There are dozens and dozens of offences you can be charged with under Australian Criminal Code.

However, as far as I can tell using Google and a total dearth of legal knowledge, wearing shorts, even very, very short, frayed ones that show your bottom, does not constitute any sort of legal breach.

Yet, a Sydney magistrate has taken it upon herself to criticise a female defendant's outfit.

Yesterday, the St George Shire Standard reported, Barbara Diana Vasconcello Cardenas, 37, appeared before Magistrate Jayeann Carney in Sutherland Local Court yesterday on drink-driving charges.

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Vasconcello Cardenas, a Chilean national, arrived to face the music in a yellow T-shirt, white trainers and frayed jean shorts, an outfit which the magistrate clearly did not think was the sartorial equivalent of the fire emoji.

Barbara Diana Vasconcello Cardenas attended court on Wednesday. Photo / News Corp Australia
Barbara Diana Vasconcello Cardenas attended court on Wednesday. Photo / News Corp Australia

"It is completely inappropriate to wear cut off denim shorts up to your thighs in court," Carney lectured Vasconcello Cardenas via a Spanish interpreter. (No word on whether this ensemble would have been deemed acceptable if the shorts in question were knee-length.)

"I'm very tolerant to all types of attire but this is beach attire, what you're wearing."

Carney then inquired whether Cardenas had a jumper to hand to tie around her waist - a totally sensible inquiry given it was pushing 30 degrees on Wednesday.

Despite Vasconcello Cardenas not having a hoodie or cardie, somehow the wheels of justice managed to keep turning. She pleaded guilty, was fined $400 and has been disqualified from driving for three months.

But let's just take a moment here to call bulls**t. This is slut shaming, plain and simple.

Firstly, men routinely roll up to court wearing a hideous assortment of shorts, thongs and their best polyester tracksuits and yet their clothing choices rarely attract the ire of presiding judges.

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The fact that they had been dealing drugs, robbing banks or driving drunk is usually seen as more important.

Ms Cardenas was given a dressing down by the magistrate. Photo / News Corp Australia
Ms Cardenas was given a dressing down by the magistrate. Photo / News Corp Australia

Secondly, let's talk about the strange, stubborn notion that what a woman wears bears some correlation to "respect" and "appropriateness".

Exhibit A: When Serena Williams was told by the powers that be at the French Open that her custom-made black catsuit (which she had to help prevent life-threatening blood clots) did not show "respect the game and the place".

Exhibit B: Tennis player Alize Cornet being given a code violation for her "disrespectful" act of very, very briefly taking off her T-shirt which was the wrong way around.

Serena Williams was told her French Open catsuit was disrespectful. Photo / Getty Images
Serena Williams was told her French Open catsuit was disrespectful. Photo / Getty Images

Exhibit C: When Meghan Markle wore a dress with a thigh-high split during her tour of Australia and a number of people took to the royal Instagram account to call her outfit "disrespectful".

ENOUGH.

When women put their own taste ahead of the sensibilities of others, it is viewed as transgressive and "disrespectful" because we are expected to prioritise the feelings of others, all the time, no matter what.

Screw that.

Apparently even royalty can be guilty of disrespectful dressing. Photo / Getty Images
Apparently even royalty can be guilty of disrespectful dressing. Photo / Getty Images

Women don't get up and think about whether their pants are sending the right signals in regards to whatever patriarchal power structures they might encounter when they leave the house. We are just thinking about what makes we feel good (or what we can wear during a sweltering, record-breaking heatwave).

Female clothing is not about sending visual cues about our compliance to societal norms. It's about putting stuff on that brings us joy — or is the last clean thing in the cupboard.

At least until someone puts crimes against fashion in the criminal code. Now that is a whole other story.