Senators can now sport casual attire on the Senate floor if they choose to do so thanks to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Axios reports that Schumer has directed the Senate’s Sergeant at Arms to no longer enforce the informal dress code in place for members of the Senate. The casual attire permission does not apply to staffers or visitors, who will still be required to dress in business attire.
Axios contacted senior staff members on Friday, but no one was able to find a Senate dress code written in any official policy. Apparently, the informal dress code was more of a custom than a policy that was enforced by the Sergeant at Arms.
Senator John Fetterman (D-PA), who favors sporting gym shorts and hoodie, will now be able to enter the Senate floor before, during, and after votes. Before the informal dress code was loosened by Schumer, senators could show up to vote in casual attire only from the edge of the Senate floor, with one foot still in the cloakroom while holding their thumb up or down to vote. Fetterman, and other senators, have voted this way in the past.
Schumer shared that he will still wear a suit while on the Senate floor, but explained that senators will no longer have to wear business attire.
This is not the first time dress codes in the Capitol have been questioned or adjusted. A few years ago, the standards for women were relaxed after a petition led by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) led to women being allowed to show their arms. The same rule was applied to the House. Some are even hoping that the dress code relaxation goes further, such as not requiring socks to be worn with shoes.