Category: Barristers’ Dress

Take Off That Ugly Mask: The Problem of Barristers’ Hirsute Appendages, 1866-1896

From the Irish Times, 12 and 17 November 1863:

“SIR – The press has ever been the resort of those who have a grievance to complain of.  I trust therefore, you will give me an opportunity of saying a few words against the custom which has compelled so many members of the bar, at the approach of Term, to use the devastating razor and to remove that ornament of the manly countenance which they have cultivated with such care during the long vacation.  Truly, sir, the consternation read more

From ‘Back Hair’ to Go-Go Boots: Fashion and the Female Barrister, 1921-1967

From the Belfast News-Letter, 21 January 1922, this account of an interview with Frances Kyle, Ireland’s (technically) first woman barrister, having been called a couple of minutes or so before her colleague Averil Deverell:

“‘How do you like the wig,’ I asked as the short winter afternoon closed in, and we rose to say ‘good-bye.’ ‘Oh, not at all,’ said Miss Kyle, ‘It is so hot and heavy, and both Miss Deverell and I fought against wearing it, and petitioned the Lord read more

Dressed to Kilt, 1930

From the Irish Examiner, January 21, 1930:

A touch of novelty was given to the ceremony of calling a number of young gentlemen to the Bar in the Supreme Court this morning.  One of them appeared in kilts.  The regulation wig and gown did not harmonise with this costume, and an old Brehon might have been puzzled by the ‘tout ensemble’.  

The wearer’s name appeared in Irish in the list of candidates to be called, and as the Chief Justice always speaks the words read more

A Barrister’s Johnnie, 1924

From the Evening Herald, 7 March 1924:

At the Sessions today, before the Recorder, Mr Alex Lynn, BL, sued Mr Richard Mulcahy, as Minister of Defence, and Major General Guilfoyle for damages for loss of a wig and gown and a brief bag and contents alleged to have been seized by military forces at 23 Percy Place in the course of a raid.

Mr Lynn said he left the articles in the place which were the temporary office of the Cumann-na-mBan, and he visited the house as a leader writer.

Mr Costello, read more

The Affair of the White Waistcoat, 1899

From the Belfast Telegraph, 17 June 1899:

Yesterday, in the Four Courts, Dublin, in the course of a trial, Lord Chief Justice O’Brien observed that one of the Queen’s Counsel appeared in a white waistcoat, which was not professional costume.

The MacDermot QC, leading counsel for the Corporation (who, by the way, holds the old title of Prince of Coolarin), immediately closed the front of his silk gown.

Mr Ronan QC., observed that last week in London a judge stated he would read more