D.C. is a sub-tropical swamp but in an act of collective insanity the entire male professional class insists on pretending it has the climate of northern Scotland. That is why I’m glad to hear the traditional business suit has suffered at least a minor setback in Washington D.C. professional culture. In an attempt to recruit more people, the White House is telling technology workers they won’t need to wear formal business clothes.
The White House has a new recruit video where the fact that male programmers won’t regularly be expected to wear a business suit is mentioned a dozen times.
I really like the district, but roughly a third of the year it is an incredibly hot and humid place with weather on par with any tropical rain forest. It often gets over 90 degrees with extreme humidity.
Yet despite the tropical weather professional men are expected to wear dark wool suits over long sleeve shirts – with a tie – to make sure none of their trapped body heat escapes. If it weren’t mindlessly accepted as “traditional attire” for men, I suspect anyone walking around D.C. in head-to-toe black wool in one hundred degree heat would be assumed to suffer from a potentially life threatening condition or mental illness.
Not only is it an unpleasant sweaty mess, but importantly it is bad for the environment and a waste of taxpayer money. The idiotic practice of wearing full suits in the summer means government buildings need to set their thermostats lower which costs more money and results in the release of more greenhouse gases.
I hope one day we will collectively have an ‘the emperor is wearing too much clothing’ moment.