Courthouse Couture

updated 12/25/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/25/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Rev. Al Sharpton
The wily New York activist with a penchant for leaping—to conclusions or into minicam spotlights—plunges headlong into fashion dissonance and comes up a winner. A sober trench coat? A jaunty running suit? Alone they stand mute, but taken together they create an irrepressible look that says, with uncanny accuracy, "Hey, I just got out of the county jail after serving five days for disturbing the peace!"

William Hurt
A civil suit for a civil suit? At his June palimony trial, in which ex-sweetheart Sandra Jennings failed to win half of Hurt's fortune by claiming they were as good as married, the actor employed his buttoned-down but breezy Accidental Tourist look. Reads: serious, but always ready to travel. Fashion verdict: righteously innocent.

Zsa Zsa Gabor
But, dahlings, really there's no point coming to a high-visibility traffic-court trial in a low-visibility dress! A fiesta of flowers, including a huge off-the-bazoom bloom, can nicely counter the harsh realities of slapping a cop.

John Gotti
If you've got it, flaunt it, even at a pretrial hearing on an attempted murder charge. From his pinkie ring to his in-your-face necktie, the dapper don wears a look that says, "I'm feeling good, I'm looking good, I can have my critics encased in cement."

Mitch Green
The boxer, who once fought an impromptu predawn bout with Mike Tyson, posed the question Why not...wear your shirt as an accessory? when he left court after arraignment on charges of driving under the influence. Verdict: No appeal.

Leona Helmsley
Perhaps hoping an Op-art ensemble would distract the jury from the crimes at hand—and preserve her from the nightmare of jail-house frocks—hotel queen Leona Helmsley sported a Zeitgeist of zigzag in a belted silhouette curiously reminiscent of the Jolly Green Giant. Ho ho ho, Leona!

Jim Bakker
Long to turn that back-of-the-closet number into an ensemble to beat the bland? Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! Simple federal-issue steel jewelry at wrists and ankles turns Bakker's mousy blue-jean outfit into a look that turns heads.

Vanessa Vadim
No flashy star-performer garments for Jane Fonda's daughter (by Roger Vadim), who was picked up for loitering, disorderly conduct and obstructing the arrest of her friend Thomas Feegel. He was the one allegedly buying heroin. An unconstructed pantsuit says adventurous...but not too far from innocent.

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