Less than a year into my career as a litigator and I’ve already faced that inevitable and completely embarrassing rite of courtroom passage: a verbal cuffing from a judge.
I was in set-date court, at the Ontario Court of Justice, on a criminal matter (where lawyers aren’t robed) and had decided to forgo my tie. I thought I might push the envelope on what men have to wear in the courtroom. My mistake.
Once my matter concluded, the judge politely, but curtly, let me know that it was inappropriate to abandon my tie in court. Had I appeared before anyone else, he said, I could have been kicked out of the courtroom.
Lesson learned: wear a tie to court. And if that’s a non-negotiable, it might as well be a tie with style. For those looking to have a little fun with their tie choices, here are three stylish and yet totally court-appropriate options to wear at work.
1. The regimental stripe
This tie took off in the mid-twentieth century when British men returned from the war and kept wearing their regimental colours. It’s versatile because it’s conservative (if they can wear it in the army . . .) but still adds bright colour to your outfit.
2. The knit tie
This bad boy is often made out of silk, but it’s knitted like your grandmother’s slippers. Usually it comes in one solid colour and strikes a nice balance between casual and refined. Plus, it’s the long-favoured choice of Bond. Need I say more?
3. The foulard
This tie is covered with a pattern of tiny, repeating whimsical shapes (anything from chickens to fire trucks). From a distance, the pattern appears to melt together, creating a deceivingly conservative look — perfect for getting away with a little sartorial playfulness without getting a dressing down from the bench.
This story is from our Summer 2015 issue.
Christopher Kalantzis is an assistant Crown attorney with the Ministry of the Attorney General and a referee for the Canadian Fencing Federation