Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fashion in the News: Japanese businessmen try to beat the heat with Hawaiian shirts

I hope you enjoy my repeating Fictional Fashion Icon segments. Here's a new segment for you: Fashion in the News.

NPR reported an interesting story a few days ago. Since Japan has been suffering power shortages following the nuclear crisis, companies are coming up with inventive ways to help office workers survive the heat. Many offices in Tokyo, for example are having workers come in an hour earlier to take advantage of colder morning temperatures.

But now, and idea with the adorably Japanese name Super Cool Biz, is advocating for more casual heat-friendly dress codes. Ties and jackets are out, Hawaiian shirts are it.

(Photo credit: Louisa Lim/NPR)

This kind of sartorial revolution would shake things up in any office, but Japan's famously buttoned up business men are reacting in a variety of ways. Some are happy to wear more casual clothes, but many feel it's disrespectful and unnecessary.

One thing I noticed about Japanese culture when I was an exchange student there in 2003 is that people know how to work hard and play hard and they way they do both so successfully is by keeping them separate. A dress code like this threatens such ideas.

Still, in an 82 degree (F) office, working hard may not be so easy without a more relaxed dress code. What do you think?

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