Awesomely Bad Fashion Trends on Capitol Hill

PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol building stands in Washington, D.C., U.S., on April 5, 2011.Bloomberg/Getty Images
The U.S. Capitol building stands in Washington, D.C., U.S., on April 5, 2011.

intro: People think Capitol Hill is filled with boring black suits and bad fashion sense. But there's more--here are some awesomely bad fashion trends in politics.

quicklist: 1 title: Seersucker Suits text:With the summer season upon us, it is only appropriate to don a seersucker suit to work on Capitol Hill. Former Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi proposed "Seersucker Thursday" to his colleagues in the late '90s. The former senator told an ABC Reporter that "the tradition came about by accident" when "one day I wore a seersucker suit and everyone in the office harassed me about it." That's all it took for the former majority leader to create this new tradition on Capitol Hill. "I figured it was a way to develop camaraderie and a sense of bipartisanship in the Senate," Lott continues. "If you can't be bipartisan about seersucker, what can you be bipartisan about?"

The traditionally light blue (other colors pop up, too) and white striped all-cotton fabric suit is intended to combat the brutal D.C. humidity. It's worn on the Hill on the first official day of summer which is also the day that Republican leaders hold an ice cream social in their office.

Lott has kept the seersucker sentiment alive in his office at Patton Boggs, a public policy and lobbying firm. "We still celebrate seersucker Thursday in my office," Lott confessed. "Over 40 men and women dressed in seersucker outfits, all the interns in the firm even caught onto the trend." When asked if this tradition should be kept alive on Capitol Hill, he replied, "Of course, it should be kept alive so people can laugh at each other!"

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quicklist: 2 title: Cowboys in Congress text:If you thought there were no cowboys in Washington, think again! Legislators love sporting their leather, block-heeled cowboy boots around the Capitol. Congressman Jim Matheson, D-Utah, said he has worn them since he was a young man. "As a member of Congress it's fun wearing cowboy boots on Capitol Hill. A bipartisan group of folks from the West wear them," Matheson says. "It's a way to establish a sort of camaraderie and regional distinction and I think that's fun."

When asked if the boots match his suit, the Congressman replied, "Well, I sure think they do. I usually wear Lizards or Kangaroo's and those are great boots, I think they look really nice. I don't wear old scuffed-up boots at work like the ones I wear while riding my horse."

Matheson claims that close to 15 or 20 members of congress sport the sturdy boot on Capitol Hill but they are not the only ones. Cowboy boots have even been in fashion for former Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and the Bushes.


quicklist: 3 title: Pins are In text:Pins have undoubtedly become a Congressional fashion statement. Whether it's your standard American flag pin sported by President Obama or an "Article 1" pin worn by Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky (as well as 40 other members of Congress) to remind people of Article 1 in the U.S. Constitution, this sticky trend has been making a statement in American politics for decades.

A spokesperson for Congressman Yarmuth told ABC News that the pin was created in 2007 but he traded the "Article 1" pin in for his Congressional pin. The spokesperson said, "He stopped wearing the pin when the new administration came in because he believed that this administration would ensure a new outlook and positive change in Congress; however, now he does not feel that there is any sense of bipartisanship."

Pins have become such a huge fad in Congress because they are an easy accessory that serves as a daily reminder of a message or idea that should be represented in Congress. Plus, it doesn't hurt they give flare to an otherwise bland suit. Men are not the only ones to take part in the pin trend; even the first ladies get in on the action to spice up their wardrobes. Michelle Obama often sports a brooch around her neckline.


quicklist: 4 title: The Monochromatic Suit text:Washington is not known for its fashion sense and it seems as if some powerful ladies aren't doing much to rid their city of that stigma. Monochromatic suits in a rainbow of colors seem to be a favorite of women on the Hill.

Hillary Clinton has been seen sporting mono-toned, red, gold, and blue suits. She is not the only one "power dressing" in single-hued ensembles, Nancy Pelosi and Sarah Palin have also joined in on the action, though Palin is no Washington devotee.


quicklist: 5 title: Man's Best Accessory text:Politicians, like everyone else, look to their furry friends for support and friendship at home but some legislators want to bring their pets to work too. Dogs have become a staple accessory of American politicians.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., brings his two pups, "Monique" and "Tink" to the Hill often. Sensenbrenner reminisces about a funny pooch incident with an ABC reporter explaining, "One time one of my dogs escaped and the chairman of my committee found the dog drinking out of his toilet, so he was walking down the hallway saying 'who's dog is this, who's dog is this?'" Sensenbrenner laughed, recalling the episode. "I picked him up and said 'Mr. Chairman this is my dog and he loves you just as much as he loves me'."

Other legislators such as Sen. Scott Brown and N.Y. Rep. Michael Grimm are also known to strut their stuff down congressional halls with man's best friend by their side.

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