Class / Culture / Feminism / Race / Religion

Blog Recommendation: Dressing Constitutionally

If you’re into fashion, hair, and their intersection with western societal rules, Dressing Constitutionally is worth a follow. A team of two CUNY law students and a law professor run this blog about how our laws control and influence the ways we’re allowed and expected to present ourselves.

A description of the author’s recently published book gives a more detailed sense of what the blog is about.

“The intertwining of our clothes and our Constitution raise fundamental questions of hierarchy, sexuality, and democracy. From our hairstyles to our shoes, constitutional considerations both constrain and confirm our daily choices. In turn, our attire and appearance provide multilayered perspectives on the United States Constitution and its interpretations. Our garments often raise First Amendment issues of expression or religion, but they also prompt questions of equality on the basis of gender, race, and sexuality. At work, in court, in schools, in prisons, and on the streets, our clothes and grooming provoke constitutional controversies. Additionally, the production, trade, and consumption of apparel implicate constitutional concerns including colonial sumptuary laws, slavery, wage and hour laws, and current notions of free trade. The regulation of what we wear – or don’t – is ubiquitous”

A note handed to a woman in a hijab who actually DID get permisison.

A note handed to a woman in a hijab who actually DID get approval.

The blog sounds very niche, but it isn’t, really, it’s just focused. If you care about prejudiced dress codes and conventions, about where your clothes are made, about the demonization of Black hair, you’re probably into this blog already and don’t know it!

It covers the stuff you’d expect: Trayvon Martin’s clothing, Rastas fighting for their dreadlocks in a job setting or in prison, the “look what she was wearing” excuse for harassing women, kids being sent home for wearing something the school doesn’t like. Where possible, these issues are looked at with a legal eye, citing court decisions, laws, and regulations.

But, given its unique focus, the blog also picks up and comments on stories that you probably haven’t heard yet.

A post on a Muslim man’s court battle over his beard (and the shadier-than-shady reason his employer chose to enforce the dress code on him).

A flap over the redesign of the USMC hat.

The Supreme Court presenting arguments on what constitutes ‘clothing,’ anyway.

Some light shilling of the professor’s book goes on in the posts, but it’s tolerable. This is a pretty fascinating blog, well worth your time if you’re at all interested in their areas of expertise.


Also, if you like men in skirts (who doesn’t??).


3 thoughts on “Blog Recommendation: Dressing Constitutionally

  1. My brother once got sent home from his predominantly white private school because he had his afro out, as opposed to braided. The school wrote that we should return his hair “to normal” as it was causing “a distraction” among the other children. Can you imagine? “your ethnicity is causing a stir, please tone it down”.

    Loving the posts by the way, have followed up.

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