Business attire has long been fairly informal in Florida and other parts of the South where suited-executives dressed to do business sweated (sometimes nearly fainting) in sweltering heat, ending the day rumpled and exhausted ... but they looked good! Now there may a reprieve with the growing trend in seasonal men's and women's attire. [Image: NYT.]
To fine-tune this image, one only has to consult with the inhabitants of Bermuda where males and females sport 'smart business attire.'
The businessmen above look incomplete without socks, and the one on the far left needs a tie. The shorts of the man in the middle are not long enough, and the attire for the man on the right isn't going to be appropriate for any many that is not in good shape: he will only look sloppy. The same could said for women.
Notice that the difference between the New York version and that of the businessman in Bermuda in the lime-colored shorts: the length of the shorts and the long socks create the more formal look that I would prefer for business.
Women's Bermuda shorts should also follow the same to-the-knee rule that should be established in a written dress code for both men and women to clarify expectations. Of course long trousers, pants suits and dresses do look smarter, but with the demands placed saving dollars in the workplace by raising thermostats to the barely comfortable level, executives and workers can be more efficient, and smartly dressed, if allowed to wear comfortable and appropriate season business attire.
I know this experience. My first teaching in the north assignments involved playground duty before the advent of the pantsuit. Playground and bus duty was a frozen nightmare. Female teachers were permitted to put on long pants under their dresses for duration of that duty. Then to the coatroom to quickly remove boots and pants while leaving the students unattended.
We were thrilled when the commandment came from above that pantsuits would be permitted as long as the tunic was long enough to cover the entire hip, which means they were as long as some of the mini-skirted dresses that were coming into fashion. (Of course we were never allowed that attire! It would have been a bad example and very impractical.)
Perhaps short will become professional dress for teachers during the Spring and Summer months. Here in Florida, that's most of the year.
Update: United Nations raises thermostat five degrees: "Suit jackets and ties will be optional."