A famous saying goes like this – the clothes maketh the man.
The choice of clothes you wear reflects your status, wealth, culture and a lot of different things that are invisible to the naked eye. It helps people categorize you easily and speaks a language of its own.
They also say that one should dress for the job they want. And this is true as well.
Well… it may be true, but the insistence on following a western-cum-corporate dress code at the workplace is proving to be damaging to the environment.
And here’s why.
Suits, Ties, Shirts and the Rest Make Us Warm
You are more likely to find people who are like-minded, of a similar social class, ethnicity and so on based on what your choice of clothing is.
All of this is not rocket science. It’s common sense.
Also in common sense – turning up to work in the proper attire. If you work for a corporate or multinational concern (and chances are that you do), more often then not you have to adhere to a specific dress code.
You must be wondering what’s wrong with all this conventional wisdom?
Here’s whats wrong. In temperate countries like Pakistan, where hotter temperatures are the norm, turning up to work regularly with a tie, suit, shirt and whatnot is a herculean task.
Braving the hot weather, and the choking traffic in that garb is a battle onto hell itself.
But rules are rules and we got to follow em right? It is a matter of earning your daily keep after all.
But there is one thing many people are not privy to. This culture gives rise to using air-conditioners in full blast. And before someone says hell has frozen over, well, you better check these offices out first. Running ACs by the dozen, we don’t realize how much energy we’re consuming to keep us cool, except – we are stifled by the dress code we are following, the same dress code that keeps us warm.
And this culture, which is followed in the West, could have devastating consequences if replicated in developing markets.
What Science Says About Loose Dresses (Shalwar Kameez)
For a layman, loose dresses make you cool — and will require less air conditioning in hot weathers.
According to a research study, buildings consume 40% of the world’s energy. And the kicker? Half of this energy goes into keeping us warm or cool.
If current AC buying trends worldwide continue to keep up, we may have 700 million more ACs by 2030. We will be wasting more energy than making it (as Pakistanis, we all know this too well).
The Earth is doomed if that happens.
In temperate regions like Africa, you observe how people dress in their traditional attire, instead of the western suit when they’re at work.
Its not uncommon to see people in some Pakistani companies showing up to work in shalwar kameez. It may very well be a cultural thing, but its also important to not discount the thermal comfort utility of it altogether. By that yardstick, a casual tee and pant dress code can also suffice.
And yes, they will bring down energy bills faster than someone could say CPEC.
Does it make sense? Should a person turn up to work in comfy clothes that are light, breathable and perfectly what they prefer? Actually that is a discussion for another time, with fashion, culture and many other factors thrown in.
Your view may differ with ours and that’s perfectly fine.
But we’ve got to consider if our future generations are better off for it if we decide to wear comfortably and not like a stifled being, essentially keeping the AC bills down.
Putting aside issues of class and fashion, what you wear during the day also has a major impact on your environment. And it’s time that corporate movers and shakers in Pakistan had a serious discussion about it.
Via The Atlantic