April 15, 2024

How to Dress for Your Deposition A Guide for Witnesses

Stepping into a deposition room for the first time can feel like entering a new world, a place where every detail matters, right down to the clothes you wear. Most people have never been deposed before and may have no idea what to expect. This crucial phase in a legal proceeding is when witnesses share their testimonies—just like they were in court. Depositions are often videotaped so they may be shown to the jury and the judge. With cameras rolling and eyes focused on the witness, how one dresses becomes an essential consideration. So, how should deposition witnesses dress? Let’s talk about it. 

Inside The Deposition Room 

A deposition room typically consists of attorneys, the witness, a court reporter, and possibly others involved in the case. The atmosphere is formal—after all it is a legal proceeding. But, as far as legal proceedings go, it may be somewhat relaxed. There is no judge or jury, and a break is usually taken whenever the witness asks for one. Full suits and ties might not always be worn, even by the attorneys taking the deposition. This balance between formality and approachability brings us to the main question: How should you, as a witness, dress? You should dress professionally, comfortably, and in a way that no one notices your clothing. 

General Tips for All Witnesses 

Comfort is important, especially considering that depositions can be lengthy. Choose clothing that fits well without restricting your movement. Cultural or religious norms should also be considered and respected. Overall, your attire should neither overshadow nor distract from the crucial information you are there to provide. One consideration should be your role in the litigation. Parties (the plaintiff or the defendant) need to show the jury that they are taking the litigation seriously and more formal clothes help accomplish that. Alternatively, witnesses who have no interest in the case can get away with less formal dress. 

Guidelines for Men 

For men attending a deposition, a suit and tie are always a safe choice, but they’re not mandatory. A step down that may offer more comfort for a long deposition would be a suit jacket and no tie. Nowadays, a jacket is not required at all—a clean, ironed button-down shirt paired with slacks can usually get the job done. Colors should be neutral and patterns subdued. Be sure you’ve trimmed or shaved any facial hair. If you wear piercings, it’s a good idea to take them out. Shoes and accessories, too, should be simple. Remember, the focus should be on your testimony, not your wardrobe. 

Guidelines for Women 

Much like the guidance for men, suits are a reliable option for women but they’re not a requirement. A blouse, skirt, or slacks can be equally appropriate. You should wear comfortable, professional shoes such as flats or low heels—remember, depositions can last for a long time. Jewelry and makeup, if you choose to wear them, should be understated. It’s a good idea to take out piercings other than earrings. The key is to find clothing that’s comfortable, fits well, and expresses a professional demeanor.  

What to Avoid 

Not wearing the wrong thing is more important than trying to wear the right thing. Clothing that’s overly casual or flashy should be avoided. It probably shouldn’t need to be said, but clothing that includes political or controversial messages, cuss words, alcohol, drugs, or sexual content should absolutely never be worn. In fact,  clothing that contains any words or images should be avoided all together. 


When in doubt, witnesses are encouraged to seek guidance from their attorneys or other legal professionals to ensure that their attire aligns with the gravity and decorum of the situation. The clothes we wear can send a message. By dressing with thoughtfulness and intent, deposition witnesses can contribute positively to the process, allowing their words and not their wardrobe to take center stage. 

This information is provided by Harris Legal for general benefit, education, and interest. If you have a specific legal question, you should consult with an attorney.