Image Credit: Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com; David Buchan/WireImage.com; Toby Canham/Getty Images; Toby Canham/Getty ImagesOn Feb. 9, Egyptian civilians were still in the throes of protest and South Korea agreed to resume discussions with North Korea over humanitarian issues, but all Hollywood could talk about that day was The. White. Dress. (Idiocracy, guys. It’s coming! Yay humanity!) You know, the Kimberly Ovitz-designed dress Lindsay Lohan wore to her arraignment, during which she pleaded not guilty to felony grand theft charges, filed after the actress was accused of stealing a $2,500 necklace in Venice, Calif. Supporters felt the white was wise to enforce her innocent claims; detractors felt an outfit that confined her curves was too revealing for a court appearance that could lead to the confines of a jail cell.
Today, however, Lohan showed up to her grand theft hearing wearing a much more conservative outfit (reportedly made up of Chanel, Lanvin, YSL, and Tres Glam jewelry), despite a low-cut shirt, prompting many to wonder whether she intentionally covered up after her last dress incited anger in some observers. Though Lohan’s camp isn’t commenting on the matter, L. Londell McMillan — a lawyer for celebrities like Michael Jackson, Prince, Spike Lee, Russell Simmons, and Kanye West — tells EW that it’s not an unthinkable possibility. “I think it was perhaps a response to the public, but more in direct relation to her lawyer [taking] control over all the elements and aspects of the case,” he says. “I think it was an improvement, because it showed that there was respect for the court of law.”
But does a celebrity’s lawyer have a say over what their clients wear to court? According to McMillan, it’s a balancing act between the lawyer, the celebrity, and their stylist. “On one hand, you have a stylist [that] looks to really push the concept that no press is bad press and the world stage is upon them and they want to look fashionable and stylish, because they’re going to get the cameras and the front pages of magazines,” he says. “But from a legal point-of-view, you don’t want to send the wrong signal to the judge and the jury. You don’t want to give the signal that you’re here as a publicity stunt and you’re not really remorseful and not seriously concerned with the case. You want to show contrition at times, and not be the most stylish flower in the garden.”
Ultimately, however, the celebrity gets the final say, forcing his/her legal team to trust in the actor or actress’ judgment. Not that a celebrity will necessarily torpedo their case if they wear a provocative outfit to court — McMillan says it’s rare that someone’s clothing could affect the legal process that much, even if it affects their public image. (“I didn’t think Michael Jackson’s pajamas was a great look, but it didn’t hurt him either,” he says.) Lohan should, however, continue to be mindful of her wardrobe: “I love Lindsay Lohan. She’s a rebel,” McMillan says. “But she might want to tone down some of the outfits in court.”