Are sleeveless dresses ‘appropriate attire?’ Congress doesn’t think so

WASHINGTON (WATE) – The House of Representatives has a dress code barring sleeveless tops for women.

In late June, Speaker for the House Paul Ryan reminded House members to “wear appropriate business attire,” on the floor in order to promote “proper decorum.” However, the vagueness of what actually constitutes as “appropriate” has lead to a lot of confusion.

According to The Hill, House chamber guards generally do not enforce dress code rules for lawmakers. The newspaper reports, members frequently wear jeans on the House floor, especially on days they rush to or from the airport. They said two House members have even been spotted in gym clothes.

Emily Goodin, the managing editor of RealClearPolitics, tweeted that she was asked to leave the Speaker’s Lobby for wearing a sleeveless dress as a female lawmaker in a similar dress walked on the House floor.

The dress code rules are not enforced on the Senate side of the Capitol building. Some members of Congress said women shouldn’t wear strapless dresses or open-toed shoes, and men should wear suit jackets with ties. The ban also includes sneakers.

Others argue the rule is archaic as sleeveless dresses become more socially acceptable. Even first daughter Ivanka Trump wore a sleeveless dress to President Trump’s speech in February in the House.

A young female reporter reportedly ripped pages from her notebook and stuffed them into her dress shoulder openings to create sleeves when she was stopped outside of the House chamber. Katie McManus, a reporter and editor for CQ Morning Briefing, says the rules aren’t new, but are a challenge for female reporters working in the summer.

Kate Nocera, DC Bureau Chief for Buzz Feed News, said the dress code isn’t just for women. Jacob Fischler was apparently forced to wear a “tie of shame” when he forgot his tie at home.

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