The U.S. Senate is known for many things: debating important bills, confirming presidential nominees and dysfunction. But what if the Senate could spice up its image, have some fun, and cultivate a more informal and welcoming atmosphere?
Amid an impending government shutdown, could the removal of the business casual dress code for the “house that never dies” aid in reaching a consensus?
Congress has exposed Americans to the adverse impacts of a government shutdown on 20 occasions, with the most recent being in February 2018. That the thought of changing the dress code never emerged on 20 separate occasions during uncertain times is shocking.
Yet, Senate Majority Leader, Charles Schumer recently changed the Senate’s business casual dress code to permit senators to wear anything they desire on the Senate floor. This certainly adds a different spin to the concept of dressing for success.
But why stop there? The unique combination of creativity and humor sets America apart, so why not fully embrace it? I would like to propose the Senate incorporate spirit or dress up days into the newly implemented casual dress policy.
Here is a short list of ideas for spirit or dress up days I think the Senate should adopt as soon as possible:
To commemorate Superhero Day, Senator Kyrsten Sinema could dress up as Mystique from the “X-Men” series, Senator Joe Manchin as Green Goblin from “Spider Man,” and Senator Schumer as Captain America. Additional points shall be awarded to senators who leverage their superpowers to break a filibuster.
In celebration of Star Wars Day, senators can wear costumes that resemble Sith Lords. May the force be with them as they try to pass the appropriations bills.
On Twin Day, senators can form pairs with their peers and dress in matching attire. This offers a promising opportunity to encourage collaboration and goodwill between opposing sides.
Pajama Day allows senators to adopt a leisurely approach to legislating by wearing cozy pajamas to work. They can bring pillows and blankets for nap time during recess.
Harry Potter Day invites senators to dress up as their favorite witches and wizards from the Harry Potter saga. They could bring wands and spells to cast on their opponents or allies. However, I think that senators dressing up as muggles would be more fitting, since they are often portrayed as silly, bewildered characters who do not know about the existence of the wizarding world. That seems accurate.
Athleisure Day permits senators to rock casual sportswear such as hoodies, cargo shorts, track suits, or yoga pants with a “Read my lips!” message sewn on the back. Why change clothes when you can do everything in one outfit?
There is another option that is worth considering, as it not only provides comfort but also promotes decorum, and that is the choir dress or choir robe. Robes could be the ultimate clothing choice on the Senate floor.
First of all, robes are rather comfortable. Sitting for hours in a lightweight robe is much more comfortable than sitting in a tight suit or a stiff dress. Wouldn’t you rather see senators dressed in loose-fitting choir robes feeling relaxed and free, yet looking professional and respectable?
Robes are also versatile. Senators can wear a robe over any type of outfit, whether it be casual or formal, or they can wear it with no clothes at all. With the ability to choose from an array of colors, fabrics, and patterns, senators could personalize robes with accessories like embroidery, sashes, or jewelry. Flag pin? No problem. Want to display state pride? Sew on a patch that signifies the state bird or flower. Senators could express their individuality and preferences through their robe adornments. The possibilities are endless.
Robes are both dignified and stylish, representing authority, respect, and tradition. Whether it’s in worship, court, or performance, religious leaders, judges, and choirs all serve a higher purpose. The U.S. Senators serve a greater purpose as well: the American people. By wearing robes, they would show that they are not just politicians, but state leaders and it might lead some to behave in a more polite and respectful manner.
Dressing down for democracy is like a sandwich: You can put anything between two slices of bread, but don’t expect everyone to like it.
Sharon Bailey resides in Niagara Falls. Email email@example.com