Why do Lawyers Wear Wig and Gowns?
Today, lawyers in the courtroom are almost always dressed in professional business attire. However, this wasn’t always the case. There was a time when lawyers were required to dress formally in wigs and gowns to appear before the court. This practice has its origins both in history and logic. Let’s take a look at why lawyers wear wig and gowns as well as their historical context and meaning today.
A Brief History why Lawyers Wear Wig and Gowns in Court
For over 400 years, lawyers and judges alike wore wigs and gowns in court. In fact, until the early 19th century, lawyers were required to wear wigs during any formal court appearance. Judges continued to wear wigs regularly until the mid-20th century. Though the use of formal courtroom attire has declined, it’s still common practice in the UK. The history of lawyers’ formal courtroom attire dates back to the English common law courts of the 17th century.
Lawyers were required to wear wig and gowns for reasons of etiquette and decorum. This made the legal process more civilized and dignified. The rules of court etiquette also helped to separate members of the legal profession from everyday society, which functioned as a safeguard against corruption. In other words, requiring lawyers to dress formally distinguished them from the general public and put them in a class of their own.
Why do lawyers wear wig and gowns?
Wigs were the first form of courtroom attire for lawyers. They were worn as a status symbol to denote that the wearer was a man of distinction and learning. Wigs signified that the wearer was a member of the bar and authorized to appear before the court. In addition to the above reasons, wigs were also necessary to cover and protect the wearer’s hair. This was because most courtroom trials and hearings occurred during colder months when individuals wore head coverings as a form of protection from the cold. Wigs were a popular choice, particularly among the upper class.
Why do lawyers wear gowns?
Gowns were the next item of courtroom attire for lawyers. They were worn in place of robes, which were less common at the time. Gowns and robes were necessary to mark the wearer as an authority as well as provide a degree of warmth during cold court hearings.Lawyer Gowns are long garments that cover the wearer from neck to ankle. They have long been associated with the legal profession, and they’re still worn today. Gowns are often decorated with a fabric or silk tie at the neck. The kind of tie indicates the wearer’s profession. The colors of the gown also signify something about the wearer. Red denotes authority, black signifies mourning, and blue is used for judges. Dark green or grey gowns are used by barristers.
The Symbolic Meaning of Attorneys’ Gowns
You may be wondering why attorneys’ gowns have such rich symbolic meaning. Wearing formal attire such as gowns and wigs in court has its roots in the ancient legal tradition of “dressing to the bar.” This is an old rule of etiquette that requires legal professionals to dress in formal attire when appearing before judges and juries. Dressing to the bar is an effort to show respect for the court and reinforce the authority of lawyers. It also helps to distinguish lawyers from the general public. The gown is the most widely recognizable piece of courtroom attire. It has been used in the courtroom since the Middle Ages and is associated with the law profession in many different cultures and traditions. For example, the red gown is a symbol of authority in Chinese culture. It’s also the official courtroom attire in Italy and Spain. The gown has a very long and rich history, and it continues to be an important symbol of the law today.
Thank You for Learning About Lawyer Wigs and Gowns!
Now that you have a better understanding of the history of lawyers’ wigs and gowns, you can appreciate just how long-standing this tradition is. Wearing formal attire in court has its roots in the Middle Ages, and the tradition has persisted for many centuries since. Though lawyers’ formal courtroom attire has fallen out of favor in modern times, it is still a part of legal history.