Dressing for the heat: South Korea's solution

Dressing for the heat: South Korea's solution

Half of Canada is in a heatwave, trying to decide what clothes are work and weather appropriate. Maybe we should take a page out of Seoul's book and relax dress codes city-wide.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon urged civil servants to wear short pants and sandals in the sweltering summer months from June to August, in a new campaign known as “Cool Biz”. The mayor himself walked the talk when he performed on the catwalk as a model for the “Cool Biz” fashion show.

But it's not fashion that's driving the campaign - it's part of the government's efforts to save energy and combat electricity shortages. The air-conditioning in all government offices remain switched off during the country’s sweaty summer months, until the temperature goes above 28C – that is 28C inside the building. That's equivalent to about 30C outside.

In a message sent to the civil service, employees are encouraged to dress casually when performing official duties such as reports, meetings, and event participation, and especially when reporting directly to Mayor Park, the message said. Employees responsible for civil complaints were exempted.

However, Mayor Park does not plan to wear shorts to work - his AC will stay on, with "gout" cited as the reason.