[Brian's stuff]Indulge summer dress codes with bras, Beach Boys and bikinis

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[Brian's stuff]Indulge summer dress codes with bras, Beach Boys and bikinis

The scorching summer heat has won over heat haters in one area: How to dress for the workplace.

Surging oil prices and a government-wide effort to cut down on energy consumption have paved the way for companies to relax their dress codes to show more flesh.

Public workers are encouraged to wear shirts without the usual tie as government buildings are under rules that dictate how to operate their air conditioning systems. (An unbelievable 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit) to 28 degrees Celsius are advertised by the government as proper temperatures.)

I happen to work in an industry where the dress code is probably more relaxed depending on the beat you cover. Decades of oppression - from elementary to high school - have embedded into me a sense of rebellion against formal attire and thus from casual T-shirts to short pants I have allowed myself to test the limits of our company’s dress code policy, which is something like “business casual.”

So far nobody has raised a peep but talking to friends tells me that I am one of the luckier ones. Most places have dress codes but the problem is that they are vague at best and virtually useless. Dress codes are usually formed along two lines. There is the general description that usually encompasses the word “tasteful,” “presentable” or “professionally,” and the more detailed description of what employees are allowed to wear to work.

Some guidelines dictate the skirt length or forbid certain attire such as tank tops. Then there are rules pointing out what not to show, such as bra straps.

In my opinion, a dress code is like armor. Conservative dressing projects the image of a professional. That is conventional wisdom, anyway. But I think it comes down to whether you want to be treated as a professional or not. With the obvious answer in place, a self-restraint mechanism should kick in to save you from embarrassing moments.

Basically my mentality is that my work represents my seriousness and professionalism but I still remember how embarrassed I felt when I had an interview with the current Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura three years ago dressed in a hooded college sweatshirt. (I was told the interview would not take place)

The whole point of having a dress code is to have positive synergy. It’s called dressing for success - how to achieve better results at work with the right attire. But if one’s efficiency can be improved, that is also one factor that should be considered. Which means that public workers should unbutton at least two buttons from the neck, cleavage or no cleavage, because no sane person can work under the current government rules, which were made up by someone with a Velveeta brain. I say that if there is a dress code policy don’t fight it unless you feel you are on the verge of jumping off the roof. Right now, it’s time to jump.

How do you expect to work under 27 degrees Celsius? Under such temperatures, I start to sweat. The Beach Boys, bikinis and all sort of other thoughts come to my mind.

A dress code exists to create good perceptions but for government workers there should also be accompanying rules to make it less painful.


By Brian Lee Staff Reporter [africanu@joongang.co.kr]
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