In an effort to reduce energy consumption, Japan introduced a “cool biz” initiative about ten years ago. Offices (and households) were encouraged to limit their air conditioning use and set temperatures no lower than 28 degrees Celsius. To compensate, businessmen have been encouraged to wear cooler-wearing clothes in the summer months. That means: no jacket or tie, or sometimes even long-sleeved shirts.
Apparently, the campaign has been quite successful. Energy consumption has dropped (although, so have the sales for traditional neckwear). Here are a few examples of how Japanese men are dressing in this “cool biz” campaign.
Some have ditched traditional suits and sport coats in the offices. In their place are now tailored vests with short-sleeved shirts. Traditionalists will cringe, but the vest here helps keep a modicum of professionalism in the face of a short-sleeved shirt worn open-collared. The other option, of course, is to go with a long-sleeved shirt with a tie (something we don’t endorse). Neither are particularly good options, which maybe indicates how men continue to struggle to look good in the office when not wearing a jacket.
It’s hard to wear shorts in a business environment, but this man made a valiant attempt. He wore a simple, button-up shirt with well-tailored navy shorts. The trim lines and above-the-knee look helped keep this from looking too sloppy.
This is the most popular “cool biz” look – a solid-colored, polo shirt with trim chinos and a pair of simple, leather shoes. I spotted this man recently in the combination and carrying a handheld, paper fan. Useful these days in Kobe, where temperatures have been soaring.