What Is a Jabot, and Why Do Barristers Wear Them?

#WednesdayWisdom: What Is a Jabot, and Why Do Barristers Wear Them?

Another month, another #WednesdayWisdom from our expert clerk Scott Haley, Family Practice Manager at One Pump Court. This month Scott provides Lawyer Monthly with an exciting explanation to the classic ‘jabot’ barristers wear.

The jabot is that other ‘associated accessory’ that has no proven practical purpose to court wear; although, it has been known to help catch the tomato ketchup from a breakfast bap.

The jabot, also known by its less impressive names such as a band, court bib or sometimes neck doily, is quite literally a white bib that hangs from a stiff white collar, which is worn around a barrister’s neck.

The style arose around 1640, when fashion conscious barristers swapped fancy neck ruffs for ‘falling bands’ of plain linen to conceal the collar of their shirt; known as jabots, these pieces of linen were thought to be an essential component of upper class, male fashion in the baroque period, and were originally very wide and flamboyant.

By the 1860s, they had become two simple rectangles, which are still worn by barristers today; the two rectangles are even said to represent the tablets of Moses in the Old Testament.

Today, whilst the jabot serves no real practical purpose, it is essentially worn for tradition’s sake, much like the barrister’s wig.

An example of a barrister’s classic jabot.

 

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