Simanaitis Says

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SARTORIAL COOL PART 1

WHAT WITH RETIREMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, politics, and all, my current sartorial style is defined by statements on my T-shirts: “KEEP CALM and PURSUE QUESTIONS EMPIRICALLY,” “THE DELLOW REGISTER,” “C:\DOS C:\DOS\RUN RUN\DOS\RUN,” and the like. Occasionally back in the old days, I was rather more traditional in attire, but it is Casual Friday weeklong now. 

In support of this, Christopher Flavelle reports on “Hot Couture: How a Warming Planet is Changing the Clothes We Wear,” The New York Times, September 4, 2022. 

This and following illustrations by Josie Norton, The New York Times, September 3, 2022. 

Favelle begins, “Shirts made from the same polymer as plastic bags. Jeans infused with crushed jade. Garments constructed using computerized knitting for super ventilation, or made with cooling technology designed for astronauts by NASA.” Here, in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow, are tidbits from his article, together with several sartorial confessions of my own. 

Just Wear Less. This more or less typifies my own personal style. Favelle cites the popularity of “‘hoochie daddy” shorts, those having an inseam of 5 inches or less. A sample of my current shorts (by no means bought recently) displays inseams of 6-7 inches, not quite hoochie, but considerably shorter than traditional Bermuda shorts’ length.

Plus, invariably from Memorial Day through well after Labor Day, I forsake socks and mocs for sandals. Which reminds me of years ago when I lived on St. Thomas, where sandals were acceptable year-around. One style had soles of cutdown racing-tire tread. Most fashionable alternatives were locally made by Zora the Sandal Lady. She began by fitting you with strap-on oversize soles to be worn establishing your custom foot shape. Clumping around in these bluntly rectangular Zora’s was, in itself, a fashion statement.  

Climate Change. “In the past five years,” Favelle observes, “changes in weather alone have increased sales of shorts and sandals by half a percentage point, while reducing sales of fleece and outerwear by 1 percent, according to Evan Gold, executive vice president at Planalytics, a company that quantifies the impact of weather on consumer demand.”

Favelle continues, “Given the size of the market—Americans spend roughly $25 billion each month at clothing and shoe stores—those changes represent a significant amount of money, Mr. Gold said.” 

Protection from the Sun. Favelle spoke with George Havenith, professor of environmental physiology at England’s Loughborough University: “But showing more skin only goes so far as a coping strategy for the heat, Dr. Havenith said, noting that skin needs sun protection. So those who can’t stay out of the sun entirely—or who work in an office with a dress code—need other options.”

Tomorrow in Part 2, we examine breathability, wicking, and environmental tradeoffs of sartorial cool. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022 

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