Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018
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Sensible summer dress at national events

Summers in The Bahamas are hot. If you don’t have air conditioning in your house you will be drenched in sweat getting ready in the mornings even before you get in your car to go to work.

The daily summer temperature is 90-plus degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity. The heat index is regularly over 100 degrees.

Our independence celebration (July 10) falls in the summer. There are various outdoor celebrations in the heat to commemorate the country’s birthday.

We are a former British colony. Our old colonial masters are from a place with a different climate. At the time of writing this piece it was 62 degrees in London – good weather for a blazer. Here it was in the 80s.

It is silly and dangerous for our government leaders to dress in jackets for outdoor events in the summer. Wearing excessive clothing in sweltering conditions could lead to dehydration and blacking out.

Trying to live up to European dress standards outdoors in the heat of Caribbean summers makes our leaders look ridiculous. They are drenched. Some keep handkerchiefs in their hands to wipe away the sweat.

A nice short-sleeved, collared shirt for men is appropriate and smart looking. For women a cool, sleeveless dress or one with straps works too. Looking nice is possible while also taking the temperature into consideration.

Colonialism was not just physical oppression. It was mental too. We think proper is what the Europeans do where they live. We must realize that as an independent people we have the ability to make our own rules, standards and dress codes based on what works for us here and now. We do not need to mark our standards to theirs.

It was good to see the prime minister and quite a few MPs and ministers at the independence celebration at Clifford Park in short sleeves. This was not the first time, of course, that happened.

We hope the trend continues and one day soon no one is sitting ridiculously out there in a jacket. The more senior members of government set the tone toward common sense, others will follow.

To emancipate the remainder who think they need heavy clothing in the heat, an outdoor summer dress code that officially dispenses with jackets and other “winter-wear” may be needed for national events.

The Bahamas is 45 now. It’s time we grow up with this simple thing. Let’s celebrate and socialize in style and comfort. Let’s stop trying to look like the people who left rule of this country four and a half decades ago.

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