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Why do Lawyers Wear Black and white Uniform ?

Every profession has a certain dress code, and the people belong to a particular profession are recognized by their attire.  Such as Doctors are recognized by their white aprons, engineers by their helmets and so on. In this way, lawyers are identified by their black and white attire. Though the color of lawyer’s attire is same lawyers have a dress code that differs from country to country.  It is considered that lawyers have one of the most elegant dress code compared to other professions. Lawyers are considered as one of the best-dressed professionals. Whereas in some countries like Canada the uniform for lawyers is a red and white dress.  But in most of the countries, the dress code is white and black. In some European countries, the lawyer uses a traditional black winged jacket over their dress. In countries like India, both men and women follow this dress code. Most of the lawyer across the globe wear formal wear in white and black combination.

A white shirt and black trouser and coat with a white neck band are a common attire for lawyers. We often wonder about the logic behind the black and white dress code. There is a reason behind it, we will discuss it in the following article.

The history of the black coat dates back to 17th century

The origin of the black and white dress code lies in the 17th century. The black and white color is not chosen randomly. There is a valid logic behind the black and white color code for the lawyers. In the February of 1685, King Charles II died. People began wearing a black and white gown to offer to mourn his death. From that time this uniform for lawyers is designed. If we see the previous pictures, we can find people used to wear a wig and a gown that was to award a degree of anonymity to lawyers and judges.  We can find that attire in old photos. Since that time white and black dress has become an official dress code for the lawyers.

Why Black and White Color ??

There is a reason behind this too. Choosing a black color for lawyer’s uniform has two reasons. First of all, in the old times, there was no availability of dyes in the large quantity. The purple color was signified to royalty, so the only fabric color left was black. This was the reason why black was an obvious choice. Another reason behind this is black is considered as a color of authority and dominance. A person in black coat looks more powerful and impactful. Also black color represents submission to a certain thing. As priests wear a black coat to show their submission to God, lawyers wear the black outfit to show their submission to justice. Black is a prominent color that offers a sheer elegance. It is observed that people wearing black outfits look more impactful and elegant.

Lawyers wearing a black coat look extremely elegant and powerful.  

The other color white is chosen for its pure feel. White color signifies goodness, innocence, and purity. In every legal battle, a lawyer is the only hope of justice for every individual. This color of hope is chosen to make individuals believe in the judicial system. In Indian judicial system wearing a black coat or robe over a white shirt and a white neck, the band is mandatory as this system is influenced by British rulers. There is an /advocate’s Act of 1961 which states every lawyer should wear a black robe or coat with a white shirt and a white neck band.

Why a white neck band? Is there any specific reason?

In countries like India not only a black coat and a white shirt symbolizes an advocate but a small neck band makes a lawyer recognizable. Every lawyer in the judicial system wears a white neck band. The white neck band is reserved only for the lawyers. So what makes it so important to use a white neck band?

The white neck band on the layer’s shirt also has its origin in England. In the old courts of England, the barristers used to wear these as a part of their uniform. This style was adapted by the Indian lawyers as Indian judicial system is influenced by British judicial system. A lawyer’s neck band is a white piece of cloth where two white cloth bands are joined together. These two bands represent the tablet of law and tablets of stone.  This is designed according to Christian belief. These were used by Moses that inscribed ten commandments that are adapted from a burning bush on Mt. Sinai. The neck band is considered as the first example of a uniform code law. The shape of lawyer’s white neck band represents the laws of God and men.

Wearing appropriate clothes in a courtroom is extremely important. The judicial system is considered as one of the most respectable system so showing respect to the system and the people involved in the system gets essential. In almost every country except the USA, it is extremely important to follow a particular dress code in a courtroom.  In USA participants in the civil proceeding have a lot of flexibility in their dressing. Even though there is not a freedom to dress up as you want. Most important thing to note is the judges in the courtroom can throw you out of the courtroom if you dress up inappropriately. This is the reason why not only lawyers but every individual who participates in the court should follow a certain dress code. The basic rule for dressing is to dress up conservatively. Wearing casual and shabby clothes in the courtroom is considered as disrespect to the law.

Depending on the reason why you are summoned to court a solid black or navy suit with a formal white shirt and a tie will pass through any judge’s standards. A negative dress up will leave an impact on what the juries think about you.