A question I often get asked by my clients is whether what they wear to court matters. My answer is always yes, although there are many reasons why I give this answer.
While I certainly do not believe it necessary that all defendants show up in a suit and tie, one does not wish to show up so under-dressed that it can be viewed as a lack of recognition of the seriousness of the proceedings, or a lack of respect for the parties involved – including the prosecutors and the judge. However obvious it may seem, pajamas or workout clothes are not going to give the right impression. Also, I often see individuals wearing drug-related attire in the courthouse; this is probably not a great idea. Business casual is certainly acceptable. Sleeveless tops, shorts, flip flops, pants that are falling down, or skirts/dresses that are too short should not be worn.
The fact is that studies have shown that your appearance is often used as a basis of judgement; it is best not to take chances that a judge or prosecutor be influenced, even if unconsciously, by your appearance in dealing with your case.