Do Dress have an impact on how you are sentenced in court?

26 05 2007

After having read the article below from The Guardian Unlimited it seems so

“The jury is out

What you wear to court is crucial to how you’re judged – as a spate of celebrities have discovered in recent months. So what are their outfits saying? Hadley Freeman passes sentence

Friday May 25, 2007
The Guardian

Winona Ryder, 2002
The girlish side-parting, the twee, childlike dress, eyes nigh on brimming with innocence: here is the court look that proposed, and duly confirmed, the idea that one could, just as Roxette promised us all, dress for success. Now, back in 2002, Winona Ryder was not exactly surfing the A list. Well, a decade of starring in such self-indulgent toss as Girl, Interrupted and Autumn in New York (it co-starred Richard Gere – do you need any more details?) does nothing for a girl’s cred. Oh, and then there were those pesky theft, burglary and vandalism charges. But, happily, she was able to give her old mucker Marc Jacobs a call, and he duly kitted her out in dresses with pussy bows and blouses with Peter Pan collars and ballet pumps. Sadly, this wasn’t quite enough and she had to put in some community service or whatever but, hey, who cares? At least she looked good, right? And that’s the lesson a lot of her followers seemed to learn.

Paris Hilton, 2007
The mental processes are as sharply visible as the multiple collars overlapping one another like a triple cheese-burger. Imagine the little cherub, doing her darndest to dress like a – whaddyacallem? – civilian. You know what she means – like, those boring people who get up and go to work and go to the supermarket totally think that “trust” means “belief” as opposed to, you know, “fund”. But the way she’s wearing a button-down shirt and a waistcoat and a jacket … well, really, its like seeing a baby foal attempt to take it’s first steps, isn’t it? Aiming for normality, but falling on its ass, frankly. Note, too, how she made sure that her jacket sleeves went only halfway down her arm so that she got proper credit for wearing full-length shirt sleeves as opposed to her usual top de choix, a ripped vest top. Oh, Paris! Je l’adore!

Nicole Richie, 2003

Despite the jokes that just quiver on the tongue (The Simple Life: The Porridge Years), Paris’s best friend/mortal enemy/best friend Nicole Richie’s current “troubles with the law” haven’t received quite as much coverage as Hilton’s and, really, I blame her wardrobe. Her clothing choice from her previous little legal skirmish, illustrates the problem. OK, the Hermès Birkin bag is a nice touch but, come on, Nicole, put in the effort! You’re up for driving under the influence. According to the rules, you’re now supposed to dress like a serious businesswoman or angelic child – ie, someone who would never touch alcohol – and a hot pink top just won’t do. Mind you, Nicole has a bit of a bad record when it comes to defending herself: when she was caught with an inconvenient balloon full of heroin in her car some years back, her defence that “it’s not on me, it’s just in the car” failed to cut it in the court and she went dahhhhn.

Tamara Mellon, 2007

Sweet heavens, just how scary is this woman? So scary that, when she appeared in court earlier this month to complain about her ex-husband hiring a private eye to spy on her, the newspapers, palpably wibbling with fear, all dutifully recorded every item she was wearing. One can almost imagine Tamara towering over them in the newsroom: “The skirt is Roland Mouret, got that? That’s M-O-U-R-E-T. And the belt, that’s very expensive, too, as it’s YSL. The bag might look like a pillow, but it’s from my own Jimmy Choo collection and cost two grand. Got that? Two grand.” I’m not sure if wearing £2,000 shoes is the best way to grab a judge’s sympathy, but perhaps she thought she would terrorise him into submission with her designer labels. Including the Prada cardigan. Will that do, Tamara?

Alana Black, 2007

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what a Get Out of Jail Free card looks like in human form. Consider Alana Black, daughter of beleaguered media tycoon Conrad. Did you know he had a daughter? Nope, me neither, but here she is, being wheeled out, in what her dad must hope is the nick of time. Barbara Amiel’s efforts in the court audience haven’t quite reflected so well on Conrad, as is often the way when an accused’s spouse is present. She might have muted her usual haute-couture tendencies into boring brown suits, but her fondness for shouting at journalists hasn’t really given her husband the required respectable image. So now Alana is pushed forth, and very well she’s doing, too: the pencil skirt and blouse are elegant, but not obnoxiously so, and the beaded necklace doesn’t rub her and her father’s wealth in the jurors’ faces in the same way as Amiel’s Hermès bags do. And that hair! “Come on,” it all but shrieks. “No man accused of fraud could possibly have fathered such angelic locks, surely.”

Naomi Campbell, 2007

“What do they expect me to do – walk in looking all drib and drab [sic]? I’ve never looked drib and drab in my life.” Thus speaketh Naomi Campbell in the diary she nobly kept during her recent community service and, really, it’s a piece of literature that surely merits the description “this generation’s Anne Frank” across the top (best line: “I never had problems with men, because if they bothered me, I’d tell them to fuck off”). The image of our Naomi leaving the New York sanitation department at the end of her community stint shows how justice and fashion and, well, just love in general can come together in one big, happy ending. And there’s something about the juxtaposition between a Dolce & Gabbana dress and the word “sanitation” on the truck behind her that just gets me. Right there.”

Why shouldn’t it when dressing has an impact everywhere else? You can by your dressing show if you obey the authority and society at large or if you oppose it. You can find a number of examples in every day life.

It is clear that Paris Hilton got the sentence she got due to the fact that she misbehaved. By her dressing in court she at least gave the impression of having obeyed the court and the judge. She had simply bettered herself.

If you are travelling with public transport without having bought a ticket, your chances to get fined is most likely much greater if you are dressed badly rather than ‘respectful’. If the latter the guard will see it as an ‘one off’. Even better if you can exlain it and you offer to pay your ticket.

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2 responses

30 05 2007
Donna Carty

Learned this back in college (~1969) in criminology class. If you’re brought into court from the jail entrance wearing a jail jumpsuit (usually because you were too poor to afford bail), you are about 10 times more likely to be convicted.

30 05 2007
bopersson64

Thank you for your very interesting comment. Can you be overdressed too? So that the judge and jury think of you as someone rich mean person that one want to hit. Someone like Paris Hilton could have dressed the wrong way. I am completely convinced that Miss Hilton had a team of stylists behind herself.

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