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Minister falls foul of Riksdag dress code: MPs

Minister falls foul of Riksdag dress code: MPs

Published: 28 Jun 2011 10:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Jun 2011 10:01 GMT+02:00

A fashion storm, apparently long brewing in the Swedish Riksdag, reached its climax after a Swedish minister chose to take the podium in a leather jacket earlier this year, with parliamentary colleagues responding unfavourably.

“I think the speaker had a word with him about it,” said Sven-Erik Österberg, former Social Democrat constitution committee spokesperson to the Aftonbladet daily.

Österberg said that dress code is a subject often debated at parliamentary group leader meetings. But in the case of Carlgren’s jacket, most were in agreement that it was a clear sartorial no-no.

Otherwise, many of the Riksdag’s fashion faux-pas are typically committed by female members.

“Things have got a bit more slack over the years. Many say that the slackness has gone further on the women’s side. I think that there should be a strict dress code,” Österberg told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) daily.

“I saw a female MP in the speaker’s chair dressed in baggy jeans and sneakers, a bit hip-hop style. I don’t think it is appropriate. That is no way to show respect for democracy,” said Björn Söder of the Sweden Democrats to SvD.

On the Riksdag’s web page the advice offered is that a well-groomed style is recommended.

“For men, this means a suit jacket or a cardigan resembling a jacket,” it says.

There are also jackets available for loan to those who have forgotten theirs. There is however, no advice offered for women. Österberg thinks that this is one of the problems.

“There is clear advice for men but no dress rules for women. We should make it a bit stricter, because it is quite difficult today for women to know what is meant by the advice given,” Österberg said.

The Green Party’s Mikaela Valtersson agrees that it is easier for men than women.

“Jackets must be worn in the chamber so for men it ought to be easy. So Carlgren’s jacket… I don’t know what to make out of that. But for women it is harder to issue any direct rules,” she said to Aftonbladet.

Andreas Carlgren however defended his fashion choice.

“I think it looks great,” he said to SvD.

Regarding the chamber’s dress code he said that he thinks that it is good that there are recommendations on how to dress but that he feels the jacket was in accordance with these.

However, he conceded that he wouldn’t wear his favourite item of clothing – a woollen hoodie - to the chamber on account of it not "resembling a jacket”.

Carlgren's press office told The Local on Tuesday that despite the mixed reactions from colleagues, he still stands by this statement.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:57 June 28, 2011 by Zeffanyx
Summer vacations... It's hard to find any really sensible news out there.
11:08 June 28, 2011 by byke
Women should be required to wear skirts, tights, heels and be in a presentable manner in regards to their appearance.
11:09 June 28, 2011 by johnny1939
Shows that some of these people are not using common sense but that is to much to expect I guess. I really do not have a problem w/ a nice leather or suede jacket but "baggy jeans" and sneakers?
11:16 June 28, 2011 by stenhuggaren
The irony of SD bruiser Björn Söder talking about "respect for democracy" is tangible.
14:18 June 28, 2011 by graphixperson
Nice to see one Swede removing the stick from his arse.
14:36 June 28, 2011 by neoz717
@Byke

Are you kidding that would be a field day for the Feminists of Sweden!
14:45 June 28, 2011 by Jes
If it is eazier for women , maybe he should claim that he is a lady . It worked for my buddy !
17:48 June 28, 2011 by Great Scott
This is what tax payer's pay for, all they get is an example of a criminal political dope.
18:18 June 28, 2011 by byke
@neoz717

No I am not kidding, feminists should embrace their sexuality and dress feminine in a professional manner.

You dont see homosexual men in bumless latex chaps in the Riksdag complaining that dressing in a professional manner such as a suit impedes on their sexual values outside of work.

Riksdag is a parlement of politicians who have been elected by the people to serve the nation. They have been elected based on their professional conduct and abilities. And if these public servants cant forfill such roles, then maybe they should be retrained into other public services that suits their abilities.
19:28 June 28, 2011 by teknowaffle
"That is no way to show respect for democracy,"

Actually, being able to wear what you want is a great way to show respect for freedom and democracy.
22:33 June 28, 2011 by reason
I think, teknowaffle, that you confuse democracy with everybody-doing-whatever-they-like. At the heart of democracy, there is a very great deal of accepting and conforming to the majority opinion. You may not always like it or agree, but you do it because that is what it takes for the system to work.
23:42 June 28, 2011 by Streja
I don't see why women should not be allowed to wear a trouser suit. Plus, high heels actually hurt.
08:53 June 29, 2011 by byke
I am sure women can wear trousers and flats ..... Just as men can wear skirts and heels. It doesn't encourage a sense of profesionalism though.
09:26 June 29, 2011 by reco73
since 98% of people at my work wear slippers "tofflor" at work, which I personally find revolting and unprofessional........ I see no problem this guy wearing a leather jacket....
12:56 June 29, 2011 by cogito
At a v. large Swedish company where I worked, some of the men would remove their shoes and pad around the office in ugly socks. Visiting clients and business partners from more civilized countries were too polite to comment, but you could see the shock on their faces.

I guess we should be grateful if they keep their shirts on.
16:00 June 29, 2011 by soultraveler3
Byke, women don't have to wear skirts, tights and high heels to look nice and professional. Is this the 1950's or what?

There's nothing wrong with a woman wearing a nice, comfortable suit and a pair of flats.

Streja is right, high heels not only hurt (especially for 8+ hours at a time) but they're horrible for your feet, ankles, back and even neck and shoulders. Tights in the summer or even all the time the rest of the year aren't really healthy for many women either since they provide a great environment for things like yeast to grow.

Men get away with wearing loose fitting or at least comfortable, jackets, shirts and pants when dressing up professionally. Women have to be sucked in, boosted up, held in, made taller etc. to achieve the same thing in many peoples' eyes.

It's not right or fair in a time and country that claims to support equality among genders.
11:29 July 1, 2011 by BrittInSweden
Who cares what they are wearing, as long as their behavior is acceptable then what does it matter if they wear shoes or trainers?

"I don't think it is appropriate. That is no way to show respect for democracy," said Björn Söder of the Sweden Democrats to SvD. "

It is democracy not dictatorship so stop telling them what to wear you moron.
17:54 July 1, 2011 by calebian22
It's the Riksdag, not a hip hop club or casual Friday. Dress professionally.
23:42 July 6, 2011 by 420
I agree with teknowaffle. Parliamentarians should be able to wear whatever they want as long as it isn't something that is illegal to wear to in public. I don't get the fuss all the commenters here are making about looking professionally. It's not important. If I were elected to the Riksdag I would wear sweatpants and a hoodie in protest of the clothing rules. Ridiculous in a democracy.
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