The Senate has officially implemented a dress code requiring members to wear business attire, including suits and ties for men. This move comes after a controversy sparked by Senator Chuck Schumer’s announcement that he would relax the decades-old dress policy, leading some senators, like John Fetterman, to attend sessions in more casual attire. The new dress code was proposed by Senators Joe Manchin III and Mitt Romney and was unanimously approved on Wednesday. The code will require a two-thirds vote to make any changes, highlighting the importance placed on formalizing the dress standards.
The decision to codify the dress code came in response to bipartisan backlash over Schumer’s decision to allow members to dress more casually. The backlash prompted Manchin and Romney to put forth the proposed changes and put an end to the clothing choice controversy that had distracted senators from other pressing matters, such as preventing a government shutdown. While not the largest issue in Washington, the new dress code has been seen as a positive step by supporters. Manchin, who initially criticized the change, worked with Fetterman to find a solution that would satisfy all members, resulting in the current dress code.
The implementation of the dress code marks a departure from the previous lack of formal rules regarding attire in the Senate. The dress code will require a two-thirds vote to be amended, demonstrating the significance of this change. Manchin, aware that there was no written rule governing senators’ attire, seized the opportunity to establish a dress code that could last for centuries. The response to the new dress code from Fetterman, who previously challenged traditional attire norms, remains unclear as he left the Capitol in a hoodie without directly addressing the rule. However, his office shared a photo of a meme featuring actor Kevin James shrugging his shoulders, suggesting a nonchalant attitude towards the dress code.