The United States House of Representatives made headlines for barring several people from entering the Speaker’s Lobby as they were wearing clothes considered “inappropriate” for parliamentary practice, CBS reported on Thursday. Several of those who were shown the door criticised the move particularly as the temperature in Washington DC is on the rise with the onset of summer.
They also said the rules on the matter were vague and unwritten, even on the Capitol website which merely asks visitors to “dress appropriately”. The dress code forced Haley Byrd, a staffer at Independent Journal Review website, to tear pages from her notebook and fashioned them into sleeves to avoid being asked to leave. Officials, however, still found her attire unacceptable.
While the rules are unwritten, reporters visiting the US House’s lobby said women were told not to wear sleeveless blouses or dresses, trainers or open-toed shoes in the chamber or the Speaker’s Lobby near it. Men were told to wear suit jackets and ties on the premises, Independent reported. “Members should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House however brief their appearance on the floor may be,” House Speaker Paul Ryan had announced recently.