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A Fashion Ruling on King Case

April 04, 1993

How would attorneys and image consultants dress those accused of beating Rodney King? What about the defendants in the Reginald Denny case?

* Jane Murdoch Miller, a Virginia-based consultant, would dress the officers in pale colors, with little contrast between the suit and the shirt. "Pastel colors are associated with softness and gentleness," she says. "When you see a black shirt and white tie, what do you think? Gangster."

* Kathryn Welds, a psychologist and former consultant with the Los Angeles Police Department, says: "It would behoove the officers to look as mainstream as possible--neat and well-groomed but not on the cutting edge of fashion."

* Attorney Gloria Allred observes that the officers' clothing selection seemed to get the desired results in the first trial. "They had a winning combination before in the state court trial, and you don't mess with success," she says. "They should wear the same clothes and the same haircuts they wore last year."

In the Simi Valley trial last year, Stacey C. Koon, Theodore J. Briseno and Lawrence M. Powell wore mostly dark suits and white shirts, while Timothy E. Wind frequently appeared in tan and light gray suits. All men have stuck with the formula this year.

* Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., attorney for Reginald Denny, tells his clients to dress nicely but not too flashily. He once had to send a client home to change clothes after he showed up in a tuxedo. He says Denny, who will testify at the trial, will be dressed in a conservative suit and tie.

* Earl C. Broady, attorney for Henry K. Watson, one of the three men accused in the Denny beating, says Watson, 29, will be dressed in nice, casual clothes, not a suit. "They're youngsters--they shouldn't wear suits," he says.

He says his rule of thumb is not to outdress the lawyers or the jurors. "I tell them to dress as if going to school."

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