Speed Reads

say yes to the dress?

Paul Ryan is modernizing the House chamber's dress code

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced Thursday that he will be modernizing the dress code rules for the House chamber and Speaker's Lobby after the issue flared to the surface when a female reporter was recently blocked from entering the chamber due to her sleeveless dress, the Washington Examiner reports. "Forced to improvise, she ripped out pages from her notebook and stuffed them into her dress' shoulder openings to create sleeves," witnesses told CBS News. "An officer who's tasked with enforcing rules in the Speaker's Lobby said her creative concoction still was not acceptable."

Even in the sweltering heat of Washington, D.C. — the high at the capital is 96 degrees today — women are required to have covered shoulders and forgo sleeveless blouses or dresses, open-toed shoes, or sneakers. Men are required to wear suit jackets and ties. The dress code is a thorny topic, with some calling it antiquated and sexist while others, including women, have defended it as a baseline of professionalism.

"A dress code in the chamber and Speaker's Lobby makes sense," Ryan said. "But that doesn't mean that we need to bar otherwise acceptable business attire."