The Senate unanimously passed a resolution establishing a formal dress code for members of the Upper House. Male senators will be required to wear a suit or business attire (coat, tie and dress pants) on the Senate floor. The policy does not outline how women should dress:
The term ‘‘Senate floor dress code’’ means a requirement that business attire be worn on the floor of the Senate, which for men shall include a coat, tie, and slacks or other long pants.
The resolution was approved after the controversy Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's controversial decision to relax the Senate dress code.
Criticism from both sides of the aisle
Schumer's decision to relax the dress code did not go over well with Republicans, but it also lacked the support of his own party colleagues. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Republican Mitt Romney presented a bipartisan proposal against the measure. With it, they demanded to reestablish a formal dress code for those in the Senate. Manchin said:
For 234 years, every senator who has had the honor of serving in this distinguished body has assumed that there were some basic written rules of decorum, conduct and civility, one of which was a dress code (...) We thought maybe it's time that we finally codify something that was the preceded rule for 234 years.
S. Res. 376, clarifying the dress code for the floor of the Senate, was adopted by unanimous consent.
— Senate Press Gallery (@SenatePress) September 27, 2023
After the decision, Schumer stated that "formalizing" an official dress code to attend the Senate was "the right way to go":
Though we've never had an official dress code, the events over the past week have made us all feel as though formalizing one is the right path forward (...) I deeply appreciate Senator Fetterman working with me to come to an agreement that we all find acceptable, and of course, I appreciate Senator Manchin and Senator Romney’s leadership on this issue.
Fetterman in a suit
One of the clear beneficiaries of Schumer's initial measure was Democrat John Fetterman, who had been coming to the Senate dressed in a sweatshirt and shorts since he returned from his leave of absence in May.
After the dress code vote, the senator reacted to the decision by posting a photo on his X account, formerly Twitter, of actor Kevin James shrugging his shoulders.
— Senator John Fetterman (@SenFettermanPA) September 27, 2023