Rethink office fashion in hot S'pore

Ms Denise Chong raised an excellent point about attire in Singapore (How about T-shirt, shorts and slippers as national costume?; Feb 18).

Aesthetics and fashion are all well and good but clothing should first be functional and comfortable.

And that means wearing clothes that are appropriate to the context, encompassing not just societal norms but the physical or environmental aspects as well.

While singlets, shorts and slippers would certainly not suit a formal work environment, short-sleeved shirts and khakis with loafers could actually be smart enough as office wear. Wearing long-sleeved shirts or blouses is stifling enough in our humid equatorial climate, let alone ties and jackets.

Wearing such burdensome attire results in two things.

First, the need for more air-conditioning indoors, which is environmentally unfriendly and results in more electricity and water being consumed.

Second, as a result of the sometimes Arctic conditions in offices, workers who have perspired during their commute run the risk of catching a chill in their damp clothes.

We need to recalibrate our office-attire definitions to suit the climate here in Singapore, not because we are "bo chup" (uninterested) about archaic historical precedence but simply because we are using our "otak" (brains) and keeping a cool head.

Adam Reutens-Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2018, with the headline 'Rethink office fashion in hot S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe