The U.S. Senate will no longer enforce a dress code for members of the upper house, allowing Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., to wear his trademark hoodie and gym shorts while working for his constituents. The decision could impact the confidence and productivity of lawmakers as society continues to become more and more casual, according to one expert.

"Healer In Heels: You Are The One You Have Been Waiting For -- Simple Practices To Transform Your Life" author Jasna Burza, who spent years studying how our environment and wardrobe impacts everyday life, believes the dress code reversal could become a problem. 

"By wearing a certain shirt or a tie, we feel a little bit more confident, a little bit more productive, a little bit more ready for today," Burza told FOX News Digital. 

"If I were to show up here today in gym clothes or in my soccer mom attire, I don't think that I would feel as ready to deliver this information," Burza continued, while sporting a red blazer with black lapels. "I also think that we can reduce our confidence if we are wearing something that's just really symbolically, and historically noted, as casual and not as serious. And I think that that is the danger that we run into right now." 


Sen. John Fetterman

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, quietly changed Senate dress code rules, in a move believed to accommodate Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., who is seen here speaking during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on May 18, 2023.  (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Burza, a native of Bosnia who has lived in America for 22 years, recently visited Europe and was stunned at the contrast in clothing, as she feels Americans have become increasingly casual in recent years coinciding with the COVID pandemic

"What astounded me is the difference between Americans, and how it is that we dress, and… Europeans," she said, adding that people overseas are baffled by elected officials in America dressing so casually. 

"I have been talking to my family and friends in Europe, and I have a lot of clients in companies that I work with in Europe, and they're all shaking their heads. I think that we've generally and historically have been a little bit more relaxed as a country," Burza said. "I have not seen anyone that I have talked to show incredible respect and attaboy encouragement for this decision. I think the people [see] it as a sign of disrespect and they're really thinking that we're just plain gone crazy." 

Burza doesn’t think rules or standards pertaining to wardrobe decisions should force American lawmakers to dress up for work. Instead, she feels they should want to project a sense of confidence. 

"It's almost like a reverence and respect for oneself. 'I'm going to adorn myself today because it is one thing that I do have control over,'" she said. 

Burza has noticed that Americans dress significantly more casually in churches, on airplanes and even at baseball games than previous generations. She is concerned that government could be the next segment of the population that could permanently take a less-dignified approach; however, she’s hopeful that standards won’t be eternally lowered. 

"Is this going to become the norm now? Now, we're all questioning, are we just going to wear gym clothes to places of worship and places of sacredness, so to speak, like the highest institutions of government? I think that it's maybe a little bit of a trend, that there's a pushback to the standard rules and traditions," she said. "I do believe that we're going to come back to it simply because of the psychological reasons." 



"Healer In Heels: You Are The One You Have Been Waiting For -- Simple Practices To Transform Your Life" author Jasna Burza spent years studying how our environment and wardrobe impacts everyday life.

Burza’s "Higher In Heels" explores enclosed cognition, which she described as "a psychological mindset shift" that happens when we dress a certain way.

"So, if I'm a lawmaker, and I'm working on something that's incredibly challenging and serious, if I'm in a gym class I'm just going to be a little bit more relaxed, psychologically," Burza said. "I think that we're going to reclaim our desire for dressing well and showing up because it's going to make us feel so much better."

Burza said a study recently occurred in which people were split into two groups, with both groups given identical white coats. However, one group was told they were lab coats that could be worn by a doctor, and the other group was told they were painters’ smocks. The group told they were wearing lab coats performed significantly better cognitively and creatively than those wearing painters' smocks.

"Whether we like it or not, we can't just immediately remove our history of clothing in relationship to our human psychology. It’s still with us every single day. So now, we have to take that into consideration, that other people are going to see us differently if we are not dressed in a way that shows respect for oneself and respect for others," she said. 

"It’s really not a coincidence it's called a power suit," Burza continued. "It makes a difference in how we show up and what kind of decisions we're making."


Democratic strategist Bradley Schurman feels the shift in Senate attire is "one part generational and one part keeping up with reality."

"The modern workforce has changed its dress code, and the Senate is following suit. Gen X, which is making gains in Senate representation, is the first generation to have a relaxed dress code in the workplace, normalizing things like casual Friday," Shurman told FOX News Digital. 

"Millennials have only known a casual work environment. Senator Fetterman is the most notable departure, donning Carhartt shirts and mesh shorts as part of his regular uniform," Shurman continued. "However, he's not the first to break with tradition. Female Senators have been leading the change for some time, unbridled by the formality of their male colleagues who have primarily remained in traditional, Brooks Brothers-esque costumes, mainly in hues of navy blue and gray."

Shurman said the "gender and generational diversity of the body opens up opportunities for change," and believes the "big question is whether the Senate will modify other rules, too."


FOX News’ Pilar Arias contributed to this report.