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Trial Dressing Choices

Motol12

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Following the feedback on my previous thread, I am making a conscious effort to avoid appearing slick or guileful before the jury in my next trial, which starts Wednesday.

Aided by a bout of insomnia and the judge’s peculiar insistence on a precise trial schedule being submitted beforehand, I have rigidly planned out my wardrobe for the upcoming rape trial. This leaves me free to worry completely about my performance come tomorrow.

Based on the previous responses I have limited myself to two french-cuff shirts and one-three piece suit. To those forumites who weighed on my last thread, is this a better wardrobe choice? Any thoughts are appriciated but I would personally hope for the CBD stamp of approval from forum heavyweights such as Manton and Sator. Feel free to weigh in however.

Day 1: (Jury selection and possibly the opening statements and the first witnesses.) White button-down shirt from Brooks Brothers, Charcoal Grey suit from JoS A. Bank Signature Gold Collection, and a red necktie with white pindots from Brioni.

Day 2: (Witnesses, most likely policeman, his partner, and the medical expert.) White French-cuff shirt from Brooks Brothers, navy sack suit from J. Press, Burgundy necktie with silver and navy repp stripes from J. Press.

Day 3: (Most likely just finishing the medical expert.) French blue button-cuff shirt from Ben Silver, charcoal grey suit from W.W. Chan, and a black necktie with french blue dots (small but noticeable from a fair distance) from Ralph Lauren Chaps.

Day 4: (The victim will probably testify all of today.) Light blue button-cuff shirt from Jantzen, charcoal grey pinstripe Hickey Freeman 'Madison' suit, and a medium grey necktie with light blue stripes (arranged in an X pattern down the tie) from Zenga.

Day 5: (Victim is being cross-examined.) White French-cuff shirt from Turnbull and Asser, slate-grey w silver window pane MTM suit from Dakana’s, navy necktie with white pindots from Ben Silver.

Day 6: (Finishing the victim’s cross examination and some defense motions, maybe a defense witness.) Light blue button-cuff shirt from JoS. A Bank, three-piece charcoal grey bespoke suit from Raja Fashions, black necktie with white Churchill dots from Ben Silver.

Day 7: (First group of defense witnesses.) White shirt with subdued Eton blue checks from Ben Silver, medium grey herringbone suit from Claiborne, Eton blue necktie with white regimental stripes from Nautica.

Day 8: (Last group of defense witnesses) Blue and white pinstriped shirt from JoS. A Bank, navy sack suit from J. Press (same as Day 2) and an olive green necktie with a subdued blue floral pattern.

Day 9: (Possible defense witness, jury argument and deliberations) White button-cuff shirt from Brooks Brothers, navy pinstriped suit from Brioni, Burgundy necktie with gold and navy repp stripes from Brooks Brothers

Accessories: On all days but five I will wear black wingtip or captoe dress shoes either from Allen Edmunds or Edward Green. On day five I will wear a brown captoe from Allen Edmunds. With all choices, a white linen pocket square will be worn, folded in the TV fold.
 

TCN

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I think you may be overthinking this. Concentrate on preparing for the trial, and just make sure you have some conservative but nice suit/shirt/tie combos at the ready.
 

DandySF

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At this very moment I am serving as a juror on a trial that has lasted seven weeks. I've had ample opportunity to consider and study what the attorneys are wearing.

Ideally your clothing will be simultaneously perfect and invisible. To me this means there's nothing attention-getting, distracting, or peackock-ish about what you wear. You also don't want to look like you're too junior, or unsuccessful, to afford discreetly beautiful and high quality clothing. It's probably good to look like you've won a few trials. Most importantly, everything has to fit. Study your pants and jackets carefully in a three way mirror to make sure you don't need any alterations to fine tune the fit.

Incidentally, I think my fellow jury members would privately snicker if any of the attorneys displayed a pocket square while in trial.
 

gnatty8

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Two words.

5 charcoal suits from Brooks Brothers, 2 button, single vent.

5 button down shirts from Brooks Brothers, white.

5 ties, repp stripe, express your creative side here.

2 pairs of black lace up shoes, make sure they don't look too expensive.

Your white square, TV fold is a fabulous idea.
 

TexasLidig8r

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Day one... I like to wear navy, either a subtle window pane or pinstripe... Am not big on button down shirts in court at all.

Start with the "power look".. End with the "power look"
 

TCN

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Interesting; horses for courses I suppose. I don't like the power look in front of juries.

My first boss was a great litigator and a bow-tie wearer, but he would never wear a bow-tie at trial, and told me he didn't want the jury to be distracted or not think he was serious. I then met a phenomenal litigator who alway swore a bow-tie at trial and told me that a non-cartoonish bowtie = instant credibility.

I decided in my career that I wanted the jury to notice me, in fact I wanted all eyes on me and all ears listening to what I was saying. BUT, I did not want them thinking that I was wearing overly "fancy" or "expensive" clothing. I wanted to be likeable and approachable, but worthy of their rapt attention and absolute trust . . . much more so than their fellow jurors.
 

mensimageconsultant

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Originally Posted by DandySF
At this very moment I am serving as a juror on a trial that has lasted seven weeks. I've had ample opportunity to consider and study what the attorneys are wearing.

Ideally your clothing will be simultaneously perfect and invisible. To me this means there's nothing attention-getting, distracting, or peackock-ish about what you wear. You also don't want to look like you're too junior, or unsuccssful, to afford discreetly beautiful and high quality clothing. It's probably good to look like you've won a few trials. Most importantly, everything has to fit. Study your pants and jackets carefully in a three way mirror to make sure you don't need any alterations to fine tune the fit.

Incidentally, I think my fellow jury members would privately snicker if any of the attorneys displayed a pocket square while in trial.


Listen to the man. Also, remember that a juror from the previous trial commented on the cufflinks. Most importantly, don't wear a three-piece suit. Edit: don't wear a different, distinctive-looking suit and shirt every day. The first day's attire probably will be slightly more important than what you wear later during the process. You're there to win the trial, not to indulge in your love of clothes.
 

Manton

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The first and most fundamental question you need to answer is: Are you the defendant, or one of the lawyers? We know you are not the judge, otherwise your attire would already be set.
 

mensimageconsultant

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"My next trial" - that would be a most unfortunate defendant
His previous thread mentions that he is a lawyer.
 

Motol12

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Originally Posted by LesterSnodgrass
A nine day rape trial seems insane to me. Where do you practice?

New York City, and this length of trial is not the norm. Without getting into any specifics there is an extremely convouted series of events involving the chain of evidence for some of the physical evidence, as well probably 2-3 days of victim testimony.

It involves a divorced couple, and let's just say this case is very, very messy and emotionally complicated. A lot of the evidence is going to be contingent on a motion to strike at the end of presenting my part of the case.

To answer Manton's question, I am the prosecutor.

In some ways, I am indulging my love of clothing. When I first made my career change into criminal prosecution I followed the "dark suit everyday" dress code for the first three months. Then I realized that many of my fellow prosecutors, as well as some of the better defense attorneys were wearing clothing far more flamboyant then anything I own. One gregarious mob lawyer actually showed up to trial with a three-piece light blue suit, black shirt, and solid red necktie with matching red pocket square.
 

mensimageconsultant

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Presumably you don't want to become a lawyer for the mob, basically a pariah who will be paid well likely to minimize his client's sentence (i.e., someone who is unlikely to hurt his client through gaudy dressing). You probably also don't want to always be a low- or mid-level prosecutor. To show off in an "emotionally complicated" rape case sounds rather offensive.
 

Motol12

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Originally Posted by mensimageconsultant
Presumably you don't want to become a lawyer for the mob, basically a pariah who will be paid well likely to minimize his client's sentence (i.e., someone who is unlikely to hurt his client through gaudy dressing). You probably also don't want to always be a low- or mid-level prosecutor. To show off in an "emotionally complicated" rape case sounds rather offensive.

I don't feel as though I'm showing off, although if you think that the jury might. I mean other then my Day 5 choice everything is pretty conservative. Although based on this I might change out day five to another charcoal grey.
 

mensimageconsultant

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Most of your choices are not, by courtroom standards, conservative. You should be especially concerned about Day 5. Something conservative with some warmth (light blue shirt, maybe) ought to do.
 

Doc4

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Originally Posted by TCN
I think you may be overthinking this.

Just a bit ...

One thing, I'd say skip the brown shoes. I don't know about where you practice, but up here in Canada a 9-day rape jury trial would be in Supreme Court, and wearing brown shoes in Supreme Court is not allowed.

(BTW, for a supreme court trial, the lawyers would all be wearing 'robes of court' like you see in those british courtroom dramas ... sans wig ... so your wardrobe is basically set!)
 

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