Dress for Success — Parched Earth Edition

July 19, 2012

Urban Word of the Day: Successorize
Noun: Item of clothing or apparel used to make you look or feel more successful

In the way-near future, clothes and success will constitute whether one lives or dies — forget the business world, the dress will be for climate change.
With news this week satellite images are showing the Petermann Glacier, in northwest Greenland, has let go of a slab of ice twice the size of Manhattan, and, now 80 percent of the continental US is under some form of drought, and, temperatures across this country has shattered thousands of records this spring and summer, and, California’s ‘happy cows’ are indeed more jovial, but will produce less milk as the environment gets hotter, and this morning, the eastern US is lashed by dangerous storms with “damaging winds, destructive hail and deadly cloud-to-ground lightning” (some of those winds listed at more than 60-miles-an-hour).

(Illustration found here).

As the weather continues in this fashion, will the fashion change?
This look at clothing for the coming climate apocalypse was pipped from a piece at Treehugger where the stupid tie worn by the entire world has to be the first piece of modern garb to vanish in the withering heat.

Both are acknowledgements that European business dress, now adopted around the entire world largely regardless of local climate, is entirely ill-suited for temperatures above something in the range of 75-80°F, depending on personal preference, and cut and material of the suit.
Opening up the collar surely is a good thing in the heat — after all the modern necktie is the long lost relative of neckwear worn by Roman legionnaires for the purposes of staying warm.
It’s a diminutive yet very warm scarf, tightly wrapped around the neck, and not intended to absorb sweat.

Consider for a moment the way traditional dress has evolved around the world in places where temperatures we complain about in much of the US as abnormal hellish abominations (which we’re helping create, it deserves repeating, through burning of fossil fuels) are simply normal, long-standing climatic patterns.
In dry hot arid climates (think the Sahara, Arabia, parts of north and western India and Pakistan) traditional dress actually covers the entire body, often the head as well.
Though some level of cultural modesty is involved in some places, at the heart of this is really defense against the sun.
I can tell you from personal experience in 110°F+ temperatures, with little humidity, that the advantages of keeping the head covered by a loosely draped cotton scarf in terms of sun protection far outweigh all other factors.
Ditto for actually keeping the arms and legs fully covered with loose-fitting, airy, breathable clothing.
It’s all about the sun and protecting the body.
If there’s a breeze, such garb actually grabs some of the wind and helps cool.

Keeping cool will absolutely be what’s happening — however,  even with the weather going bonkers, would the right-wing, bat-shit crazy side of the aisle handle a head scarf?
Sharia law!

And on the coolness — Tuesday was the 110th anniversary of air conditioning.
From BoingBoing:

A junior engineer from a furnace company figured out a solution so simple that it had eluded everyone from Leonardo da Vinci to the naval engineers ordered to cool the White House when President James A. Garfield was dying: controlling humidity.
The junior engineer who tackled the problem was Willis Carrier, who went on to start Carrier Corporation.
The solution he devised involved fans, ducts, heaters and perforated pipes … Carrier’s plan was to force air across pipes filled with cool water from a well between the two buildings, but in 1903, he added a refrigerating machine to cool the pipes faster.

And here we are frying in the sunshine of a dying planet.
Depending where you are this morning, dress for the weather, please.

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