Dress Codes Are Necessary

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama

By Cheryl Mattox Berry

A dress code has been on the books for women and men working on Capitol Hill since forever, but now women who want to bare their shoulders are making a big deal out of it.

Last week, a TV reporter was barred from the Speaker’s lobby, which is a room outside the House chamber, for wearing a sleeveless dress in violation of the dress code. Other female journalists have been turned away for the same infraction.

I don’t see a problem with the dress code. Without it, who knows what women and men will turn up wearing in the halls on Congress. If you’re going to conduct business, it’s not too much to ask that you dress like a professional.

I think public schools, colleges, government offices and especially TV stations should adopt and enforce a dress code.

Since the day former first lady Michelle Obama appeared baring her shoulders, reporters everywhere have followed this trend. Some TV anchors have taken the style to an extreme by wearing tops and dresses with tiny straps that belong in a club not on a newscast.

I’m sick of seeing women on TV wearing sleeveless dresses that are too tight, cut too low and too short. Often, they don’t have the body type for such outfits. They look like sex symbols instead of journalists.

When I was a TV reporter in the late 1970s, we were told not to wear clothes and jewelry that would distract from telling the story. Nowadays, it appears that some women wear outfits to call attention to their bodies. I’ve often wondered if the skimpy attire is a ratings gimmick designed to attract more male viewers.

It’s sad that you have to tell grown men and women how to dress, but some didn’t learn when they were young that there are clothes for school, social activities, church and work.

I’m not advocating that women wear burkas. I simply want them to be more modest and look professional.

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