KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's pro-Kremlin government has ordered a strict new dress code for its employees, in an apparent bid to distance itself from the glamorous-dressing former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
The order, published on the government website and which applies both to visitors and employees, advises a "business-like" look and even gives hints on the thickness of tights, the length of trousers and make-up.
"The business suit of an official can help them not only carry out their professional duties but cultivate good contacts," advises the directive.
The text, several pages long, contains detailed style guidelines separately for men and women. For example, men should have at least three suits and a fresh shirt every day.
"Female officials must look feminine, stylish, elegant and have her individual charm," it advises.
But "plunging cleavage" is not recommended for women and neither are "skirts that are too tight or too short skirts or skirts with slits". Also now taboo are "transparent dresses or blouses through which one can see underwear."
"Do not wear dress that outlines the figure," it points out.
It's all a far cry from the premiership of Tymoshenko, which saw her dress in eye-popping all black or all white costumes that were never the same from one day to the next, complete with her trademark golden hair braid.
Tymoshenko is now in opposition after her defeat to Viktor Yanukovych in presidential elections earlier this year.
Her successor as prime minister Mykola Azarov, a technocratic number-cruncher, has rarely been seen in anything other than the most staid of business suits.
Tymoshenko ridiculed the dress code. "Without doubt, neither Queen of England of (Libyan leader) Colonel Kadhafi would make it into the government building."
Even the president's deputy chief of staff Ganna German seemed discomforted by the move. "I would look at it with irony," she told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency. "It looks a bit archaic, to be honest."
"Good-bye Louis Vuitton," said the popular newspaper Fakti with a hint of nostalgia. For the Gazeta po-Kievski, the innovation is aimed at "exorcising" the spirit of Tymoshenko.
The government has gone to even comic lengths to distance itself from the Tymoshenko administration with Azarov even calling in a priest to exorcise her spirit from his office.