Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s Baby Nails the Capitol Hill Dress Code

Maile Pearl Bowlsbey’s duck onesie and cardigan make for the best outfit the Senate floor has seen in years.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) arrives at the U.S. Capitol with her newborn baby daughter Maile Pearl Bowlsbey for a vote on the Senate floor.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Among the laundry list of complexities that come with a job on Capitol Hill, many staffers have openly spoken about the rigid dress code, especially when it comes to the Senate floor. Men have to wear a suit and tie, and women have to wear a dress that covers their shoulders; if they are wearing pants, they also must wear a jacket. But what if you’re wearing a onesie?

Congress won’t have to worry too much about the sartorial decisions of Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, the 10-day-old daughter of Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who will today become the first baby allowed on the Senate floor after Duckworth fought for her to be there. Duckworth has already picked out Maile’s outfit, and it is indeed kosher for the Senate.

Maile’s #OOTD includes a chic duck onesie trimmed with yellow piping and thoughtful details like a zipper (for that quick diaper change!), along with a delicate turquoise cardigan and cotton hand muffs.

On Twitter this morning, Duckworth notes Maile is most definitely sticking to the Senate’s dress code — hence the cardigan acting as a blazer. (Do hot baby brands like Carter’s and Oshkosh B’gosh even make blazers for humans that small?)

Duckworth made history by becoming the first senator to give birth while holding office. Maile, her second child, arrived April 9, and Duckworth told Politico earlier this week that she was worried about her current situation because the Senate floor has a rule against babies. There are often votes stacked one on top of another, and she was worried she’d have to sit them out because she has to breastfeed.

Yesterday, the Senate voted unanimously to allow babies into the Senate chamber — a move that Duckworth says will “bring the Senate into the 21st Century.”

The reversal of the rule didn’t come without concern from older male senators. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts said he didn’t think it was “necessary,” while Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch was worried about the larger implications, reportedly asking the question, “But what if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate?”

While senators might have to worry about scenarios like the 10 babies making a “Baby Quorum and they can form their own Baby Senate,” as one Vox reporter quipped, they certainly don’t have to worry about Maile’s clothes. Not only does her ensemble perfectly adhere to the DC dress code, it’s probably also the cutest outfit the Senate has seen in a long time.

Update: April 19th, 2018, 2:50 p.m.

Duckworth cast her vote on the Senate floor earlier today with Maile, who sported a pink hat, in addition to the duck onesie and teal cardigan.