Woman Lawyer Has No Win Bra

Women lawyers occasionally find themselves in situations that male lawyers never have to face.  And in this case, that includes being denied access to a client due to her choice of underwear.

Via the Miami Herald:

Attorney Brittney Horstman was not packing heat.

She was wearing an underwire bra.

And when the metal detector went off on a visit to the Miami Federal Detention Center, security guards wouldn’t let Horstman in to see her client.

The attorney reminded guards of a detention center “memo” allowing female attorneys wearing an underwire bra to enter. But the guards would not relent.

Horstman stepped into a bathroom and removed her bra. In blouse and jacket, she returned, and cleared the walk-through detector.

Again, guards refused to let her pass — now, because she was braless, which is against prison dress code guidelines.

“So, simply because I was a woman who wore a specific bra, my client was denied access to his attorney today,” Horstman e-mailed a group of fellow lawyers on June 4. “This is completely unacceptable.”

According to the article, this isn’t the first time a female lawyer has has an issue getting in to see a prisoner due to underwire — in fact, in general they had to have a protocol of codewords to address the situation. 

But more frustrating is that they also have a full dress code modified mostly for women.

But the FDC’s dress code, which stresses “appropriate attire,” has a laundry list of restrictions. Women, for example, cannot wear sweat pants, sweat shirts, sun dresses, leotards, wraparound skirts, crop tops, low cut blouses, zippered dresses/shirts, button-down dresses/skirts or low-cut dresses.

They also cannot wear “any type of garment that is see-through . . . or clothing that is tight and sexually suggestive or revealing.”

No button down or zippered shirts?  What exactly is a woman supposed to wear under her suit jacket?

Luckily, many other local lawyers have noted both the discrimination of the policy and Ms. Horstman’s dedication to her profession.

“You are a true defense attorney taking your bra off to try to see your client in jail!” Horstman’s colleague, attorney Carmen Vizcaino, said in an e-mail. “Betcha none of the guys have done that for their clients.”

(Hat Tip to Feministe)

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Albert R.
Albert R.16 days ago

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Berty Jardine
Berty Jardine2 years ago

Burn you bras ladies...or donate the to the men with moobs! )

Winn Adams
Winn Adams2 years ago


Laura Saxon
Past Member 2 years ago

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby2 years ago


Norma V.
Norma Villarreal5 years ago

A client has the right to consult their attorney. What were they going to discuss? Victoria Secret lingerie and undergarments?

Linda M.
Linda M.5 years ago

That is absurd. Women And men are expected to wear appropriate And professional attire when meeting with a client. This ruling makes no sense without a history of a problem. Underwires might worry someone about being made into weapons, but they couldn't be without causing a scene. So what are we worried about? Women's sticking out parts? I can't help it. I see men in cups showing up next. Legal situations often require extra preparation. I hope all her files are small. She's going to need to have a bra to wear and one to change into every time she goes to court. Taking evidence out of her briefcase should titillate the jury. Oh, wait. Is that allowed?

Natasha Hickey
Natasha Hickey5 years ago

wow... honestly, who cares?

.5 years ago

More proof that the US is completely out of touch with reality. Heaven help us here in the real world !

Janice P.
Janice P.5 years ago

I never had this problem, even when I went to visit a client in the state facility for the criminally insane. I can't imagine having to endure such nonsense. Quite clearly, a number of things need to change.