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Montana Legislature’s new dress code ensures women won’t look like tramps while lawmaking

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Tugging down skirt (Shutterstock)

Prior to the convening of Montana’s 64th Legislative Session, the Republican leadership has issued a new dress code for legislators and floor visitors alike, banning too low necklines and too high hemlines for women.

As noted by the Cowgirl Blog, the new dress code — printed in all-caps — states the members of the legislature are required to “dress in formal business attire,” and “comport themselves in a manner that respects the legislative institution and that includes the formality of dress expected in the chamber.”

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According to the leadership, the dress code also extends to “legislative staff, members of the media, interns and aides,” if on the floor when the legislature is in session.

Describing “business formal” for men as a suit or “dress slacks, jacket, tie, and dress shirt, ” accompanied by “dress shoes or dress boots,” the rules continue on with more detailed instructions for female legislators.

For women, “a suit or dress slacks, skirt, jacket, and dress blouse or suit-like dress” are appropriate. However, “flip-flops, tennis shoes, and open-toed sandals” are not allowed.

Additionally women are warned to be “sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines.”

In mostly rural Montana, jeans — including “colored denim” — are also banned on the floor, with  legislators warning  that “fleece and jersey (sweatshirt)” are also not considered business formal.

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The list concludes by warning members that there are no “casual Fridays or Saturdays,” meaning cowboy or Hawaiian shirts will be frowned upon.


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