Since her nomination for the Supreme Court, every inch of Amy Coney Barrett has been scrutinized and twisted into a piece of Margaret Atwood fan fiction.
A Boston University professor suggested she was a white colonizer using her children adopted from Haiti as a prop. The 48-year-old has been held up as “handmaiden” in chief by a writer who grossly referred to the mother of seven’s nether regions as a “clown car.”
Oh how fickle is feminism.
But that’s not all. She also committed fashion crimes against the legal profession when she confidently walked into Day 1 of her confirmation hearings wearing a soft fuchsia dress and a simple strand of pearls.
Lawyer Leslie McAdoo Gordon tweeted: “Women lawyers & judges wear suits, including dresses with jackets, for work. It is not a great look that ACB consistently does not. No male judge would be dressed in less than correct courtroom attire. It’s inappropriately casual.”
A Daily Beast reporter took no issue with the dress itself, which she said “spoke of soft prettiness” and called it stylish by DC standards, but claimed it acted as interference for the nefarious ACB’s conservative beliefs.
Not since Elle Woods appeared at Harvard Law School cloaked in bubblegum-hued togs in “Legally Blonde” has fashion been such an affront to the legal community. But while the fictional Woods is often held up as a norm-busting lovable hero, Coney Barrett’s own pink frock appears to be evidence of her professional shortcomings.
Nevertheless, ACB persisted.
Throughout the week, she continued to buck the boring Beltway dress code, opting for feminine silhouettes and appealing color palettes. She looked less like an avatar for traditional power dressing and more like a modern, confident woman who has an eye for pretty things — and the figure to wear them.
On Day 2, she wore cinnamon separates: a skirt with a slightly swingy top reminiscent of Jackie O.
The judge topped off her appearances in a purple-flecked, tweedy suit paired with a lilac blouse. She accessorized with eye-catching drop earrings in both gold and silver, not the usual pearl posts.
Other than the style world’s obsession with the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dazzling collars, the Supreme Court and fashion don’t usually collide. Coney Barrett’s soon-to-be colleagues, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, were confirmed in a different era where there was less freedom or inclination to stray from the sartorial script. They opted for boxy suit jackets in both neutral and bold primary colors, respectively. If there was any meditation written on their clothing, it doesn’t register.
Coney Barrett, who certainly differs from them ideologically, is also a refreshing departure in the wardrobe department.
That’s not to say the jaunty jurist is so fashion-forward that she’s off to the spring shows in Paris or will be catching a street photographer’s lens anytime soon. Quite the contrary — the allure in her clothing choices is approachability. She is slightly out of the box, but not in an alienating, intimidating way. This notion is underscored in her pared-down makeup and less-than-flawless blowout. In fact, it’s difficult to discern if she shops at Saks or the clearance rack at J.Crew.
However, her wardrobe discussion will be a thing of the past after she suits up in her new uniform, which is decidedly boring and less open to interpretation: a black robe.
By Kirsten Fleming