If you recently received that dreaded letter in the mail summoning you to jury duty, your anxiety and fear may have started to set in at the thought of this responsibility. Serving on a jury is a citizen’s duty, but that does not make it any less nerve-wracking. The last thing you want to do is dress inappropriately and be sent home before the day begins.
There is no universal dress code for every courthouse in the United States, but there are some general guidelines in order to serve successfully on a jury. The main rule is wearing clothes that are business casual, and there are three cute and professional outfits that meet this requirement.
If you have been summoned to serve on a jury, this can be an exciting and worthwhile experience as a United States citizen. Some courthouses do have dress codes while others provide rules. This article will discuss the basic rules to dressing as a successful jury member, what to avoid, and three cute and professional outfits sure to please.
Is There a Dress Code for Jury Duty?
Every court may have different guidelines that they will provide to you as a juror when it comes to dress code. For example, some courts may require men to wear a jacket and tie while others only require a collared shirt. Once you receive the letter for jury duty, the first thing you should do is read their rules and regulations as it pertains to dress code.
However, there are some rules and procedures that are standard across the United States no matter what state or federal court you will be serving in for jury duty. No matter what, you should look professional (unless you are actually trying to get out of jury duty). Some basic dress code guidelines that pertain to jury duty include avoiding:
- Mini skirts
- Open-toed shoes like flip flops
- Tank tops
- Tee shirts with words on them or inappropriate graphics
- Cropped tops or tops that show a bare midriff
- Halter tops
Many courts may not have a specific dress code, but the above list are a few no-no’s when it comes to dressing for jury duty. Chests, backs, and shoulders should be covered and clothing should not be see-through. You will want to dress comfortably in that you may be spending the entire day at the courthouse, but still dress professionally.
In addition, hats are prohibited unless they are worn for religious purposes. If you do require a hat, politely explain the religious significance. A juror’s dress should be on the more conservative side and show respect for the judge and the rule of law. Many individuals dress for jury duty as they would when going to church or work.
Are Jeans OK for Jury Duty?
In most courthouses, jeans are acceptable for jury duty as long as they are not ripped or torn. As long as your jeans are neat in appearance, clean, and do not sag or are low-riding in the back, jeans are usually an acceptable piece of clothing for jury duty. For example, a pair of jeans can work really well with a nice sweater or button-down shirt.
If you are worried about wearing jeans for jury duty, you can always check with your assigned courthouse before heading down for the day in a pair of jeans. Some courthouses are stricter than others, but in most courthouses, jeans are acceptable and comfortable for the amount of sitting you will be doing as a juror.
As long as your appearance is respectable, there is no need to purchase new clothes and dress up for jury duty. Casual clothes, including a nice pair of jeans, are acceptable as long as you do not pair it with a shabby sweatshirt, inappropriate tank top, or flip flops. What you wear with your jeans is just as important as the jeans themselves.
Dark-colored jeans are recommended, and since you may be sitting for hours on end, you should try wearing relaxed-fit jeans that provide more comfort. The last thing you want is to be sitting in the courtroom and in the jury deliberation room all day in jeans that are too tight. That could definitely make things uncomfortable as a juror.
Can I Wear a Shirt to Jury Duty?
If you pair a nice t-shirt with some business-style khakis or a skirt, it should be fine for jury duty. However, you will want to avoid t-shirts with any clear and noticeable brand names or slogans on them. Unless you are trying to get dismissed from jury duty, you should definitely avoid any shirts that have the following on them:
- Inappropriate or offensive language or images
- Political statements or opinions
- Religious opinions or undertones
- Brand names that are clear and noticeable
If your shirt has any of the above on it, you may be asked to leave for wearing clothing that could be deemed offensive or inappropriate. The best rule of thumb is to wear a professional-looking shirt that is either a solid color or a pattern without any words, slogans, logos, or other types of language or images that could be deemed distasteful.
For women, pairing a shirt with a professional pair of pants or a blouse and a skirt would be perfect for jury duty. Men can get away with a collared shirt and khakis in lieu of an uncomfortable button-down shirt and tie. Business casual outfits are completely acceptable, and many comfortable shirts meet those business casual requirements.
Can You Wear Sneakers to Jury Duty?
Most individuals who are called in for jury duty are not chosen right away. This means you may be going to multiple courtrooms throughout the day, answering questions from lawyers and judges, only to be sent back downstairs to wait to be chosen as a juror. This means you will need comfortable shoes, and sneakers are acceptable in this case.
You can definitely wear sneakers to jury duty as long as they look presentable. What you do not want to do is wear any open-toed shoes, like sandals, flip-flops, or pool shoes. Women are allowed to wear open-toed heels or flats in that they are still appropriate for business wear. Just do not wear shoes you would wear to the pool.
There are a few issues to be aware of when choosing the proper footwear, including wearing sneakers to jury duty. First, your sneakers should be breathable and paired with breathable socks. They should fit comfortably so that you are not hurting your feet all day and be clean in appearance. Some other aspects of sneakers to consider are:
- Odor control
- All-day comfort
- Pain reduction and avoidance
- Presentable appearance
Make sure your sneakers are roomy by the toes and along the width of the shoe. They should also provide the proper amount of arch support for going up and down the courthouse possibly multiple times per day. Finally, do not wear sneakers that are dirty. If you use them for running or outdoor activities, they are probably not appropriate.
3 Cute and Professional Outfits to Wear for Jury Duty
No matter if you find jury duty exciting or terrifying, you will want to have a cute and professional outfit that will give you a dignified and distinguished appearance in front of the attorneys, judges, witnesses, and fellow jurors. It may be difficult to put together an outfit that is cute, professional, but also comfortable for the long day spent as a juror.
Once you receive your letter indicating you have been chosen for jury duty and researched any guidelines and rules for dress, you can choose between the following three outfits that are sure to please as a juror. All three outfits below are a mixture of style, professionalism, and comfort and can be made with clothes already in your closet.
Simple Blazer and Pants
Pairing a basic blazer with a pair of pants will give you a traditional business casual look while also helping you remain comfortable all day. This outfit is also ideal for any season and weather during the year since many courthouses run on the colder side. You can choose any top for this outfit so you do not need to buy anything new:
- Button-down shirt
- Professional-looking basic shirt
- Lightweight sweater
Once you decide what top to pair, combine it with a simple black or dark-colored blazer and a pair of business pants, chinos, or khakis. This first outfit will be cute and professional, while also helping you battle the cold with the blazer or heat with the professional top underneath. Finish off with minor jewelry and a belt and you are ready.
A dress is the perfect choice for looking cute and professional for jury duty. The key here, however, is to make sure the dress you choose is comfortable enough for sitting for long periods of time. For example, a knit dress that has colors that are understated would be perfect for comfort. You can even add a blazer just in case it gets cold.
This second outfit screams accessories, and although you want to keep jewelry at a minimum there are ways to dress up a dress. For example, adding a floral-print scarf, comfortable heels, or some gold stud earrings will perfectly complete this outfit. You will probably want a purse to keep your things in, and leather or suede are great choices.
The dress you choose should have stretch in the material or be loose-fitting enough so that you are comfortable sitting in it for long periods of time. It should also not be too short; coming up slightly above the knee should be the shortest it should go so that your dress is not deemed as inappropriate by those in charge.
You should also not choose a dress that shows bare shoulders unless you are planning on wearing a sweater, blazer, or jacket all day. Although a bare-shouldered dress is perfect for a night out, it will more than likely be seen as inappropriate attire as a juror in the courtroom.
The Classic Jeans Outfit
As noted earlier, jeans are acceptable for jury duty as long as they are clean and do not have any holes or tears in them. So, why not take a classic pair of dark jeans and combine it with a professional top? That way, you are comfortable for the long day or days while also looking professional. This classic jeans outfit can be paired with:
- A button-down shirt
- A classic blouse
- Colorful or polka dot sweater
The key to this third outfit is that you do not want a top that looks too casual. Avoid wearing t-shirts or tops that would work better for a day shopping at the mall. You will want a top that is professional, like a button-down shirt, sweater, or blouse, to make this third outfit work.
You will also want to avoid wearing sneakers with the classic jeans outfit. This outfit works best with nice leather boots, dress shoes, flats, or short heels to make it work. This outfit is the easiest to put together because, more than likely, you will have everything you need already in your closet to look cute and professional all day.
A good rule for jury duty is asking yourself “what to wear when seeing a lawyer?” Then work off of that.
Serving as a juror can be an exciting and worthwhile experience, and there is no need to run out and spend hundreds of dollars on a new outfit. As long as you look professional, business casual wear is perfectly acceptable to serve as a juror. Finding a balance of conservative and comfort will help make your day as a juror a success.