Costa Rica’s female judicial functionaries may not wear miniskirts, low necklines, tight blouses or strapless wear. So decided a majority of judges this week.

But, lest feminists think this is discriminatory, men may not wear earrings and visible tattoos. (Fortunately, facial tattooing is rare here.) The dress code was approved by vote Nov. 5.

The 11,000 judicial branch workers were notified by memos in late November and, for good measure, reminders will be repeated in the official publication La Gaceta.

But judicial employee Natalia Gamboa told La Nacion that she was worried that the new regulation contradicts a previous court policy to “eliminate dress codes associated with gender stereotypes.”

She considers the dress code as ambiguous and failed to see a reasonable justification linking dress and the “providing of a public service.” And she isn’t alone; when it was debated in committee, some judges objected.

But the code doesn’t stop there — hair tinting is permissible “always when they are traditional colors, not attention getting.”Denim is out, as are polo tops, T shirts and tennis shoes.

Trousers may be classic, formal and not tight. Not surprisingly, transparent wear is strictly prohibited. Men must wear long sleeves and shirts must never be untucked outside the trousers.

Men must wear ties and a belt. (Suspenders are not mentioned.) If they have a beard, it must be neatly trimmed.

Commentary: Granted, although we at this blog do not like dress codes generally, we must admit that appearing before a judge who sported, say, a mop of bright green hair might be disconcerting.

But wouldn’t it be ironic, should the code be challenged, if the Constitutional Chamber (Sala IV) threw it out as an assault on human rights?


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