Twitter goes nuts over Montana House dress code

Former Montana Public Radio capitol reporter Emilie Ritter Saunders, who now graces the good people of Idaho with her top-notch reporting, touched off a bit of a Twittersphere firestorm Friday when she broke the news that the Montana House of Representatives had instituted a strict new dress code for visitors on the House Floor, including members of the media.

From there the #mtleg Twitter hastag went bonkers with users mocking the new “business formal” dress code, which requires women to wear “a suit or dress slacks, skirt, jacket, and dress blouse or suit-like dress and appropriate shoes…” and men to sport “a suit, or dress slacks, jacket, tie, dress shirt and dress shoes or dress boots.”

Banned from the House floor are “flip flops, tennis shoes and open-toed sandals,” “jeans or denim material,” and “fleece and jersey.” Women are advised to be sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines.”

The new dress code didn’t sit well with many #mtleg Twitter users — particularly women — many of whom seem to feel the code is directed at them.

The anonymous Montana Cowgirl blog dubbed the new dress code “a modesty standard for women.” 

Some suggested the dress code was specifically aimed at past and current Legislative reporters.

I remember Emilie butted heads a with Legislative staffers during the 2011 session over her attire. As I recall Emilie took issue with someone’s subjective judgement that her fashionable and formal-looking jeans didn’t pass dress code muster. As anyone who knows Emilie can tell you, she’s a classy and fashionable gal, and I can’t imagine any reasonable person thinking her attire was anything but professional.

Yours truly even got a shout out:

Missoulian reporter Kathryn Haake covered the capitol in 2013 for the Associated Press.  Haake wondered how the code will be enforced:

Emilie compiled all of the #mtleg dress code Tweets in a Storify. Check it out: