New Clothes for the Congresswoman

Posted on July 18th, 2017

Big news out of Congress, and I’m definitely not talking about anything that will actually impact the lives of millions of Americans.  Paul Ryan has moved to modernize Congressional dress code, allowing for such newfangled concepts as open toed shoes and sleeveless ensembles in the Speaker’s Lobby.  This is somewhat controversial, as some insist that a certain level of professional decorum must be upheld, while others argue the regulations are sexist.  Nevertheless, it may be a myth that Washington DC is built on an actual swamp, but the mugginess of summer in the District is not to be underestimated, so I’m sure these would be welcome changes for politically involved women sweating through their pantsuits.


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I’m not sure how many Congresswomen read A Cultured Pearl (I’m estimating somewhere between -5 and 0), but nevertheless, this post is for all of those women on the Hill– elected officials, staffers, and journalists alike– embracing new fashion freedoms.  I’m under no pretense that Congressional attire will dissolve to off the realm of the casual, and most of these options can still skew quite conservative when layering a blouse and classic pumps.



1: Hydrangea blue // 2: Violet sheath // 3: Gingham

4: Laser cut (on sale!) // 5: Classic LBD // 6: Mixed media (#Nsale!)

7: Lace pattern (on sale!) // 8: Statement bow // 9: Jumpsuit


Personally, I would be automatically inclined to cast a vote for anyone who looks fierce in that black jumpsuit.  With pretty much any of these, it’s a “just add pearls and pumps” styling situation.  When it comes to exploring footwear, comfort is paramount.  Filibuster-friendly open-toe options include bow-toe pumps, peep toe wedges, or a low-heeled sandal in leather or suede.


For further inspiration on stylish yet conservative office attire, I recommend Mary Orton of Memorandum (pictured above) and whatever Claire Underwood wears on House of Cards.


Shed your shawls, cast aside your cardigans, bid your blazers adieu.  The ladies of Congress are stepping out.