To wear or not to wear Bermuda shorts at work? This is the question that Brazil has been discussing lately.
You have probably heard about the heat wave that is hitting Brazil this summer (well, winter here in the US). In Rio de Janeiro, for instance, thermal sensation hit 122F (50C). That is hot!
Contrary to what many people think, Brazil has pretty formal dress etiquette for most work situations. You may think of Brazilians always wearing their havaianas and beach wear, but stereotypes aside we don’t spend most of our time at the beach. We have to face gigantic traffic jams under excruciating heat to get to work. Not everyone enjoys the luxury of air conditioning in their cars. Although more Brazilians than ever have been able to purchase a car in the past few years, cars are still very expensive and having AC in the car makes it significantly more so.
We are not as casual as you may think when we are at work. For instance, most of us do not wear sneakers for work. In many companies, jeans are only advised on Fridays. In general we do not wear t-shirts to go to work. I am not talking about high executives only. So when Brazilians make the case for Bermuda shorts at work, it is a big deal. This is why this headline made me frown: “Brazilians – Who Else? – Make The Case For Bermuda Shorts At Work.”
I remember when I was living in Brazil. My brother is a lawyer and as such he has to wear suit and tie to work every day. No, he is not a rich lawyer. He is a hard-working, competent lawyer, who until not too long ago did not have AC in his car. Can you imagine getting stuck in traffic with temperatures around 100F wearing long sleeve and a tie? Not fun.
Now there is a movement trying to make Bermuda shorts acceptable in the workplace during the summer. The mayor of Rio, for example, was in the news because he attended a fancy new year’s celebration wearing khaki shorts. The mayor wanted to serve as an example for the acceptance of Bermuda shorts for city employees during the peak of the summer.
What is your opinion on this issue? Are Bermuda shorts acceptable in the workplace?
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