Susan Collins jokes she will wear a bikini to Congress after dress code relaxed

Though there is no official dress code rule written for the Senate, the practice of wearing business attire has been around for decades

Ariana Baio
Tuesday 19 September 2023 15:17 BST
US Senate loosening informal dress code

Several Republican senators are quite unhappy that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is taking a lax approach to Congressional dress codes – including Maine Senator Susan Collins.

Mr Schumer issued a new rule last Friday, allowing senators to wear whatever informal dress they desire to the Senate floor. It would allow Senator John Fetterman of Pennslyvania to wear his trademark hoodie and basketball shorts to the floor whenever he wants.

In response, Ms Collins mocked the rule, joking that she was planning to “wear a bikini” to Congress on Tuesday, NBC News first reported.

Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama made a similar joke, telling reporters he would wear “a coaching outfit” to the floor.

Ms Collins added: “I think there is a certain dignity that we should be maintaining in the Senate, and to do away with the dress code, to me, debases the institution.”

Though there is no written rule requiring senators to wear business attire, it has been an unspoken practice for decades.

In the past, when senators like Mr Fetterman wanted to vote on the Senate floor out of business attire, they would vote from the edge of the floor with one foot still in the cloakroom.

Although Mr Fetterman’s style is consistent, occasionally a vote will be scheduled in the middle of the day when senators are on the move either from running errands, going to the gym or travelling in and out of state.

Now, Mr Schumer’s updated rule, which took effect on Monday, will allow senators to participate fully without the need for professional attire.

The rule only applies to senators; staff members will still have to wear business attire.

Senators, including Susan Collins, dress in seersucker to mark National Seersucker Day on 8 June 2022
Senators, including Susan Collins, dress in seersucker to mark National Seersucker Day on 8 June 2022 (Getty Images)

But more than likely, most senators will remain in business casual or business attire when on the Senate floor to maintain a professional image.

Of course, Ms Collins was only joking about wearing the bikini – as she clarified to Fox News Digital on Monday.

Ms Collins told the online news site: "Obviously, I’m not going to wear a bikini. But the fact is, as I understand it, I could,”

The Independent has reached out to Ms Collins’ office for comment.

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