I don’t really have a solution to offer, but wanted to make sure I express my sympathy for all the men I saw (and the many more I didn’t personally see) slugging to work through the heat and humidity on this brutal first day of summer. While I did not see a single woman wearing a dress or blouse with any hint of a sleeve, all the men I saw were already melting in their long-sleeved work shirts, even before donning jacket and tie.
There are many times that I thank the stars I am a woman, no more so than this time of year. Our professional wardrobe options are so much more vast. Let’s be honest, most men can’t carry off the seersucker suit with Trent Lott aplomb. (I think you have to be a fifth generation southern gentleman to really own it.) Lightweight wool? Sounds like an oxymoron to me, but even though I know what is meant by the term, it still sounds dreadful on a day expected to be in the mid-90s. Even if your suit is indeed of a lightweight fabric like poplin, you still have to tie a noose around your neck from 9 to 5, Monday thru Friday.
I don’t have any great ideas for changing up what professional options you have for this time of year (khakis are not the answer). But I do have an idea that is worth consideration. Since we’re never going to get a “heat day” off from work in the summer the way we get snow days in the winter, perhaps the federal government could institute a policy of “no jacket and tie days.” It could be the summer equivalent to “liberal leave” during inclement weather in the winter.
Until that time, hang your shirt, jacket and tie on a hanger and wear something light and airy for your walk to work or walk from the metro or your car. Just don’t do what the guy I saw this morning did. He had said hanger with office attire on it, but opted to walk to work in his wife-beater. And while I feel bad for all you overdressed men out there, no woman wants to see a sweaty man in a tank top.