"Girly" Capitol Question

Jul 26th, 2003, 07:03 PM
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"Girly" Capitol Question

We were able to get tickets through our congressman to tour the Capitol, Supreme Court, Library of Congress and Bureau of Engraving. The Capitol tour will be given by one of his staff members. My girly question is...what do we wear? Is it appropriate to go in shorts and tennis shoes? We are meeting at his congressional office for the tour. I would also love to know how long the Library of Congress tour is. The tour was set up at 8:30 am and we are supposed to start the Capitol tour at 10:00 am. Will we be ok? Since my congressman's office made the schedule, I assume we'll make it in time. Thanks again for all of the wonderful information!
seashell is offline  
Jul 26th, 2003, 07:38 PM
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This girl would wear a skirt and sandals/shoes. Somehow I feel like it would be a tad more appropriate
Scarlett is offline  
Jul 26th, 2003, 07:52 PM
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COMFORTABLE SHOES. There will be quite a bit of walking, and the sidewalks are often uneven cobblestones, so don't wear something that won't be comfortable!

No, shorts and touristy clothes are not appropriate. Something a little more dressy, and at least long pants, would be more appropriate.
ChristieP is offline  
Jul 26th, 2003, 08:11 PM
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With hindsight, I'd go with a skirt and tasteful cotton shirt. Ordinarily a conservative dresser, I bowed to the 100 degree heat and humidity four years ago when we visited DC and wore shorts and a kinda-low-cut tshirt to the Capitol tour arranged by our senator. Our family was sitting in the visitors' gallery of the senate and I was leaning forward--enthralled with the proceedings. All of a sudden my husband hissed "SIT UP" to me--I looked and realized a certain Democratic senator from Massachusetts was staring with great interest directly down my shirt--UGH. Lesson learned.
Jul 26th, 2003, 11:10 PM
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Just curious...if you're in the gallery looking over the railing at the proceedings on the Senate floor, how is it that the Massachusetts Democratic Senator (am assuming he was on the Senate floor) could look directly down your shirt???
DeeDee is offline  
Jul 27th, 2003, 07:20 AM
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Hard to explain--the 'view' was parallel with the senator's vision since he wasn't directly below us--more across the chamber. It was pretty obvious what he was doing--we've laughed about it for years.
Jul 27th, 2003, 08:17 AM
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Wear a mini skirt -- You'll get invited back for internship.
Budman is offline  
Jul 27th, 2003, 08:45 AM
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You'll see lots of tourists wearing the kinds of clothes I'd only wear to the beach: muscle shirts (alas, usually without the requisite muscles), baggy shorts, flip-flops, skimpy tank tops. It's a standing joke among the locals.

There's no need to look like the people who work there, who will be in suits. However, I'd wear something a slight cut above shorts and sneakers: a light skirt, or if shorts, then more tailored ones, and if a t-shirt, then one without a logo. Sandals or slip-ons would be better than sneakers, but comfortable shoes are an absolute necessity, so do what you have to do in that department. And have a great trip--you're so fortunate to have arranged all those tours!
E is offline  
Jul 27th, 2003, 09:00 AM
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Why not what Southern women always do in hot weather?: Wear a sundress or skirt and cool top (sleeveless or...), and comfortable sandals, but take an "airconditioning sweater" to cover up for when you go indoors and it's chilly. Cooler and more all-purpose for any occasion.

If you have the occasion to meet your representative, which sometimes happens, and you have anything you want to tell or ask him about current issues, it will give you just that much more, um, "maturity." I'm sure they're used to seeing shorts on their visiting constituents, but Washington is more formal than many other cities.

(Tess: yah right. You're a Democrat, right?)
Jul 27th, 2003, 10:30 AM
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Oh that Kerry--what a rascal! As I recall the gallery, we were pretty high up. You'd almost have to get into a "one-two-hut-hut" position for that to happen Tess! lol

I would leave the shorts behind too for this occasion...lots of sophisticated casual looks to choose from that will also be comfie to get around in.
Jul 28th, 2003, 05:16 AM
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Hmmmm... Congressional staff are extremely busy and often work 60 or 70 hours a week. Still, someone is taking the time out of their schudule to show me around. The real question is: "How will what I wear show my respect for the instituion and my appreciation for the staff person carving out time for me?"
bardo is offline  
Jul 28th, 2003, 07:13 AM
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Bardo, I realize that a congressional staffer works hard, but I would assume that part of their job is to conduct these tours for the constituents of their boss. As much as goes on in DC, it is still very much a tourist town. So this being my first visit, I wanted to make sure that I dressed appropriately. That is why I asked the question. No disrespect was intended. Thanks to everyone for your great replys.
seashell is offline  
Jul 28th, 2003, 10:07 AM
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Sorry about my tone. The short answer is "business casual".
bardo is offline  
Jul 28th, 2003, 10:56 AM
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I used to give those tours and I don't think I ever thought twice about what people were wearing (but maybe that was just me). I think everyone understands that you are on vacation, and when you are touring around DC in the summer the most important thing is not to be too hot. That said, if you can be comfortable while looking a little nicer (than, say, for a trip to the beach), all the better.
Doh is offline  
Jul 28th, 2003, 01:58 PM
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I say a skirt - they can be just as comfortable and cool as shorts and some can even be worn with tennis shoes (or ked-type shoes).

I have listened to people say dress nicely so I take my nice clothes and then regret it - I am a tourist and my comfy clothes would have been just fine. However, my comfy clothes are significantly nicer than my 'garden clothes' the same type I do sometimes see people wearing as tourists. Yikes!
SaraLM is offline  
Jul 28th, 2003, 03:34 PM
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First question, is congress in session when you are going? They are not during the summer, so going into the chamber is moot, you can't.

As far as appropriate staffing, our democratic congressman's aide (from Massachusetts) wore a skirt with a blouse unbuttoned DOWN TO THERE. My 12 year old son happily followed her everywhere! Decent shorts and shirts that cover you up and comfortable walking shoes are appropriate in the summer. If you are going to get to go into the senate chamber, then maybe something dressier.

1 1/2 hours doesn't sound like enough time to do Library and get over the congress.
jasmo is offline  
Jul 28th, 2003, 04:04 PM
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Why is it that dressing nicely and dressing for comfort are two different things?

I certainly would not wear a pair of stilettos but a summer dress or a pair of khakis with sandals would look nicer than shorts and sneakers.
Aug 4th, 2003, 12:13 PM
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Well....I thought as a former COngressional aide of 3 years, I would be the best at answering this question. Capitol tours are generally given by either interns or staff assistants (receptionists). It is very rare that you will get a staffer that spends 60-70 hrs a week in the office conducting your tour. After having given many...many tours, I have seen it all. From formally dressed, to shorts, t-shirts and flips. I wouldn't stress too much about attire. Shorts and tennis shoes will suffice.

Unless you plan on really making an impression on the staffer, or are overly concerned about your appearance should you bump into a Congressman or Senator, then you need not worry. Congress is not in session until the beginning of September. Therefore, you may even find staffers in shorts and sneakers (thats what we wore in my office). Remember, DC gets very hot and sticky in the summer, you are much better off being cool.

If I can provide further assistance with anything Capitol related, please feel free to ask!!
CapHill is offline  
Aug 4th, 2003, 12:48 PM
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Take it from someone who should know, skirts really are much more comfortable. Oh, wait a minute, I've wandered into the wrong forum . . . .

JackOneill is offline  
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