Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday overturned a 26-year-old decree that required top bureaucrats to wear a suit and tie, saying they could now opt for “more comfortable” clothing instead.
“We must adopt clothing that suits our weather and climate,” Sirisena said. “That is why I say that officials no longer need to wear suits. From now on, it is not a mandatory requirement.”
He made the announcement while speaking at a conference in Colombo and said that the 1991 decree had forced officials in the tropical country to suffer in uncomfortable clothing.
Sri Lanka’s civil service is largely based on traditions inherited from the country’s former British colonial rulers who governed the island nation from 1815 until 1948.
Unlike bureaucrats, male Sri Lankan politicians have traditionally opted to wear the national dress – a long-sleeved cotton tunic and sarong – instead of Western clothing while in public in an effort to burnish their nationalistic credentials.