For anyone considering the wisdom of wearing a scrunchie to work, the longest-serving woman on the Supreme Court has an unequivocal answer. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg loves scrunchies, and she's been rocking them for decades, from their height of '90s popularity through their long banishment in fashion taboo exile. And the scrunchie is not alone in Ginsburg's assortment of accessories.
"My scrunchie collection is not as large as my collar and glove collections, but scrunchies are catching up,” she recently told the Wall Street Journal. The article's title referred to scrunchies as a "scourge," but Ginsburg clearly disagrees. She says the best scrunchies can be found in Zurich, followed by London and Rome. Ginsburg likes to wear her hair pulled back in a low ponytail, and her signature style consistently includes a scrunchie.
Nominated to the Supreme Court by President Clinton, photos from that early '90s period show Ginsburg in her beloved scrunchies. Of course, that was back in the hair accessory's original era of cool — but as Ginsburg demonstrates, a woman with her own mind can stick with a trend as long as she likes. In the case of the scrunchie, Ginsburg's persisted long enough to see the elastic cloth hair tie not only go out of style, but turn around and come back into fashion.
Before Ginsburg gave scrunchie lovers everywhere permission to bring the '90s back, her most commented-on accessory was probably her extensive collection of jabots (aka fancy collars). In 2014, she opened up her jabot closet to Katie Couric on Yahoo! and revealed that an intentional decision-making process is behind which collar gets worn for specific occasions.
Her favorite jabot is a delicate white embroidered one from Cape Town, South Africa. She sports a jeweled jabot in black and gold for her dissenting opinions, offering Couric the explanation that it looks "fitting for dissents." Indeed, it does.
When Ginsburg has occasion to read the majority opinion for the Supreme Court, she'll choose a more ornate, yellow-toned jabot, a gift from her law clerks. She also has a copy jabot worn in the opera Stiffelio, which she bought at the Metropolitan Opera gift shop. (Ginsburg is a dedicated opera fan, sometimes even lecturing about opera alongside law.) In fact, Placido Domingo — who starred in the Met's revival of Stiffelio — serenaded Ginsburg when she received her honorary degree from Harvard. The Supreme Court Justice counts that as one of the greatest moments of her life.
Besides the scrunchie and jabot, Ginsburg has also garnered attention for her fancy gloves. The most recent addition to her trio of trademark accessories, Ginsburg didn't start wearing gloves regularly until 1999.
In an email to The Washington Post, Ginsburg explained why she first started wearing them. It turns out that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor suggested Ginsburg use gloves as a way to avoid germs while she underwent chemotherapy for colon cancer. Ginsburg quoted O'Connor as saying, "‘You are vulnerable now, and you’re going to receptions and shaking hands with lots of people, so you should at least wear gloves." But then she ended up liking "them so much, I decided to keep wearing them.”
In her cover photo for a 2015 issue of Time, Ginsburg sported black fishnet gloves.
Ginsburg had on similar gloves when she hugged President Obama following his 2015 State of the Union address. She's also been photographed in white knit pairs, as well as a delicately embroidered set of nude-toned gloves.
And according to Ginsburg herself, the Justice's glove collection actually outnumbers her burgeoning stockpile of scrunchies. Her unique style is just one more reason she's earned the "Notorious RBG" nickname.