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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

The RNC Apparently Has a Dress Code for Woman Reporters [Updated]

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CLEVELAND — Donald Trump’s noted disdain for members of the press, particularly those of us who happen to be women, has apparently inspired a dress code for woman journalists at the Republican National Convention. Jezebel has learned that at least one woman journalist covering the convention was warned by an RNC official that her slovenly, revealing attire would not be tolerated at Donald Trump’s Classiest Republican National Convention in History.

Reporters are, as a rule, the most poorly dressed group of human beings on earth, with all the panache and style of college students. Which may explain why the woman journalist we spoke to was tailed Monday afternoon by a (woman) RNC media relations staffer, who stopped her to let her know that her sleeveless top and dark-wash jeans did not conform to Mr. Trump’s dress code for ladies. It wasn’t exactly a stern lecture —“we’re being low-key,” the RNC enforcer said—but the message was clear: Come nightfall, we expect your shoulders to be covered. And would it kill you to wear heels?

The dress code of course could apply to male reporters as well, though the last time sleevelessness was tolerated in men’s fashion, Donald Trump was on his first marriage. And while we can’t be totally sure, but the RNC’s concern over bare shoulders may also explain this odd email that the House Periodical Press Gallery (which credentials reporters for the RNC) sent to journalists today. They have noticed how we look. They are not impressed.

Please distribute this notice to all your correspondents:

All correspondents wearing a convention press pass must be engaged in the gathering and reporting of news, dress in professional attire, and adhere to journalist standards of integrity and conduct at all times. Any correspondent that does not adhere to these rules will have media credentials confiscated.

Thank you.

Rob Zatkowski


House Periodical Press Gallery

Zatkowski did not immediately return an email seeking comment. If he asks to meet in person, he might be disappointed.


Update, 1:35 p.m.:

We spoke to Zatkowski, who is very nice. He confirms that the email was sent out to periodical reporters, the people he oversees, because of a pervasive jeans-and-sneakers issue. There is no specific rule against sleevelessness; that seems to have been an innovation of the specific RNC volunteer lecturing the female reporter.

“This is something we always put in there,” Zatkowski said, referring to a letter on decorum and attire that the House Press Gallery sends to reporters. “But for some reason nobody read it. People are coming in jeans and sneakers, just slobbish attire. I don’t know if it’s a generational thing. We used to have problems with Europeans wearing jeans, but they were always stylish jeans.”

Zatkowski says the offenders this time are mainly men: “It was mainly the guys this time for me. We’ve never had problems with level of people not looking professional.” On Capitol Hill, he said, “They’d get kicked out for wearing that.”


He was a little confused to hear that RNC staffers are apparently on a mission to sleeve the women of the press corps.

“People are going off on their own tangents,” he said politely.

Image via Getty