09/19/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT
Not since L.A. Law have so many sharp dressers filled a televised courtroom. But this time it's real life. When the O.J. Simpson case goes to trial, should his defenders really be wearing ties loud enough to drown out their arguments? "Image won't win or lose a case," says Charmaine McClarie, president of Image Design, an Oakland consulting firm. "But it can place a question mark in a jury's mind about credibility." Chief defense lawyer Robert Shapiro's in-your-face ties, Gerald Uelmen's bold-but-serious neckwear and Johnnie Cochran Jr.'s flamboyant cravats may have been chosen to "contrast with O.J. and make him look like the all-American guy," says designer Alexander Julian. We asked McClarie, Julian, attorney Gloria All red and lawyer and forensic psychologist Harry Munsinger to examine the ties for the defense and pass judgment.