Paul Ryan Pledges to Modernize the Hill's Dress Code
The code has come under fire after female journalists reported being denied entrance to the Speaker's lobby for violations like open-toed shoes or sleeveless dresses.
After recent reports that female journalists have been denied entrance to the Speaker's lobby for violating the House's dress code with sleeveless dresses and blouses that bare their shoulders, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has vowed to modernize the current code to accommodate current fashions — not to mention, the summer heat.
"It came to my attention that there was an issue about dress code," said Ryan while speaking to reporters Thursday morning. He went on to defend the actions of the sergeant-at-arms, who, according to a report from CBS, refused a female journalist entrance to the Speaker's lobby due to a shoulder-baring sleeveless top; she was then turned away a second time after she attempted to cover them with sheets of her notebook paper.
"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," he said. "At the same time, that doesn't mean that enforcement couldn't stand to be a bit modernized."
He went on to state that the House will be working to ensure that the enforcement of "appropriate" and "contemporary" business attire is updated. He did not elaborate on the specifics of the update, however given recent events, sleeveless tops will likely be the starting point.
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi praised the update on Twitter: "These unwritten rules are in desperate need of updates," she wrote.
Glad to see @SpeakerRyan is updating the dress code for the House Floor. These unwritten rules are in desperate need of updates.— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) July 13, 2017
Women on both sides of the aisle — from political figures like Michelle Obama and Ivanka Trump, to journalists like Megyn Kelly and Elain Quijano — have worn sleeveless blouses and dresses while on the job. Though Obama took flak in 2009 after she posed for her official White House portrait in a sleeveless Michael Kors top, baring shoulders has been widely accepted (at least, outside the Speaker's lobby) as appropriate on the Hill.
Many male journalists were quick to point out that the House dress code was strictly enforced for men, too, though throwing on a tie or buttoning a suit jacket is arguably less of an inconvenience than returning home to fetch a closed toe pair of pumps.
Watch Ryan below: