People have some strange idea of what dressing like a prostitute entails. If you’re a stock photo photographer, you probably think sex workers always stand on one leg like flamingos. If you’re a New York police officer, apparently you want to arrest the entire J Crew catalog because the “hooker uniform” comprises a pea coat, skinny jeans, and high-heeled shoes.
Well, that’s my sister for sure. Also my mom. And probably most of us, because skinny jeans and a pea coat is like the single most popular winter outfit in the country.
According to the New York Post, police arrested a 26-year-old woman on Seventh Avenue on suspicion of prostitution because she was wearing “revealing” clothes, which included a “black pea coat, skinny jeans and platform shoes.”
The officer said the jeans were “revealing” because a person could see the outline of her legs in them.
Jeez. With that kind of logic, we’re kind of surprised he didn’t charge her with public indecency for being naked under her clothes.
“[The] characterization of the jeans as ‘revealing’ because they ‘outlined the defendant’s legs’ seems more to be expected in the dress code of a 1950s high school than a criminal-court pleading,” wrote Judge Felicia Mennin, who dismissed the case and said the outfit could not reasonably be considered circumstantial evidence of prostitution.
“Any current issue of a fashion magazine would display plenty of women similarly dressed,” Mennin said. “However, the choice of such outfit hardly demonstrates the wearer’s proclivity to engage in prostitution.”
The defendant, Felicia McGinnis, had been arrested on prostitution-related charges many times before, but in this case the main evidence against her seemed to be dressing like a JCrew model and having spoken to three people within about 20 minutes.
Mennin threw out the case, saying that was not enough to justify having arrested her.
“A pea coat is still standard issue to members of the US Navy,” she said. “And blue jeans, skin-tight or baggy, are practically an American icon.”
The idea of that outfit being used as evidence of prostitution is ridiculous, but not much more ridiculous than the fact that a woman’s choice of clothes can be considered evidence of a crime.