I knew Washington D.C. was called a swamp for a reason but I didn’t fully grasp it until I actually moved down there. If you’re a high-ranking official working on the hill, wearing a suit to work every day is not that big of a deal.
You walk from your insanely expensive air conditioned home or apartment to your air-conditioned, chauffeur-driven Tahoe and then finally into your air conditioned office in Rayburn, Longworth, or Cannon.
When you’re as low on the totem pole as I was, things are a little bit different.
It’s 6:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning in mid-June and I can tell just by looking out of my window that it’s going to be a fucking scorcher today. The air conditioning in the apartment I rented isn’t doing its job.
I’m cooler than I would be without an A.C. unit altogether, but the one that’s been placed in the apartment I’m staying in appears to be around ten years old.
Cold air comes in spurts and I silently curse the unit and the landlord simultaneously as I begin the day. For me, Tuesday morning means a shit, shower, and a shave before completely skipping breakfast because I need to allot five to ten minutes to put on a full suit.
I walk from my apartment to a train stop three blocks away. By the time I board the train with what feels like a million other people I am sweating from every pore in my body.
I can hardly move in the death trap that is a D.C. Metro train but that is the least of my worries right now. The hair gel I’ve put in is dripping down my forehead and the shower I took just thirty minutes ago is rendered completely worthless.
I can remember a period of time when I was living in D.C. and arriving at work every day in a pool – nay, a lake – of sweat. My dry cleaning bill during the months that I lived there was astronomical.
At one point during the summer, it got so bad that I was bringing an extra dress shirt with me to change into around lunch time because of the sweating.
This, of course, didn’t really help because I’d step outside to grab lunch or smoke a cigarette, naturally start sweating again, and then I’d have to go back into the A.C. and cringe as all of that sweat just dried onto my body.
This sob story brings me to an issue that for too long has flown totally under the radar. I know that in D.C. men are always going to have to wear suits to work because that’s just how it is there. But the rest of the country? I think we need to take a cold, hard look at what we make men with corporate jobs wear during the summer.
Antiquated fashion rules for men working in corporate America just need to fall by the wayside during the summer. I don’t care where you live. You could cut, paste, and insert that same story I just told into any city in America during the summer.
Every guy who has to wear a suit during May, June, July, and August is perpetually perspiring. Why are men forced to wear suits during these god awful months? How about a little leeway? A polo and khakis would be a step up from the two piece suits WITH A LONG SLEEVE SHIRT underneath.
I’ll hear the counterargument all of the time that you can simply buy a linen or seersucker suit to counteract the heat.
But even those suits are still pretty goddamn hot. You’re still wearing pants and a jacket. It’s not like you’re swapping the suit for shorts and a t-shirt so don’t pretend like a “summer” suit is going to save you from sweating.
If you work an office job that requires formal work attire every day you are not held to the same standards that women are. Think about how insane it is for men to have to wear a jacket, shirt, tie, and pants to work during the hottest, most humid days of the summer while the fairer sex is free to wear free flowing dresses and skirts.
Global warming is real and showing up to work dripping in sweat is not ideal, but every day millions of men get on public transportation or into their 2010 Toyota Camrys and drive to work completely drenched in sweat. Somethings got to give because it’s been 90 degrees in Chicago every day this week and I’m dying.
I’m getting one wear out of a suit before I have to take it to the dry cleaners due to sweat. Please, corporate America – for the love of God – ease up on the formal attire rule during the dog days of summer. My ass, armpits, forehead, and wallet will thank you. .
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