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the supremes

Robin Givhan Is Really Taken By the Fact That Elena Kagan Does Not Cross Her Legs

In a lengthy analysis of the style of Obama's Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan this weekend, Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan concludes that fashion archetypes can be both important and not important, but regardless, the one that Kagan fits into most specifically may not be "gay," as has been much-discussed, but "Washington." That is, stylishly unthreatening, unsexual, older than her years, and reassuring. It's the sort of controversial assessment for which Givhan has become famous. Remember when she had some thoughts about Hillary Clinton's cleavage? But Givhan really, really can't get over the fact that Kagan simply will not cross her legs:

In the photographs of Kagan sitting and chatting in various Capitol Hill offices, she doesn't appear to ever cross her legs. Her posture stands out because for so many women, when they sit, they cross. People tend to mimic each other's body language during a conversation, especially if they're trying to connect with one another. But 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.


(For what it's worth, a quick scan of Getty Images indicates this is not actually true — Kagan does cross her legs sometimes when sitting with women.) Givhan doesn't go too deeply into the implications of this, so we'll connect the dots for you: Kagan's very obviously packing a handgun in a garter holster underneath those sacklike skirts. We're putting our money on the 9mm Walther P99 AS semiauto. Constitutional freedoms!

Elena Kagan goes on Supreme Court confirmation offensive in drab D.C. clothes [WP]

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Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images