“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.