Amber Heard.
Amber Heard.AP
  • Johnny Depp has taken Amber Heard to trial, claiming she smeared his name with abuse allegations.
  • Over the past week, Heard has put on a show of strength with more masculine, suited courtroom looks.
  • Experts decoded the message Heard is sending with her outfits, and how it will impact her case.

On May 27, 2016, one of Hollywood’s most famous couples, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, broke up in dramatic fashion. Heard, dressed in a simple black-belted dress, showed up in court with a marked face, petitioning a judge for a restraining order against her then-husband.

Nearly six years later, Heard is back in court, this time to defend herself against allegations she lied about being abused by Depp and, in turn, ruined his reputation and career.

The image Heard has conveyed in the last week of testimony is quite different from the conservative black dress she wore when she first made abuse allegations against Depp in 2016. Instead, she has worn a series of suited looks that experts say convey a sense of power and authority.

Experts spoke to Insider about the significance they see in Heard’s courtroom looks and whether this image will help or harm her case.

Amber Heard bruised face
Heard was seen with what appeared to be a bruise on her face when she appeared in court in May 2016 to get a restraining order against Depp.Richard Vogel/AP

A show of strength

Dr. Jill Huntley Taylor, a jury expert, says she isn’t sure that Heard’s power suits will help convince the jury that she is the real victim here.

“Right or wrong, how a player in the case appears in court does play a role in how the jury perceives them. She made a conscious decision — this is what I’m going to put on today and project to the jury.

“To me, she’s presenting herself as a powerful woman. Powerful women can be abused but that’s not the general narrative. I don’t think it’s to her advantage to be dressed this way,” Taylor said.

Fashion psychologist Dr. Dawnn Karen was also struck by Heard’s more masculine outfits, and depending on which way the case goes, believes they could set a “fashion precedent” for how women dress for court going forward.

Amber Heard
Heard speaks with a member of her legal team in court on April 14, 2022.SHAWN THEW/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Karen drew a comparison to the trial of “SoHo Grifter” Anna Sorokin, who appeared to play up her youthfulness with babydoll dresses and choker necklaces.

Karen said she thinks Heard’s courtroom attire has been just as “intentional,” but could signify a shift in the culture that allows women to project a strong appearance and still have their voices heard.

“I think wearing clothes that appear more gender-neutral or more masculine … is totally antithetical to what’s normally done. Now, with the #MeToo Movement, women are getting justice. I don’t think they need to play up victimhood. I think they can play up, ‘Hey, I’m a badass, I’m a powerhouse all on my own.’ So I think the gender-neutral form of dressing shows that,” Karen said.

Color symbolism

Karen also found some symbolism in Depp’s looks. She said she was most struck by the white tie he wore during opening statements last week.

“White signifies innocence. I just found it very particular right at the neck, obviously you’re telling your truth,” Karen said.

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp attends opening statements in his defamation case against Amber Heard on April 12, 2022.Brendan Smialowski/Pool via REUTERS

Diane Craig, a corporate coach who has helped clients with image consulting, thinks Heard’s looks are helping her win credibility with the jury.

Craig believes that the suits work as a counterbalance to the more artistic image Heard would normally give off as an actress.

“The suit says that her thoughts are more organized and that helps to add to her credibility,” Craig said. “When you wear a jacket, it adds a lot of power to your appearance because of the structure of it, the corporate aspect of it. Actors, because they are creative people, we know that creative people under stress can become quite chaotic and she’s under a lot of stress right now. She wants to project this image of credibility and composure.”

Playing the part

Sandra Okerulu, who worked for a decade as a celebrity stylist, agreed that Heard’s looks project a woman who is in a “strong emotional state.”

Okerulu said Heard looks like she “means business” and she wants to be “seen and heard.”

On the flip side, Craig said she feels that Depp is presenting a “softer” appearance by keeping his longer hair.

johnny depp
Actor Johnny Depp appears in court during his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Court on April 14, 2022.Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS

“The hair is not sleek, it’s freer, it’s softer, it’s not as harsh. Sometimes his appearance is quite dramatic and right now it’s much, much softer,” Craig said.

Craig said she believes Depp and Heard know exactly what they’re doing with their looks, saying the courtroom is “a different kind of stage” for the actors.

“They know how to adapt to different stages and they’re playing a role,” she said.

Read the original article on Insider

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