Forging linkages between dress and law in the U.S., Part I: Rape and sexual harassment

S. J. Lennon, K. K.P. Johnson, T. L. Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This is the first of two articles in which we argue that textiles and clothing research has relevance for the legal system in the United States in several different contexts. In this paper we highlight textiles and clothing scholarship and illustrate how that scholarship could be used to inform legal practices or legislative action in the United States regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault. Textiles and clothing researchers have demonstrated that dress conveys both accurate and inaccurate messages about the wearer. However, it is evident from statutes and written judicial decisions (caselaw) that the legal community often assumes that dress accurately indicates the wearer's attitude or intent. Yet in so doing, the legal system may be relying on inaccurate inferences to inform judgments and render decisions. Recommendations are suggested for research and policy linkages textiles and clothing research and law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-156
Number of pages13
JournalClothing and Textiles Research Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


  • Dress and law
  • Dress and the legal system
  • Rape and dress
  • Sexual harassment and dress


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