Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has axed the dress code that requires legislators to wear professional attire on the Senate floor months after Sen. John Fetterman was slammed for wearing a hoodie.
Schumer (D-NY) quietly directed the Senate's Sergeant at Arms to stop enforcing the dress code that mandates male senators wear a jacket and tie and female senators a dress or other businesswear on the floor, Axios reported Sunday.
The change in policy comes after Fetterman (D-PA) was bashed by conservatives for donning a hoodie, gym shorts and sneakers to the chamber. Many called his casual fashion choices disrespectful.
"John Fetterman's attire in the Senate perfectly summarizes Democrats lack of respect for Americans and our institutions," tweeted conservative comedian Tim Young.
The 6-foot-8-inch tall Democrat often swapped a suit and tie for the informal duds when he returned to Washington following a six-week stint at Walter Reed National Medical Center, where he was treated for clinical depression.
"He's setting a new dress code," Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) joked to the Associated Press in May. "He was struggling. And now he's a joyful person to be around."
Fetterman, who infamously hates suits, previously got around the dress code rule by voting from the doorway of the Democratic cloakroom or the side entrance to the Senate floor, rather than the floor itself.
But Schumer's new directive shows times are changing.
"Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor," he told Axios in a statement. "I will continue to wear a suit."
The policy change goes into effect this week, according to the outlet, which cited a Senate official. However, it only applies to senators and not staff members, who will still be required to wear professional work-appropriate clothes.
The Senate dress code was amended once before to ease up on restrictions for female senators, according to the outlet. About five years ago, the legislative body opted to allow women to show their arms by wearing sleeveless dresses or shirts.
Senate Drops Dress Code Requirement After Criticism of Fetterman's Hoodies: Schumer
In a surprising move, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has decided to eliminate the dress code requirement for senators on the Senate floor. The decision to abandon the rule, which mandated male senators to wear a jacket and tie and female senators to wear dresses or other business attire, comes several months after Senator John Fetterman faced criticism for wearing a hoodie on the Senate floor. Schumer reportedly instructed the Senate's Sergeant at Arms to stop enforcing the dress code, marking a significant shift in the Senate's approach to attire.
Conservatives were quick to condemn Fetterman's casual fashion choices, with some accusing him and the Democrats of disrespecting American institutions. ..... Fetterman, who stands at an imposing height of 6 feet 8 inches, often opted for more informal clothing, such as hoodies, gym shorts, and sneakers, instead of the traditional suit and tie. His decision to dress down was attributed to his struggle with clinical depression, for which he sought treatment at Walter Reed National Medical Center.
..... However, Schumer's recent directive indicates a shift in the Senate's approach to attire. When asked about the change, Senator Peter Welch jokingly remarked, "He's setting a new dress code. .....
Schumer confirmed the policy change, stating, "Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. ..... The new directive is set to take effect this week, according to Senate officials cited by Axios. .....
This move by Schumer marks the second amendment to the Senate dress code in recent years. Approximately five years ago, the dress code was modified to allow female senators to wear sleeveless dresses or shirts, permitting them to show their arms. However, the new change represents a broader shift in the Senate's approach to attire, allowing senators greater flexibility in their wardrobe choices.
While the decision has garnered mixed reactions, with some praising the move as a step towards inclusivity and individual expression, others worry that it may detract from the seriousness and professionalism of the Senate. Nevertheless, Schumer's decision reflects a changing landscape in the political sphere, where traditional norms are being reassessed and challenged. As the dress code exemption takes effect, the Senate floor may see a more diverse range of fashion choices among its members.
Senate to no longer enforce dress code for senators
'I will continue to wear a suit,' Sen Chuck Schumer says of the change.The U.S. Senate will no longer enforce a dress code for members of the upper house elected by those they serve.
"However, others entering the chamber must comply with the dress code. Coats/ties for men. Business attire for women," tweeted Chad Pergram, Fox News senior congressional correspondent.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., quietly sent the directive to the Senate's sergeant at arms, news website Axios reported.
The change allows Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., to continue to wear his trademark hooded sweatshirts and gym shorts while working for Americans.
Fetterman was previously praised for "turning heads" and "redefining fashion in the stuffy Senate" during his recovery after a six-week stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was treated for "clinical depression" and "fitted for hearing aids for hearing loss that had made it harder for him to communicate," according to an AP story from May.
The senator even found a workaround to the legislative body's dress code rules by voting from the doorway of the Democrat cloakroom or the side entrance, making sure his vote is recorded before ducking out, per the AP report.
..... Peter Welch joked to AP in May. .....
Fetterman faced some backlash against his casual dress code, even from his own staff, according to AP, who "had originally asked him to always wear suits, which he famously hates."
..... The news website added that Senate officials said the updated rule will go into effect this week.
Fox News' Jeffrey Clark andPatrick Hauf contributed to this report.
Fetterman says right 'losing their minds' over dress code as Republicans blast him for dressing 'like a slob'
Is a hoodie and gym shorts appropriate for the Senate?WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. John Fetterman praised the pause on the Senate's dress code for members, but some Republicans criticized the move, with one calling it an “embarrassment” to the American people.
"I feel it's a little more freedom, which should be bipartisanship," Fetterman, a Pennsylvania Democrat known for his relaxed attire, told Fox News. "I don't know why the right side seems to be losing their minds over it."
"I think it's a good thing, but I'm going to use it sparingly," he added while wearing a short-sleeve button down. "I hope other colleagues take advantage of it too."
But Sen. Cynthia Lummis disagreed.
"This is a terribly sad development for the U.S. Senate," the Wyoming Republican said. "I've never seen civility enhanced or a sense of decorum enhanced by dressing like a slob."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer directed the Sergeant-at-Arms to stop enforcing a dress code for its members, Fox News confirmed Sunday. The move follows the debate about whether Fetterman's leisurely attire is appropriate for a member of the upper chamber.
"When you dress like that around here, which is the very sloppiest that a person would dress even if they're going to a gym by themselves ??¦ the bar is lowered," Lummis said about Fetterman's attire. "The Senate is degraded. It's debased. It should not be typical of how we dress when we go to the floor of the United States Senate."
The change allows Fetterman to continue wearing his trademark hooded sweatshirts and gym shorts and no longer requires male senators to wear a jacket and tie on the Senate floor. Women senators don't have to wear business attire, but all non-members entering the upper chamber still must adhere to the dress code.
But even before the directive, Fetterman worked around the dress code by voting from the doorway of the Democratic cloakroom or the side entrance, the Associated Press reported in May.
"This is an embarrassment," Sen. Roger Marshall said. "The people of Kansas don't want me showing up in a hoodie. Out of respect, we should have some sense of decorum here."
The Kansas Republican told Fox News he will continue to follow the Senate dress code.
"The Senate is a very important institution that people look up to," he said. "I'm here representing the people of Kansas, and to honor them, I feel like I should have a certain level of apparel."
The Senate's dress code appears to be more of an informal custom enforced by the Sergeant at Arms rather than an official policy, Axios reported.
"I'm actually going to go the other direction. I'm gonna ramp it up," Lummis said. "I'm gonna dress more formally."
To watch the full interviews with senators, click here.
Ramiro Vargas contributed to the accompanying video.