Suits Revolting: Bangladesh PM Bans Suits, Ties to Conserve Energy

By Allison Bond | September 3, 2009 1:36 pm

suitThe dress code in Bangladesh just got a lot more casual, thanks to an effort to cut the nation’s energy usage. According to the prime minister’s orders, men can no longer wear ties, jackets, or suits to work. The new rule is part of a plan to combat the power shortage the country is facing. And during the year’s hottest months (March through November), men need only wear pants and shirts, which can even be untucked(!).

Bangladesh has taken other measures to decrease energy usage, according to BBC:

Officials and ministers have also been told not to turn their air-conditioners below 24C [or 75 degrees Fahrenheit]. In June, the government introduced daylight saving, and the clocks moved forward by one hour, in another attempt to cut energy consumption.

It has said it will also soon spend $6bn (£3.6bn) on new power plants, operated by private companies. The current state-owned plants have not been able to keep up with Bangladesh’s large population and its economy, which has been growing at about 6% annually for the past five years.

Seems like this idea could be, well, suitable for other heat-drenched places such as the southern United States. After all, it’s actually pretty ridiculous to bundle up for work, then use valuable energy to keep the buildings we work in comfortably frigid.

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Image: flickr /skyfaller

  • Janne

    Japan does something similar nowadays, with “Cool Biz” – during the hot summer months, businessmen, administrators and other suit-wearing people are expected to forego neck ties and coats (or only wear them during customer meetings) and turn up the airconditioner a couple of degrees.

    And surprisingly, it seems to have caught on big time. This past few summers neckties have been few and far between, and my morning commute have been full of people sporting relaxed open-neck shirts rather than the white stiff-collared business shirt of winter. Clothing stores are happy as they finally have some kind of summer wear to sell to men (not just women) and the salarymen themselves seem rather more relaxed when they’re not being slowly cooked in their own juices on the train anymore. For less formal offices there’s even a summer trend of wearing Okinawan patterned shirts, making for some much needed splashes of color in the office.

  • amphiox

    “After all, it’s actually pretty ridiculous to bundle up for work, then use valuable energy to keep the buildings we work in comfortably frigid”

    I noticed this when I moved to Houston from frigid Canada last year. In the peak summer months the AC in most public buildings is turned up so high that you actually had to put on extra clothing not to feel cold.

  • Peter R. Limburg

    How true! When I worked in an office building, it always seemed ridiculous to me that we had to put on sweaters in the office during the warm months when the a/c was on, and take off our jackets in winter to cope with the excessive heat. But management always maintained that it was more efficient this way, with central climate control. Nonsense!

  • Atom

    Suddenly the cubicle is not so stuffy.
    I always bristle when I have to overdress for something inconsequential.
    -But there is also a “uniform” effect. When everyone is trying to look “done up” but part of the pack I think perhaps there’s an impact on peer motivated behavior. Silent competition to look the sharpest without appearing contrived. That competitive spirit could spread into other more meaningful activities besides finding the perfect tie to fit in.
    Is there a benefit in productivity when workers are mildy inconvenienced uniformly? Hazing is what bonds frat/sor groups. It’s survivable hardship that is the catalyst for bonding. A tightly bonded group should be more stable and productive I would guess. I’d be very interested in a follow up article that compares pre and post 3-piece suit office productivity with graphs and piecharts. Then I’d like to never ever wear a suit again regardless of the article’s conclusion. 😀

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