top of page

10 Times Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was a Fashion Icon

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

By Isabella Schneider

The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shook America. She was a feminist icon who championed women’s rights and was a role model for women everywhere. As the first Jewish female justice, she became an icon to Jewish women around America, including myself.

By being one of few women on the court, Ginsburg could have easily felt the need to hide her femininity and dress in ordinary garments. But Ginsburg was anything but ordinary. She played around with her fashion, most notably her jabots (judicial collars), and was always dressed powerfully for every occasion.

To commemorate a woman who was both beautiful inside and out, I’d like to look back on ten times she was a fashion icon.

Sophisticated Jabot

This multidimensional jabot is one of my favorites of Ginsburg’s statement pieces. The intricate lace details coupled with the length are so beautiful and elevates the traditional judicial robe. The cleanliness of the white brings out the vivid blue of her earrings. Ginsburg was clearly a queen of accessorizing.

Kimono Cool

Ginsburg dressed in this kimono when she attended the Korean State Dinner at the White House in 2011. Again she’s seen wearing massive earrings, this time gold ones that accentuate the gold threads in her shirt. She is also accessorizing with gold shoes, fishnet gloves, and a simple color-blocked purse. The floral embroidery on the kimono is stunning and every piece in her outfit makes a statement.

Off White

This outfit is equally powerful and polished. The layered choker style necklace and her sheer, embroidered gloves perfectly accompany her cream colored jacket. She’s wearing beautiful big earrings. This proves that she’s not only a queen of feminism but also of accessorizing. The jacket itself is powerful and clean and is perfect for a woman of her influence.

Sworn In

Ginsburg was 60-years-old when she was sworn in. I love the choice of the checkers, they’re fun and youthful. They also pop out and make a statement, just as she made a statement by being the first female Jewish justice on the supreme court. As said in the musical Annie, you’re never fully dressed without a smile, and Ginsburg’s smile here finishes off her outfit and the momentous occasion.

Powerfully Purple

Ginsburg is pictured on the steps of the supreme court with family members after arguing a case. Purple is a royal hue and I expect nothing less from feminist royalty. Purple is a fun and youthful color but by picking a monochromatic outfit it adds a layer of sophistication and maturity. It appears she paired it with a floral shirt, a briefcase, and of course large gold chunky earrings.

Confirmation Hearing

Ginsburg picked an equally momentous outfit for the momentous occasion of her confirmation hearing before the senate judiciary committee in July 1993. The gold circular buckles and large buttons match her large gold circular earrings. The fit of the jacket accentuates her feminine figure and the cobalt color is bright and unique. The green and red satin shirt underneath is beautiful. The whole look is tied together with a simple slim leather watch.

Pastels and Paisley

The French are known for their style and Ginsburg certainly dressed for the occasion. Here she is pictured with fellow justice Sandra Day O’Connor after meeting with the French president in 2003. Her vibrant earrings, dress and scarf are played down with a crocheted cardigan and white lace gloves.

Lady in Red

Here Ginsburg is wearing a simple straight skirt and jacket in her chambers in 2002. Again, Ginsburg knows how to add an air of sophistication to a playful outfit by pairing the skirt and jacket with a simple black shirt, tights, and shoes. Her large gold pendant necklace adds in a bright and beautiful way to accessorize her outfit.

Gala Girl

Ginsburg was photographed in an embellished teal outfit at a gala dinner in Washington D.C in 2000. The sheer black sleeves fit the formal ambiance of the event while still being unique. She’s wearing a simple necklace with a gold chained purse that highlights the embellishments on her top.

Young and in Love

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Martin Ginsburg

Ruth and her husband Marty met while in college and it was love at first sight. Here they are both wearing pink leis to accessorize formal attire. She is wearing all white, with a pearl necklace and bracelet, white clutch, white floral short dress, sheer white tights, white shoes, and large white earrings.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy will never be forgotten. By choosing playful outfits, she played into her femininity rather than forgetting it in order to fit in with the men of her profession. She was a role model and inspiration for many, not just through her judicial pursuits, but through her fashion as well.


What’s your favorite Ruth outfit? Let us know on Instagram and Twitter or leave a comment!

Reach the writer on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn


bottom of page