In the wake of a controversy over female journalists being removed from the Speaker’s lobby for wearing sleeveless dresses, shoulder-showing blouses, or even open-toed shoes, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has announced that the House will update their dress code to be more in line with “contemporary” business attire.
“It came to my attention that there was an issue about dress code,” Ryan told reporters on Thursday. “The sergeant-at-arms was simply enforcing the same interpretation of rules as under my predecessors. This is nothing new and certainly not something that I devised. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that enforcement couldn’t stand to be a bit modernized.”
“Decorum is important, especially for this institution,” added Ryan. “But we also don’t need to bar otherwise accepted contemporary business attire. So look for a change on that soon.” Watch his remarks, which begin at the 1:43 mark, below.
News of the move was greeted approvingly by women lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Prior to Ryan’s announcement, Democratic Representative Jackie Speier had been pushing colleagues to wear sleeveless dress for a “Sleeveless Friday” protest on July 14. Republican Representative Martha McSally also drew attention to the dress code on Wednesday, noting that the “professional attire” she was wearing that day included “a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes.”
Even Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a major Ryan critic, took to Twitter to praise his decision, noting that the “unwritten rules” of the House dress code were “in desperate need of updates.” While details of how the dress code will change remain to be released, it is safe to assume that sleeveless tops will no longer be deemed inappropriate.