WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - A group of around 25 members of the U.S. Congress on both sides of the aisle arrived to Congress on Friday wearing sleeveless dresses as part of a campaign to modernize the House dress code.
Though not enforced, the long-standing code at the U.S. House of Representatives bans sleeveless tops, and requires male members to wear a 'traditional coat and tie.'
California Congresswoman Jackie Speier and her colleagues gathered on the steps of Congress, wearing sleeveless shirts and dresses, in protest against the authorities barring some female Capitol Hill journalists recently from entering the Speaker's lobby because they were wearing sleeveless dresses or open-toed shoes. The security wing says their outfits violated the rules.
During a press conference Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that a dress code in the chamber and in the Speaker's lobby 'makes sense,' and that he will work with the House sergeant-at-arms to update and modernize the dress code with some changes if needed.
Rep. Martha McSally ridiculed the dress code in a speech last week receiving the Southern Arizona Congressional First Responder Distinction Award: 'Before I yield back, I want to point out, I'm standing here in my professional attire, which happens to be a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes. With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back.'
On Thursday, Speier released a flyer via Twitter urging other female lawmakers to wear sleeveless dresses on Friday, and to take a group photo in their attire after the first vote on the steps of the Capitol Hill.
Her call received overwhelming support as her fellow lawmakers joined her not only on the steps but around the country. Many shared photos of 'Sleeveless Friday' on Twitter.
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree sent out her thoughts on the issue, concluding that 'it's 2017 and women vote, hold office, and choose their own style. Time to update House Rules to reflect the times!'
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