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Dressing up

(36 Posts)
absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 09:20:51

Why do high Court judges in the UK persist in wearing archaic clothes that make them look ridiculous? The ill-fitting often rather tatty red dressing gowns are absurd enough, but those horrible flapping wigs are beyond a joke. How is anyone supposed to take them seriously and believe that they are familiar with the nuts and bolts of twenty-first century life?

annodomini Thu 18-Oct-12 09:44:52

When working in central Manchester, I often passed the law courts at lunchtime when I would see the judges climbing into their chauffeur-driven limo, going out to lunch, still clad in their robes, but minus the wigs. I assume they weren't going for a Big Mac - private dining room somewhere with proper public school dinners.

janeainsworth Thu 18-Oct-12 09:53:14

Oh, the disappointment.
I thought this was going to be an interesting debate about the clever use of accessories in making one's wardrobe more versatile, or the ethics or otherwise of appearing overdressed at, say, Gransnetters' get-togethers.
Judges - I think that's the point absent.
The wigs and robes are supposed to set them apart and make lesser mortals ie non-lawyers, stand in awegrin

absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 09:53:38

Our local court is practically next door to a lap dancing club. I think they remove their robes and wigs before going in there though. So they know about that bit of twenty-first century life.

Somehow barristers don't look quite so ridiculous as judges although they still look pretty daft.

And why do judges have to be called M'Lud? Is there some way we can break the news to them that the eighteenth century finished a while ago?

vampirequeen Thu 18-Oct-12 09:54:33

When I read the title of the thread I got the wrong end of the stick. I thought we were going to discuss bedroom adventures lol.

All this dressing up is supposed to show the power and gravity of the court. When I was on a jury I found that it made the whole procedure more like a theatre.

absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 09:56:35

Well the red dressing gowns are a start Vampirequeen

The trouble is their garb is not awe inspiring; it make me want to guffaw.

Grannybags Thu 18-Oct-12 10:38:56

Having just bought a fancy dress outfit for my GD I thought what a coincidence when I read the thread!

I agree they do look ridiculous

Bags Thu 18-Oct-12 10:43:53

Hello, grannybags. Nice name. smile

Grannybags Thu 18-Oct-12 10:46:24

Hi Bags. Only just joined and smiled when I saw your name! grin

absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 10:53:22

On a similar note, look at previous Speakers in the House of Commons. John Bercow doesn't feature as the MP I most admire, but I do respect his willingness to do away with the breeches and silk stockings. He just wears a university-style gown which marks him out as different from other MPs. Judges could do the same thing if they feel that sitting enthroned at the front of the court doesn't make their role clear enough.

Hello Grannybags.

gracesmum Thu 18-Oct-12 11:23:36

I actually think people whose job requires a "uniform" should wear it as it identifies them and as has been said, sets them apart, not necessarily in a bad way. I think John Bercow's refusal to wear the traditional dress of the Speaker of the House of Commons is egotisticical, saying he the individual is greater than the post to which he has been selected. I was unimpressed by Gordon Brown wearing a lounge suit to a formal dinner at the Guildhall - it showed a lack of respect - at Sam Cam not wearing a hat to Prince Wiillam's wedding and at David Cameron's unwillingness to wear morning dress when that is the convention. I like vicars to wear dog colllars - so that you know who they are. If everyone is in their own variety of mufti how on earth can we distinguish who is who. And don't get me started on those wretched ID tags on a length of tape round people's necks. You used to be able to identify a hospital doctor by the white coat (and flapping stethoscope) and the consultant by his bow tie(!). Now half of them are in scrubs and the other half in jeans.

kittylester Thu 18-Oct-12 11:34:09

You said exactly what I was going to say gracesmum I love the tradition. smile

I also got the wrong end of the stick and was going to wade in with my horror of having to get dressed up in MoTB gear for middle daughter's wedding grin

Bags Thu 18-Oct-12 11:38:03

Not sure I'd recognise a lounge suit if I saw one. If I met a politician face to face, I'd be more interested in what they had to say than what they were wearing, so long as they were wearing decently smart clothes. Classic country casual clothes (trousers, shirt, neat jumper) are just as smart but a bit more interesting and colourful than suits, suits, suits.

Bags Thu 18-Oct-12 11:40:35

Uniforms are just labels. When uniforms aren't necessary (I agree they are for police, etc), labels are just that.

gracesmum Thu 18-Oct-12 11:45:48

"Interesting and colourful"? As are silk stockings on a well-turned calf grin

soop Thu 18-Oct-12 11:48:32

Grannybags Our Bags is like a ray of sunshine Welcome, and may your time spent with the rest of us be all that you hope for. smile

Grannybags Thu 18-Oct-12 11:50:59

I agree with you Bags. I don't like it when politicians dress down because they are trying to look as if they are in touch with "normal" people. There also seems to be a new trend for politicians, presenters etc. to wear a suit but no tie as if they are not sure whether to dress up or down!

Grannybags Thu 18-Oct-12 11:53:17

Thanks soop. Enjoying it so far, although I'm going to have to limit myself as this morning seems to have disappeared! wink

absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 11:58:13

gracesmum If I had just had surgery, I would rather see the surgeons in hygienic scrubs than bacteria-infested, long sleeved white coats. My mother hallucinated hideously for over three months with hospital acquired MRSA and I truly believed that it was going to kill her. I don't want to go there because of traditional dress.

gracesmum Thu 18-Oct-12 12:19:02

I'm afraid I think this is an overreaction absent, surgical scrubs are meant to be sterile. Many years ago a nurse was not even allowed to wear her uniform on public transport as she could carry germs into a sterile environment. I do not think that scrubs belong outside the theatre. I agree about the short sleeves and all doctors on the wards will have their sleeves rolled up or wear short sleeves. No problem with that. I did not say I wanted surgeons to wear long sleeved bacteria infested white coats - junior doctors doing ward rounds are not the same thing and the idea of the white coat was that it was donned within the hospital environment and then left behind at the end of the shift and a clean one worn the next shift.
DH has had experience of MRSA (which most people carry), C. diff and pseudomonas in the last few years in a hospital with the highest hygiene standards because of compromised immune systems. One's outdoor clothes are not usually boiled in the way overall (white coats) can be and despite all the fancy anti-bacterial stuff available, many germs will thrive at temperatures below boiling.

jeni Thu 18-Oct-12 12:27:52

We wear ordinary clothes in our courts. When I say ordinary I mean smart . I wouldn't dream of turning up in jeans (not that I have any) but a smart skirt and top is acceptable. The trouble with this informal approach is that people complain that they're made to feel as if they're in court. They ARE!

absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 12:34:15

Guardsmen with their bearskins – that's another anachronism. In my opinion, bearskins look best on bears. They must be incredibly hot and uncomfortable and they just look silly.

Come to think of it, judges' wigs must be hot and itchy. Do those flapping bits make it difficult to hear? if so, that would be a worry.

jeni Thu 18-Oct-12 13:04:37

I think they're synthetic these days?

absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 13:06:34

No they're not jeni. They tried out all sorts of synthetic fibres but reckoned that none of them worked.

jeni Thu 18-Oct-12 13:34:36

Well if we can have artificial fur coats?