Senate establishes official dress code days after ditching it

Senate establishes official dress code days after ditching it


Washington — Days after relaxing its unofficial dress code, the Senate passed a resolution requiring business attire when senators are on the floor of the chamber. 

The change follows a recent decision by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat of New York, to stop enforcing the unofficial requirement and allow members to wear casual attire on the Senate floor. But Schumer noted he would continue to wear a suit. 

The decision prompted swift backlash, especially toward Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, who typically wears a hoodie and gym shorts to work. 

Sen. John Fetterman
Sen. John Fetterman arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 21, 2023. 

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

On Wednesday, the Senate adopted the formal dress code by unanimous consent, requiring a coat, tie and slacks, or long pants for men. It does not include any specific requirements for women. 

“Though we’ve never had a formal dress code, the events over the past week have made us all feel as though formalizing [a dress code] is the right path forward. I deeply appreciate Sen. Fetterman working with me to come to an agreement that we all find acceptable,” Schumer said Wednesday. 

The resolution was introduced by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. 

“For 234 years, every senator who has had the honor of serving in this distinguished body has assumed that there was some basic written rules of decorum, conduct and civility, one of which was a dress code,” Manchin said. “We thought maybe it’s time we finally codify something that was precedented rule for 234 years.” 

After the vote, Fetterman released a statement that included no words, only a photograph of actor Kevin James smirking. 

— Alan He contributed reporting. 



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