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Ruth Bader Hipster Makes Us Rethink Lawyers' Eyewear Choices

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By William Peacock, Esq. on September 19, 2014 9:04 AM

A few days ago, the topic of the day in the legal world was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's comments about gay marriage and the Sixth Circuit: If they create a circuit split, it ups the urgency for the Supreme Court to take on the issue.

While others were debating the importance and propriety of her comments, I was debating something else: her glasses. Did anyone else notice the debut of Justice Ruth Bader Hipster, whose new thick, black glasses scream: "Straight Outta Brooklyn"?

We kid, of course -- her new, trendy choice of eyewear looks way better than her old set of frames. But it did inspire some musing about different styles of eyeglasses for lawyers, and what those spectacles say about the person wearing them:

Thick and Plastic Is Trendy

Look at the eyewear from last year's New York Style Week. Or Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Or celebrity style trends. From Hollywood to the runways to the hallways of SCOTUS, dark, thick plastic is in.

It's a little vintage. It's a little hipster. It's a little fashion forward, but not too fashion forward.

Thin Is In for Credibility

Alas, a study from 2011 says that, for maximum credibility and attractiveness, you want to go for thin, wireless frames.

The study found that those with full-rim glasses were rated as less attractive but more intelligent than those with no glasses at all. Rimless glasses, however, were rated as more intelligent and more trustworthy, without getting dinged in the attractiveness column.

Interestingly, rimless glasses also make it easier to confuse one's face with someone else's -- time to take your criminal defense client to LensCrafters.

Avoid These at All Costs

There are, of course, a few no-nos. We'll start with my pet peeve: The "classic" 80s style, the frames with the double-bar at the top. Wire or plastic, if you wear these, you are either sending the message that you are drastically out of touch with modern life or that you are a pedophile. Seriously, Google pedo glasses and guys like this pop up.

Also, don't go too trendy, with neon colors, odd shapes or massively oversized frames. Yes, your choice of glasses is a statement of your individuality, but much like your clothing should be professional so that you are noticed for the merits of your legal work, your glasses should do the same.

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