Boehner Demands Appropriate Attire

Matthew Silbernagel

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner offered a pointed reprimand to his fellow Representatives on Wednesday. While not specifically stated in the reprimand itself, it can be assumed that Speaker Boehner felt some of his colleagues were dressed in an unprofessional manner while present on the House floor. The basis for such an assumption came on February 25, when Speaker Boehner interrupted house proceedings to offer the following warning,

"Members should wear appropriate attire during all sittings of the House, however brief their appearances on the floor may be."
"You know who you are."

As odd as this occurrence may seem, the Washington Post reports that House Speakers addressing House attire is nothing new. In a recent article, Philip Bump conducted a brief study on the number of times that House Speakers had pointedly addressed the clothing choices of their fellow congressional colleagues. Bump would go on to state that according to his reckoning, one could conclude that the more times a particular Congress had their attire publicly addressed, the "sloppier" that Congress was. Bump would further go on to do his readers the favor of ranking the the last eight Congresses from best dressed to worse dressed based on the aforementioned reprimand-based method.

In short, Blumb ultimately determined that based on the number of times a Congress was reprimanded by the Speaker for their choice in attire, that the 108th Congress (2003-2004) was the least "sloppy" and the 113th Congress (2013-2014) was the "sloppiest."

Now in case their is any confusion as to what exactly constitutes traditional business attire, the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers the following guidelines to its business students,

"Professional dress, for men, simply means a dark business suit, conservative dress shirt worn with a tie, and shined dress shoes. For women, professional dress means a dark skirted or pants suit, conservative dress shirt, hosiery and pumps (closed toe with a heel)."

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