It was Rep. Mike Yin (D-Teton County) who suggested stripping the dress code down to the basics.
While meeting Feb. 8, the Legislature’s Management Council was reviewing a proposal to change its policy to align dress requirements for men and women. The representatives and senators were charting toward adding complexities to the Legislature’s complicated code. Hearing that Wyoming’s policy about permissible attire was already among the most prescriptive in the country, Yin motioned to forge a simpler path forward.
Let’s copy the New Mexico Legislature’s dress code, he urged, with a couple Wyoming-specific caveats.
“Members of the Wyoming Legislature shall dress in business attire befitting the decorum of the Legislature,” Yin motioned. “And the wearing of bolo ties shall be permitted, however denim shall not be permitted.”
Everyone on the floor of the Wyoming Senate and House of Representatives, he proposed, would be held to the same standards. The Senate and House leaders would call the shots, discerning whose dress was not befitting of the Legislature.
And that was it. Management Council went for it.
It’s a stretch to say the Legislature’s updated, more open-to-interpretation dress code has triggered a Wyoming wardrobe revolution. The same slacks, blazers and blouses of yesteryear still dominate today in Cheyenne.
Still, some western fashionistas representing the good people of Wyoming stand out more than others. Here are some snaps of lawmaker attire WyoFile captured during the first week of the 2022 legislative budget session.
Sen. Larry Hicks (R-Baggs) sports a bull elk-engraved bolo tie at the Wyoming State Capitol. Bolo ties are a standard accessory in the Legislature, and some lawmakers wear a different one for each day of the week.
Sen. Lynn Hutchings (R-Cheyenne) was adorned with dangly turquoise-and-silver earrings, colorful beaded bracelets and sleek suit coat early on at the Wyoming Legislature’s budget session.
WyoFile isn’t going to argue about it: Sen. Cheri Steinmetz’s (R-Lingle) faux lizard skin sport coat and chunky red glasses with a hint of cheetah are straight styling.
Rep. Albert Sommers (R-Pinedale) didn’t own a sport coat before being elected to the Wyoming Legislature in 2013. The Sublette County cattleman bought two of them, each leather, one just “slightly different” than the other.
It was the doctor’s orders that Rep. Bob Wharff (R-Evanston) use open-toed footwear at the Wyoming Legislature’s session. “I had a couple members giving me shit,” Wharff said. “I told them I’m a hippy. I co-sponsored medical marijuana legislation too, so I’m playing my image.”
Rep. Karlee Provenza (D-Laramie) complements her jet black curls with a western-influenced turquoise shirt and a gray sport coat. The Albany County Democrat has been known to buck gender norms and sport bolo ties, too.