I have argued for years that formal dress codes and formal dress expectations are ridiculous.
The idea that men go to work every day in a coat and tie, even when it’s 85 degrees outside, is insane.
Neckties are insane in all circumstances. Wrapping your neck in an unnecessary floral noose is insane.
I stopped wearing ties about six years ago. Other than my sister-in-law’s wedding and two weddings that I officiated, I have not worn a tie in that time. I only wear a suit if I am attending a wedding or another formal situation (an interview, for example) where my lack of a suit might impede my success.
Even then, failing to comport to the expected dress code is often irrelevant and unnoticed, as I have argued here before.
If you are a person who thinks that formal dress is ridiculous but worries about the impression that you may be making, I have hope for you:
The United Nations panel on climate change, along with researchers at Lancaster University, are recommending that we abandon the stupidity of a suit and tie in an effort to curb climate change.
That’s right. Stop dressing like a mindless automaton who the sixteen year-old version of you would have despised and you can do your part to save the world.
Currently, heating and cooling systems in the office and at home are designed to provide comfortable conditions for people wearing lightweight clothing, such as suits.
As more people wear casual, thicker clothing, these buildings will need less energy.
‘There is no doubt that the move away from formal office wear towards jeans, hoodies and more casual clothes is reducing the need for workplaces to be heated to the same degree,’ said Professor Elizabeth Shove from the research center.
‘And in hot climates, why not change dress codes rather than cooling buildings to counter the effect of wearing a suit and tie? These are not entirely fanciful questions.’
Not fanciful at all.
How many times have you seen this happen:
A man and a woman arrive at a formal affair. The man is wearing a suit and tie, which amounts to more clothing than he ever wears in his regular life. As a result, he is warm and uncomfortable. If there is dancing at this affair, he will likely perspire as much as he would while working out at the gym.
At the same time, his female companion is wearing a little black dress. Because the room is being cooled for the men in their formal attire, the woman is cold. Her arms are covered with goose bumps. As a result, she eventually dons the suit coat of her male counterpart.
By the way, if dancing is involved, she is likely wearing shoes that will need to be removed in order to dance.
As a wedding DJ, I watch this bizarre ritual all the time. Men and women dress in ways that deny themselves comfort.
It turns out that not only is it stupid, but it’s hurting our planet.
Around half the energy used in buildings is used to keep them at this temperature, all over the world, regardless of the weather outside.
If we all decided to dress for comfort rather than some arcane sense of what is proper or appropriate, we could make an enormous dent in CO2 transmissions.
We could also be more like the people we wanted to be when we were young and idealistic and brave.