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What to Wear: Your Style Guide for Mediation + Court

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Guest contributor: Whitley Adkins

When it comes to personal style, I tend to lean toward a more is more approach. As a fashion stylist and style editor with a genetic predisposition wired toward things a little more complex, interesting and thought-provoking, I am attracted to art, culture, fashion and all things high style in any arena. In terms of clothing and fashion, my internal gravitational pull typically steers me toward curated looks of textures, layers and mismatched patterns where there is some level of created tension.

Communication in Mediation & Courtroom 

Clothing is oftentimes one’s first form of communication to the world. As a personal stylist I am given the fulfilling opportunity to work with all kinds of individuals in various professions, and through their dress, work with them in order to help them formulate exactly what it is they want to say. When working with artists, including interior designers, visual artists, dancers and more, a more creative and decorative approach to dressing makes perfect sense. In other professions or for more conservative occasions, however, a less expressive form of dress is appropriate. Mediation or court is one of those occasions.


When dressing for mediation or court or any other similar setting, this is the time for taking the less is more approach. I am a divorced Mom of two wonderful boys, and so I speak from experience when I say that, above all else, maintaining your integrity is the most important thing you can do, for yourself, your soon to be ex, your children, and anyone else involved. The way you dress for this particular occasion is a metaphor for the entire situation! Keep your clothing, conversation and sense of decorum in alignment with one another. You want to dress–and be–polished, strong, cordial, polite and kind. You want to arrive in style, in dress and in conversation.

This is not the easiest time in your life so looking great and feeling your best will help your confidence in volumes. When dressing for the courtroom or mediation, it is best to keep your overall look simple and, like your hair, well-coiffed. Neutrals, solids and uncomplicated lines are ideal over wild hues, patterns, plunging necklines or shorter hem lengths. You can absolutely dress with a strong sense of style, but in doing so, taking a more minimalist approach is best.

Shoes, Purse and Accessories

This includes shoes and accessories. Stow away your super high stilettos and fancy jewelry. A simple pump or flat, black, navy or nude in color is best. Likewise, you should opt for wearing simpler, fewer, less shiny pieces of jewelry. A stud earring, watch or a thin bangle bracelet, a small chain necklace with pendant–perhaps an understated hand me down or gift from a loved one-are ideal for this particular occasion. We all love a great designer handbag but now is not the optimal time to share with everyone your favorite letter in the form of a logo. For the time being, reach for a less conspicuous clutch or tote.

Hair and Makeup 

In terms of makeup, save experimenting with a fun eye or lip for your celebratory girls night out. This is an occasion to opt for a more clean, neutral, natural look. Some light blush and just a touch of color on your lip is perfect. And speaking of hair, your hair is actually an accessory too! Just like your makeup, for the courtroom and mediation, it is best to opt for a more simple, well coiffed, polished look. Just as with your verbal communication, your nonverbal communication (your overall look) should be kept to the point, and again, above all else cordial, polite and kind.


Clients may need additional support during their divorce. Claire Samuels Law, PLLC has curated a community of the best coaches, therapists and other wellness experts dedicated to supporting you through your divorce process and beyond.

Charlotte’s Premier Fashion + Wardrobe Stylist, Style Editor for Southpark Magazine, Fashion Contributor & Founder of Fashion Forward (supporting Charlotte’s retail sector), Whitley Adkins is a part of Claire’s compassionate team of experts, ready to guide you through this difficult time by helping you look and feel your best.

Claire Samuels Law, PLLC works with you to resolve your legal issues while also providing the resources and experts you need to facilitate the healthiest process for you and your family.

Click here to schedule your initial consult today!

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