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Outrages to Decency & Fun: The Law and Fashion

posted by LIM College

describe the imageThe only nationwide law that effects fashion regulation is against “indecent exposure,” but in other parts of the world women are often ridiculed and sometimes tortured based on the length of their skirt, the height of their heel or the cut of their blouse. These regulations are ridiculous and old fashioned and have even led to the deaths of innocent women. I was intrigued to dig up what clothing laws, part of a custom of laws about dress, eating, and behavior called sumptuary law, we still have in America. What I found was hilarious.

For instance, LIMers, did you know that in New York City it is illegal for a woman to be on the street wearing body hugging clothing? Attention NYPD: there are hundreds of tickets waiting to be issued just outside the LIM campuses. Traveling out of the glorious Big Apple? If you are heading to the Midwest keep the following laws in mind when packing your luggage. Patent leather shoes are a no-go in Cleveland, Ohio, to prevent the shoes reflecting women’s underwear. But what if you are wearing pants?  If you are headed to my home state of Kansas to visit the great old town of Natoma, I strongly suggest wearing a striped shirt to guarantee no one will throw knives at you. After all, that is illegal.

After your fashion journey through the Midwest if you head to Helena, Montana you’ll need to be sure to bring your dancing shoes, and your dancing three pounds, two ounces of clothing. For it is unlawful for women to dance on tables in a saloon or bar unless they meet the clothing weight requirement. Do the cops bring scales when patrolling the bars?

So fashionistas, I beg you to answer me this, do these laws make sense? Does it bring you peace to know that it is illegal for a man to wear a strapless gown in Miami, Florida?  In recent years there have been serious clashes over the wearing of head scarves in France and, in America, the wearing of gang colors or underwear outside of baggy pants. But is the law the answer?

If I could write my own fashion laws they would forbid Hello Kitty anything, anywhere. Also, girls would also not be allowed to wear clear heels in order to prevent them from being confused with prostitutes. What would your laws be?

-- Lola Mendez

Two sites about obsolete laws:

An online encyclopedia’s collection of articles related  to sumptuary laws:

Topics: fashion trends, Fashion Culture