It was about as far from her recent Coachella look — fringed hot pants and a floral leather corset — as you could get.
In each case the defendants had undergone something of a makeover for the courtroom, one that tapped into different archetypes of femininity that in turn function as vessels of association: part of a shared social mythology about innocence, youth, purity, hard work, good manners, respect for the court and the seriousness of the situation.
As far as the latter goes, see Ms. Sorokin’s nerdy thick-rimmed glasses, which have been a constant in every look. Also the horn-rimmed glasses worn by Lori Loughlin, another case in point (no pun intended), during her appearance in a Boston court earlier this month. Along with the glasses, the actress embroiled in the college admissions scandal also sported an equally studious tan trouser suit with a gray T-shirt. As far as accessories go, there’s an implicit connection between hard work and horn rims. Not to mention neutral shades and — well, remaining neutral. Just because it’s obvious doesn’t make it less effective.
The point is to counteract with visual imagery whatever picture the other side is painting of a person: How could someone who looks like this act like that?
And in 2011, during her trial for felony grand theft in Los Angeles, Lindsay Lohan garnered more attention for what she wore on her way to court — very short, clingy dresses, often in white or beige — than for the reasons she was in court, which may not have helped with her legal troubles, but made a different kind of case for her own fame in the public eye. “She walks into court like a movie star,” the lawyer Gloria Allred told The Times during the trial. “Apparently she hopes to be one.”
Ms. Allred also said then that her own general approach was to advise clients to dress for court as though they were dressing for church.
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