Signals and symbols: the collars of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Elinor Carucci in TIME for Women's History Month

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American icon. The late Justice, who died on Sept. 18 at the age of 87, was only the second woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, a trailblazing feminist who, over a long career, enshrined equal protections for women into the law. During her 27 years on the nation's highest court, Ginsburg also became a fashion pioneer, encoding style and meaning into the staid judges' robes through an eclectic collection of collars often given to her by colleagues and admirers.


"The standard robe is made for a man because it has a place for the shirt to show, and the tie," Ginsburg told the Washington Post in 2009. She and Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female Supreme Court Justice, "thought it would be appropriate if we included as part of our robe something typical of a woman," Ginsburg said.


She and O'Connor began wearing jabots- traditionally, lacy ruffles-on the front of their robes, and Ginsburg eventually branched out, acquiring a growing array of name-brand

and one-of-a-kind collars.


After Ginsburg's death, Elinor Carucci was granted access to photograph a selection of the late Justice's favorite collars for TIME, with details about each provided by the Ginsburg family.

22 March 2021