A Definitive Guide To Ruth Bader Ginsburg, As Told In Neckwear

Think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and you perhaps imagine a fierce defender of gender and social equality, a reserved woman whose clever, and sometimes snarky, quips often make national headlines, or a Supreme Court justice with a CV long enough to make Sheryl Sandberg lean in. We love her for all these things, of course, but what makes this Supreme extra special is her unfailing dedication to personal style. Even in her black robe, Ginsburg finds a way to express herself through her accessories, which is usually manifested in a white lace neck piece. Delicate, subtle, but distinguishable, these adornments help personify Ginsburg just as much as her pithy one-liners or written opinions.
But, what if the notoriously soft-spoken justice wasn't so...modest? What if her accessories were just as bold and groundbreaking as her accomplishments? Well, in honor of her 81st birthday, we present you with Ruth Bader Ginsburg's greatest moments — and the collars we think are befitting of each success. Sure, some of these are a bit over the top, and, no, she probably would never rock 'em on the bench, but if RBG has taught us anything, it's to fight for what we believe in. And, we believe she can do anything, wearing these included. Happy birthday, Ruth!
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Photo: Rex USA.
What to wear when playing in the big Ivy League...
It's not like being a law student and mother isn't challenging enough, but when you're one of nine female students in the boys' club known as Harvard Law circa 1956, you better bring your A-game. So, what should a savvy woman do when the school dean scolds you for taking an enrollment spot expected to be given to a man? Carry yourself with equal parts conviction and class. How, you say? Subtly express your femininity with a silk-chiffon bow, and totally shut down naysayers by becoming the first woman elected to the Harvard Law Review.

Then, if you happen to transfer to Columbia Law, make Review there, too. Oh, and graduate top of your class, of course.

Saint Laurent Silk-Chiffon And Leather Collar, $390, available at Net-A-Porter.
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Photo: Rex USA.
What to wear when you mean business...
We all know Ruth's affinity for delicate, lace neck pieces, but during the '70s, an edgier, badass-yet-professional collar would have been much more appropriate for some of her accomplishments during that era. She cofounded the Women's Rights Project at the ACLU, and became Columbia University's first tenured, female professor. As the Women's Rights Project's chief litigator, Ginsburg argued several landmark cases in front of the Supreme Court, including Reed vs. Reed., which finally extended the Equal Protection Clause to women. Let's just call this decade her practice before hitting the bench — we had a Supreme in the making, people.

Atsuko Kudo Latex Lace Collar, $113, available at Luisaviaroma.
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Photo: Rex USA.
What to wear when you take an oath...
It's August 10, 1993. President Clinton is standing in front of you. You've just endured a tedious, hyper-political Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in which you refused to answer hypothetical situations (now known as the Ginsburg Precedent) from concerned Republicans. In the end, of course, the Senate voted 96-3 in your favor. Now, you're promising to "administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich." You're one of nine ultimate defenders of the Constitution...until you retire or die. Heavy — albeit honorable — stuff. Just like this chain necklace.

Topshop Multi Row Chain Necklace, $30, available at Topshop.
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Photo: Rex USA.
What to wear when you're defending your sisters in arms...
Those days as the ACLU's general counsel sure did pay off, because in 1996, Ginsburg delivered the Supreme Court decision in United States vs. Virginia, which struck down state-subsidized Virginia Military Institute's ban on female students. The Court held that the ban was in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, a.k.a. RBG's bread and butter. Following this landmark decision, the Supremes continued to strike down any legislation that, in Ginsburg's words, "denies to women, simply because they are women, full citizenship stature — equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to society." By the way, Virginia Military Institute was the last all-male public school in the U.S. Hence, the chic iteration of the dog tag.

Max&Chloe A.V. Max Gold ID Chain Necklace, $70, available at Max&Chloe.
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Photo: Rex USA.
What to wear when you beat cancer...twice...
We call in sick when we get a migraine. But, when Ruth Bader Ginsburg is diagnosed with colon cancer and undergoes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment, she doesn't miss a day on the bench. Talk about dedication. When pancreatic cancer brought her back to the surgeon's table in 2009, she returned to work 12 days later. So, when Justice Ginsburg accessorizes, remember she's as fierce as those spikes, cheeky as those skulls, and precious as those pearls.

Joomi Lim London Calling Skull Choker, $436, available at Shopbop.
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Photo: Rex USA.
What to wear when standing up to political pressure...
Sure, 2013 saw widespread commentary from liberal political pundits calling for Ginsburg's retirement, but do you think that fazed the veteran? Not in the least. You see, if RBG retires now, President Obama will be able to nominate another Supreme Court justice — one who will likely sway left — before a Republican president can nominate someone with, presumably, more conservative views. When asked if a justice should step down for the party that nominated them, Ginsburg said, “I think one should stay as long as she can do the job.” Do what you want, girl, even if that entails wearing a bold, red, neck-to-knee, fringe necklace. Just sayin'.

Boticca Fringe Warrior Statement Necklace, $585, available at Boticca.
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Photo: Rex USA.
What to wear when you're celebrating marriage equality...
Because, when you argue that the the Defense Against Marriage Act, a federal law that doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, gives gays "sort of a skim milk marriage," you deserve to sparkle in rainbow gems and diamonds galore. We would have liked to see the associate justice don this piece, post-DOMA, when she officiated a same-sex marriage.

Shourouk Mini Theresa Swarovski Crystal Necklace, $850, available at Net-A-Porter.
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Photo: Rex USA.
What to wear when you're working out...
In March 2013, thanks to the Washington Post, we found out that Ruth isn't just a powerhouse in court but at the gym as well. How many pushups can she do? Definitely more than us. “When I started, I looked like a survivor of Auschwitz,” Ginsburg said in an interview. “Now I’m up to 20 pushups.” That's pretty impressive for an 81-year-old standing just above 5 feet and 100 pounds. Always adorned with some kind of accessory, RBG shouldn't do squats sporting hard gems and delicate lace. No, a soft, woven, rope necklace is far more practical — and just as chic.

Eleanna Katsira DESHI Mustard Woven Fringed Necklace, $92.93, available at Pret a Beaute.
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Photo: Rex USA.
What to wear when you're trying to protect America...
Bald eagle? Too obvious? We don't care, and neither does RBG. The associate justice is known for being a soft-spoken, reserved member of the Supreme Court bench. At the same time, she's not adverse to letting it be known when she's unhappy. And, we've never seen her more fired up than when the Supreme Court struck down a part of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in June 2013. In her dissent, she wrote, "Hubris is a fit word for today's demolition of the VRA," and that the ruling is "like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet." She maintained that the VRA provision, requiring certain cities and local jurisdictions to obtain permission from the Department of Justice before changing its voters laws, would protect areas with a documented history of racial discrimination. To put it simply, would you vote if you had to take additional tests?

Lanvin Borneo Gunmetal-Tone Swarovski Crystal Eagle Necklace, $1,995, available at Net-A-Porter.
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Photo: Rex USA.
What to wear while taking over the Internet...
We can't decide if we like Ruth Bader Ginsblog or Notorious R.B.G. better. Either way, #Winning.

Anita Quansah London Ara Necklace, $4177, available at Luisaviaroma.