What Dress Code Do You Think is Appropriate? Is Sleeveless Appropriate for Capitol Hill?

A couple of weeks ago, a reporter was denied entry into the “Speaker’s Lobby” for wearing a sleeveless blouse. This is an ornate area with a stricter dress code than the rest of the Capitol. The Hill said that there has been an influx of new reporters who were not aware of the longstanding traditions surrounding this area of the building, but in their defense, the rules are a bit vague. It’s a coat and tie for men and “appropriate” dress for women.

One part of a dress code that people don’t quite understand is that a clear dress code puts everyone on an equal playing field. As The Hill pointed out, there were lots of new reporters who didn’t know what was and what was inappropriate, and since there was no clearly written dress code, the new reporters, apparently, guessed wrong. What could have been explained with a simple, clearly stated dress code, was handed down in tradition.

If you choose to go against the tradition, you often receive consequences. In most of the world, it means people silently judge you. In the Speaker’s Lobby, it means you get kicked out. Even if you want people to not judge you for your clothing choice, they do judge you for your clothing choice. That’s the reality we deal with.

To keep reading, click here: What Dress Code Do You Think is Appropriate? Is Sleeveless Appropriate for Capitol Hill?

Related Posts

13 thoughts on “What Dress Code Do You Think is Appropriate? Is Sleeveless Appropriate for Capitol Hill?

  1. I’m grossed out by the comment that women should look feminine. By all means go formal if if it makes sense for your work – but insisting on “feminine” dress IS sexist. If they want to wear a suit and tie, they absolutely need to be allowed and encouraged to do so.

  2. Wouldn’t it be great if every workplace had one rule to cover men and women? Many places with uniforms use the same one for both sexes. What if women had to wear suit-and-tie in offices that require that of men, or could wear jeans and tees where they were considered suitable workplace gear for the fellows? It would be great to ditch the dresses in the office altogether and let women use them optionally as after hours wear. Women shouldn’t be forced to take the role of office ornaments as they often were in the past.

    1. Are you arguing that woman shouldn’t be allowed to wear dresses in the office?

      Because I like dresses.

      1. I read that more as women shouldn’t be *expected* to wear dresses. Unless men are under the same circumstances, as well. Some women like to wear dresses. Some do not. The same is true of men. If we have one standard for everyone, then both men and women would have the same expectation and options imposed on them.

    2. If you want one rule to cover men and women (do you mean biological men and women or are you including trans-sexual?), simple:
      clothing optional

      Anything else someone is going to complain about it being sexist. I’ve never looked at women in dresses in the office as being ornaments, I’ve always looked upon them as coworkers.

    3. In my part of the world it is 100% normal for women to wear business suits (whether with trousers or skirts) and shirts to work. To me, a dress and heels looks considerably less professional than a suit and leather brogues.

  3. As noted in the article, the dress code was not clearly communicated. In fact, after the hapless reporter was singled out and expelled, photos were released of female reporters going sleeveless in the Speaker’s Lobby a month earlier, without being sanctioned. If the decision was made to clamp down on the dress code, it should have been done by issuing a notice that — henceforth — sleeveless attire would no longer be allowed, rather than by making an example of a lone woman. Following this debacle, female member of Congress and Senators assembled in the same area wearing professional, sleeveless, attire, and Paul Ryan announced that the dress code would be review for possible revision.

  4. I can say that in the most formal workplace near me (HOT in summer) de rigeur for men seems to be suits and for women seems to be either suits or sundresses. In that workplace I would definitely wear a suit, or if I had enough clout something colorful and still tailored. A sundress just wouldn’t seem formal enough. (And keep arctic air conditioning in mind!)

    I bet that female US Representatives wear things that are colorful and tailored, sleeveless if they feel like it.

  5. Our dress code also states no sleeveless shirts/tops. We consider it gender-neutral – it applies to men and women equally – thank goodness!

  6. Dress codes are implemented to eliminate bad behavior in the workplace. Our society is lax when it comes to what one wears in public. what one wears to the market mirrors what one wears to a funeral. In an executive professional environment sleeveless should be taboo for men and women.

  7. I like you blog roll but a lot of the links are outdated or no longer working.

  8. Capitol hill is a formal place. So it is understandable that a reporter was barred fro entering. My wife recently bought formal shirts at Tukked Shirts for work because it was requirement of her organization.

Comments are closed.

Are you looking for a new HR job? Or are you trying to hire a new HR person? Either way, hop on over to Evil HR Jobs, and you'll find what you're looking for.