Stop Critiquing Kagan's Fashion!

This article is from the archive of our partner .

"Elena Kagan goes on Supreme Court confirmation offensive in drab D.C. clothes." That would seem like a nice, clickable headline. Unfortunately for The Washington Post, it was: the Huffington Post's Jason Linkins clicked.

Now Linkins has written a fierce takedown, tearing into Pulitzer winner Robin Givhan's "hollow" fashion analysis: "If I were to slice a fine layer from the newsprint it is burned on, that thin leaf of paper would be much deeper than any of the thought going on in the piece," writes Linkins. He goes through point by point. Here are the highlights:

  • Givhan: "The other men and women who have gone through this process have not been daring in their wardrobe choices either. There hasn't even been a pair of artful eyeglass frames in recent memory."
  • Linkins: "That should have been a clear a sign as any that this piece was an empty-headed exercise. Still, Givhan insists that Kagan takes 'the anti-style offensive several steps further.'"
  • Givhan: "There's little that could be described as fun, impish or creative in her dress. It's a wholly middle-age approach to a wardrobe"
  • Linkins: "It's almost as if she were a middle-aged woman, nominated to be a Supreme Court Justice."
  • Givhan:
Even when Kagan sits across from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who has her legs crossed at the knees, Kagan keeps both feet planted firmly on the ground. Her body language will not be bullied into conformity.

She does not cross her legs at the ankles either, the way so many older women do. Instead, Kagan sits, in her sensible skirts, with her legs slightly apart, hands draped in her lap. The woman and her attire seem utterly at odds. She is intent on being comfortable. No matter what the clothes demand. No matter the camera angle.

  • Linkins: "Whoops!" He includes another photo of Kagan with her legs undeniably crossed. "This is the part where I remind you that Robin Givhan is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.