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May 27, 2005

Hosed in Court?

Yesterday I saw a woman show up to court wearing a moderately short skirt and black stockings with the seam up the back of the leg (are these called French stockings?). It made me wonder: Is this supposed to mean anything? Are there rules about stockings? Is it ever appropriate to wear, say, fishnets to court? And what about women attorneys who wear skirts? Are hose required? Is there some code that says bare legs are bad?

This is what I'm reduced to: writing about pantyhose.

But on the subject of court attire, here's another question: What is the meaning of the blue blazer? Is it acceptable for an attorney to wear khakis, a nice shirt and tie, and a blue blazer to court? Or is that not formal enough? Is a suit required?

Posted May 27, 2005 06:12 AM | 2L summer

I practice in two courts. One is pretty casual, anything goes. The other is more formal, and you will be asked to leave for being underdressed. In the more casual court, I see women without hose, men wearing a blazer and khakis. Women wearing something like a sweater set and black slacks. And open toed shoes or sandals. Which I just think, yick, no one wants to see your toes in court. That would never fly in the other court. I guess it depends on what kind of law you practice and also, what you're doing on that particular day (everyone dresses up more for trials than they do for a regular calendar call and adjournment).

But I don't think it's a good idea, especially for young attorneys, to dress down. Dress like the position you want, that's why my momma always said. (And these new attorneys are supposed to be working their way up to the more formal court.)

Posted by: blondie at May 27, 2005 07:23 AM

I guess there may be some more casual courts out there, but most of my work now is in NY State or Federal court. I never see anything except business suits - not blazers and khakis - it would stick out like a sore thumb.

It's generally expected that women will where hose, but I doubt anyone would get kicked out of court for it. A lot of women wear pants suits to avoid this issue (I believe in the old days, women had to wear skirts!)

As far as the french stockings, I've never seen it in a court room, but i think its a disputable matter. I doubt anyone would think it was a big deal, maybe just a little flamboyant or eccentric. One of the lawyers at a conference I went to today wore sandals, and the female partner from my firm and I thought it was strange. They were flat, casual sandals - not formal sandals with heals, so they really stuck out. But no one said anything, of course.

Posted by: Lawgirl at May 27, 2005 01:03 PM

My legel rhetoric professor told us she's seen women kicked out of court by the judge for wearing a brown suit (blue or black was required). Yikes. Like the above commenter said, it really depends on the court. I've been told to always wear a skirt the first time in court, because there are still a lot of backwards judges who require it. The hose thing I haven't heard about, but I would assume if they're going to require you to wear a skirt, hose would go along with that. French stockings sound like a stretch, on the other hand, the judge probably wouldn't be able to tell from the front anyway.

Posted by: Heather at May 27, 2005 10:08 PM

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