and remember: it's a Courtroom, not NYFW.  (Which is too bad, because I'm sure that given the choice, we would all choose NYFW over Court)

Necklace and Earrings-Wal-Mart


  1. Love that little pendant! So cute.

  2. Thank you Arushi! I really appreciate that.

  3. you look so cute! looove the coat!:)

  4. i really adore the colour of this amazing dress....


  5. Great advice friend! I love that burnt orange on you. The Uncle Remis comment made me LOL with a hearty "HA!". P.S. Are you on Twitter?

  6. LOL thanks lady! I am not on twitter, but I have been thinking of getting a twitter. Mostly because I love to say twitter (it makes me feel naughty even when it isn't). Anywho, what do you think? Is it worth it? *in shaky elderly woman voice* I'm not really sure how it works . . . .

  7. Love those colors together and that jacket is amazing!

  8. Keely, I really appreciate that! Thank you!

  9. Love the color of that dress, that belt is perfect with that blazer. This is some really great advice. I've thankfully never had to go to court, but it is important to be aware of the guidelines.

  10. Great Blazer girl! Love it paired with the red dress

    Live Life in Style


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