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“Fetterman Sloppy” the new Senate fashion standard

“Fetterman Sloppy” the new Senate fashion standard

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has just abolished the Senate’s longstanding dress code.  Senators may now dress as they please.  That means ripped t-shirts and cutoff jeans are now acceptable.  Butt bearing miniskirts and see-through halters for the women.  How about speedos? That may seem a bit extreme, but according to the new rule – or lack thereof – the most extreme fashions are permissible.  There is no minimum dress requirement.

So, what would provoke Schumer to take this action at this time?  The most obvious explanation is Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman.  He is the giant guy (6’9”) who mostly dresses like a person grilling hot dogs in his back yard.  His iconic look is Bermuda shorts and a hoodie.  The Capitol Hill janitors dress better and more appropriately than Fetterman.

Fetterman is not a stupid person.  He holds a public policy degree from Harvard.  He has been the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and even the state’s lieutenant governor.  How he got that far without dressing for success is a question left to the Keystone State’s voters.

If you have read this far, you probably can tell that I believe that there is a concept of proper attire in various situations.  Based on Schumer’s order, one might assume that the casual look in the workplace that began in California in the 1960s has now descended to a new low.

Clothes do matter.  They are an expression of respect that earns respect.  Fetterman may think it is cool to run around the Senate floor looking like a San Francisco homeless person, but it shows contempt for the institution and the American people who need to respect and trust the work of the Senate.

Since Fetterman has made it clear that he has no interest in adhering to any dress code, perhaps Schumer thought it better to abolish code rather than face the necessity of censuring Fetterman.

Even with the change in the rule, many senators have indicated that they will continue to arrive at work in a suit and tie – and comparable business attire for the women.  Those who have offered public statements on the subject appear to be opposed to Schumer’s decision.

Regardless of their personal decisions at this moment, you can rest assured that casual attire will start to spread.  Perhaps someday in the future, we will see the first nudist Senator expressing himself or herself.

It is all about appropriateness.  Proper attire is like pornography.  Hard to define, but you know it when you see it.  At a picnic, the Fetterman look would be fine.  On the floor of the Senate, he looks like a slob.

My view is not partisan. I have previously written that Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan should put on suit coat when he is on the floor of the House or appears on television.  He even chairs the House Judiciary Committee in shirt and tie – contrary to every other representative on the Committee.  He is not a coach now.

The question of congressional attire pops up now and then.  New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug created a tempest in a teapot when she insisted on wearing her iconic wide-brimmed hat on the floor in violation of the rule of the times.

I find it odd that a leftwinger – self-proclaimed defender of the working class – as Schumer would change the rule only for the Brahmins of the Senate and not the staff.  Unless Schumer issues another order, they are still obligated to dress … appropriately.

Public respect for Congress is already at an all-time low.  Abandoning the dress code will not improve things.  And thanks to Schumer, the photo atop this  commentary is the new look of the United States Senate.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank stetson

    I agree, this is bullshit. It was bullshit in the office, it is bullshit in the Congress. And it’s hypocritical to say Senators one way, Staff another. It’s a bad idea, implemented badly. And who the *##((# is Schumer to do this without committee, without a vote? Who is he responding to? Certainly not the people. Fetterman should have some style and stand up for some level of professional code.

    What’s next, nike logo’s for branding-kickbacks?

    • Dan tyree

      He’s a democrat. He’s not capable of doing anything right

    • Larry horist

      Frank Stetson … I can think of no time that you have ever given one of my commentaries full-throated agreement. I can only assume you are trying to shock me to death.

      • frank stetson

        Mr Horist: Please get over yourself. I have agreed with you numerous times, and in part, thousands of times. I have even changed my opinion a few times based on your input, when you lower yourself to actually provide facts, sources, and support. Usually when I do that, you slam me with name calling personal attacks anyway. If I was playing games, you would be gamed and you would know it.

        Tis that you seem to feel adversarial; I do get passionate upon occasion, rant a bit sometimes, but mostly disagree on the facts, which I most often source. Sure, you are right of center I am left of center, but that does not change the facts, just our spin.

        This one is mostly opinion based, but if Fetterman is the example, Schumer is an idiot on many levels: style, process, and even fairness. Style = see Fetterman. Process – no committee, no vote? Unfair given staff must be suited. I can see forgetting the suits, but no guidelines on dress code? Schumer can see Fetterman, Greene, and others crossing the line rapidly.

        I used to hate “cas fridays” without guidelines knowing it starts with the dockers and ends with holey faded blue jeans (which I love fy). Reminds me of elementary school substitutes lowering the hammer saying: “i tried to be your friend, i tried to treat you like adults, now you will do what I say……” Well, you should have set guidelines to begin with bitch….. sorry, I digress re repressed memories :>)

        I hope he walks this back at least to a real dress code and not a pirate’s “not rules, guidelines mates.”

  2. Elizabeth Crouse

    PA should be ashame. He was never qualified

    • frank stetson

      Why grouse, Crouse? How can you say he’s not qualified? He’s more qualified than Marjorie Taylor Green, or Tommy Tuberhead, Comer or even Jordan. Why?

      – bit of a silver spoon if that can happen in York. His parents are Republicans.
      – MBA UofC, MMP Harvard
      – party boy footballer with change of life friend’s death in college turned him to Big Brothers, then Americorps. That’s what turned him to getting his MPP — master of public policy — at Harvard
      – mayor of Braddock PA
      – PA lieutenant governor

      Like him or not, he is a son of Pennsylvania, and not that Philli crowd, but York and Braddock. He’s got the degrees and experience to do the job. PA should be proud to elect one of their own, a son of Republicans, one who worked his way via schooling, volunteering, and working jobs to prepare him. And he’s a bit of a rebel, a rascal, with human issues just like the rest of us. Except for the clothes, I am pretty sure he’s got the stuff, although perhaps the House would have been a better spot, time with tell.

      So Crouse, what have you got beyond opinion?

      • Dan tyree

        The thing is that Elizabeth is right

  3. Darren

    With all of Fetterman’s accolades, He is not CORRECT for the job.
    So with all that is said about his Smarts, would you choose to be in a Space Craft, a life and death position with him counting on his abilities
    because he is so smart?
    I think not.
    So lets send him to Congress!

  4. Mike f

    Lots of comments here about Fetterman, but not so many about the subject of the post. Unlike Frank, I am not going to agree with you Larry. I think it is far more important what our legislators get done while in office than what they wear to the office. The Senate, under Schumers leadership, is getting things done. The same cannot be said about McCarthy and his team of misfits (but didn’t marge look nice in that faux fur coat at the state of the Union?). As for Fetterman-he definitely was not unqualified having served as Lt Gov prior to his election as senator. The same could not be said of his opponent who decided one day he would like to be a senator (with zero public governance experience) and hoped the people of PA wouldn’t notice he didn’t really live in their state (oh, but he had Trump’s support, and we all know that’s what’s really required to win???)

  5. donaldwt

    Fetterman is an excellent representative for the democrat party!