CHARLES: Good evening. It's Fashion Week in Washington DC, and people's tongues are wagging about some of the beautiful, not-so-beautiful, and downright ugly people on display here in our nation's capital.
Welcome to the first-ever U.S. Senate Fashion Show sponsored by Men's Wearhouse. I'm fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth, and I'm joined by my co-host and fashion contemporary, Lucy Duff Gordon. We're here at the Red Carpet Runway, sponsored by both George Soros and the Koch Brothers, outside the U.S. Capitol Building, ready to showcase the latest in Senatorial fashions. Right, Lucy?
LUCY: That's right, Chuck.
CHARLES: It's Charles.
LUCY: Whatever. Anyway, after Senator Majority Leader Charles Schumer dropped the Senate's dress code earlier this week, America's senators have been free to dress any old way they want.
CHARLES: What prompted Chuck Schumer to drop this dignified, distinguished dress code?
LUCY: Well, Chuck—
CHARLES: Washed his hands, indeed. And here we are with our first entrants, Indiana's two senators, Todd Young and Mike Braun, who are coming up the red carpet together. Lucy, describe what we're seeing here.
LUCY: Well, Chuck—
LUCY: Whatever. I can't really tell the two Senators apart. Both men pulled up in a Dodge Caravan minivan, and both are wearing tan khakis and navy blue polo shirts.
CHARLES: I believe one of them wears glasses.
LUCY: Meh, it doesn't matter, I've already forgotten what they look like. Next up, we have Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who's being propped up — excuse me, escorted by two of his staffers.
CHARLES: It looks like Senator McConnell is still wearing his traditional gray suit, so what's so special about today's conservative couture?
LUCY: Well, Chuck, the Senator is actually wearing the latest in nightwear underneath his suit.
CHARLES: It's Charles. And you mean—?
LUCY: Absolutely, Chuck. Senator McConnell is wearing a set of pale blue pajamas by Brooks Brothers as part of today's political pageant. It's the latest in breathable, durable sleepwear that lets you nap anywhere you want. Whether it's a night on the town or an afternoon speech to supporters, these pajamas are classy, cozy, and comfy.
CHARLES: That's certainly a conversation-stopper in these halls, Lucy. But, now, thanks to the Fetterman Fashion Flap, anything goes.
LUCY: It certainly does, because behind him is California Senator, Dianne Feinstein. She's sporting the latest in California beach bum wear, sporting board shorts, a Baja pullover hoodie, and a puka shell necklace.
CHARLES: And look, she's tossing promotional hacky sack balls to the crowd.
LUCY: They're just called hacky sacks, Chuck.
CHARLES: Charles. Next up, rolling out of a police paddy wagon is New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez who's either having some fun with his colleagues or is finally accepting his new bribery charges. Tell us about his ensemble.
LUCY: Well, Chuck, Senator Menendez, who has been indicted with his wife, Nadine, is wearing a black-and-white striped prison outfit. And instead of a briefcase, he's carrying a canvas bag with a comically large dollar sign on it.
CHARLES: The crowd is certainly getting a kick out of that one. Now, Lucy, as we wait for the next Senators to arrive, can you tell us just exactly who can relax their mode of dress on the Senate floor? Does it apply to everyone?
LUCY: No, not at all, Chuck. The dress code was only lifted for the Senators themselves, the makers of our laws and protectors of our democracy. Everyone else with business on the Senate floor — aides, staffers, and lobbyists — must still abide by the time-honored dress code: Coats and ties for men and business dress for women.
CHARLES: But not everyone supports this new code, do they?
LUCY: They do not. Some citizens and other politicians have been saying that our government has hit a new low.
CHARLES: Really? NOW, we've hit a new low? NOW things are getting bad? Where have they been for the last six years? I mean, yes, John Fetterman dressing like he heard the garbage truck and realized he forgot to take the trash out is very undignified. But I can't believe this is the lowest that our government has ever gone. That seems like a hysterical overreaction.
LUCY: Believe what you like, Chuck, but society has changed, and our style of dress is changing along with it. Who knows? Maybe Senator Fetterman will launch a new era of slovenly vulgarity in our nation's halls of power.
CHARLES: Thanks, Lucy. We'll be back for more of today's fashion festivities, but first, a word from Dickie's Bib Overalls. Whether you're shoveling manure on the farm or in the Senate, don't forget your Dickie's.
Photo credit: Governor Tom Wolf (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)
My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available from 4 Horsemen Publications. You can get the ebook and print versions here.