Monday, 10 August 2015

Bags at the Market

Closet Content Analysis: Market Bags


My Choice: A bag from Madagascar

Choices: Market Bags For Sale. The prices of market bags being sold at the market, particularly in July and August, tend to be pricier than in the off season. Bien sur. That makes sense. 

Photo taken by JoyD at Ste. Foy La Grande Saturday market, Gironde, July, 2015

More Choices: Everyone carries a bag of one kind or another. Some rely on the vendors to give them plastic bags - in the south-west of France it is "poche", not "sac" but most bring their own to carry their purchases. For the most part, you will see bags similar to the one the man in the purple shirt is carrying.


Photo taken by JoyD at Ste. Foy La Grande Saturday market, Gironde, July, 2015.

Photo taken by JoyD at
Ste. Foy La Grande Saturday
market, Gironde, July, 2015.

Photo taken by JoyD at the Perigieux Market, Dordogne, sometime in the past.

Made in Madagascar Shopping Bag. Photo by JoyD, August, 2015.
Purchased in La Périgourdine, Pineuilh, Gironde, France.
Nice & New: I was pleased to find a bag made in Madagascar at the local La Périgourdine, a regional co-operative. It was just under 10 Euro, about half what you would have to pay at the summer market. Bags of this nature are used in the grocery stores as well as in the open air markets to cart your food purchases.

The blue and yellow bag I found was produced by a small independent group of producers under the title of "Lekelygasy". The distributor in France can be contacted by email at baldaufdiffusion@wanadoo.fr. The Madagascar contact information is lekelygasy@gmail.com. I couldn't find out much about them online because my search words kept on defaulting to "likely gay". Sometimes the anticipated default is not exactly what one might be actually looking for. Nonetheless, I believe that this type of organization is worth my support.



Friday, 7 August 2015

How do the Rich Shop?


Closet Content Analysis: In Response to a Television Documentary

I suppose when your income is 50 billion per year, spending 15 million on a shopping trip to Paris is considered a tad overboard but nothing that couldn't be handled. But maybe not, because King Abdullah (deceased since this occurrence) would not pay Maha Al-Sudairi's bills, and so she has developed quite a reputation for "flamber sans payer" - "a blaze without paying", particularly in Paris. Considering that King Abdullah had 30 children from approximately a dozen wives, I imagine his daily budget would be more than what I make or have made in an entire year - probably in an entire career. But that's strictly speculation. Keeping track of all those children, in-laws and wives could have been a tad annoying especially if they were partial to shopping trips.

So how do the rich shop? Apparently Maha Al-Sudairi walks into her favourite designer boutique, orders one in each colour (another speculation) and then hands the sales associate a lovely engraved card reading, "payment to follow" with her benefactor's contact information. Nice. But then she has to arrange for (or rather a staff member arranges for) a storage unit to keep everything organized until she has the inclination to use it. Hmmm?

I can't even wrap my head around daydreaming about such a predicament.

As it is I am thinking I have too much and I am being wasteful. Everything is relative I suppose. So after watching the documentary and reflecting on how the rich shop, here are some of those ideas: 

One woman, who is both rich and famous, doesn't like to spend her own money and expects designers to give her freebies. After all, if she is seen wearing something, others will want to buy the exact same thing and so this is considered helpful to the designer and her commission is haute couture. The rich get richer.

Others, like the Saudi princess, go on elaborate shopping trips to exotic places, dodging in and out of luxury brand store fronts taking great pleasure in the hunt and buying everything that appeals. Some hide the sums from their benefactors or set a budget, although budget may not be the most appropriate word, if shopping on their own dime.

Others, buy one in every colour or 30 of the same thing because the fit is perfect or they only wear a t-shirt once and then it is done. OK, next.

Some never look at the price tag but then will take their clothing to consignment shops after two or three wears. Even the rich recognize re-sale value. If something goes on sale, and they have that item, it's time to send it off to the consignment store or give it away. Heaven forbid someone might think they bought something on sale. 

And then there are those who, like the two cowboy brother ranchers in Alberta, Canada, were worth more dead than alive. They came into town once a year to buy a new shirt and a new pair of jeans.

So what constitutes rich? And how do the rich shop? How do the very rich shop? Relatively speaking . . . as many different ways as everyone else, except that there are more digits behind the dollar sign.





Sunday, 2 August 2015

End of Sale Month in France


Closet Content Analysis: Sale Shopping

NEW Choices: A bag, blazer, iron and linens

NICE          NOTE-WORTHY           NO THANKS

The two months the French anticipate for sales - soldes - are July and January and I fortunately have been and will be here for both this year. Presently,with July done, storefronts entice us with further and final reductions. Last week, Marques Avenue in Romans-sur-Isere was a sale destination for me and "up to 70% off" in the name brand shops inspired me to replace basics at "grocery store" prices. 


Red linen Caroll blazer. Photo by JoyD.
Note-Worthy: One still has to be diligent even when it comes to sale prices. I bought a red linen blazer in the Caroll store at Marques Avenue while in Roman-sur-Isere. It was 70% off the last markdown, which happened to be 110.00 Euro. I paid 30.30 Euro. Great - I was happy. Then, while shopping in Valence, I went into the Caroll store. The advertisements announced further reductions based on the colour coded percentages. I found the blazer I had purchased in Romans. The final markdown was to be 40% off the last markdown which was 150.00 Euro (note: 40 Euro more than the marked down price in Romans). 70% off 110. or 40% off 150.? OMG, my previous purchase was my deal of the decade. Roman is only 17 km. away from Valence. Of course I understand local loyalty but Marques Avenue must be very tempting for consumers in Valence. There must be a difference you say . . . well . . . yes . . . selection is limited in outlet stores but in my case the colour choice was the only difference. The linen blazer at the Marques Avenue location was red and the blazer in the regular retail outlet in Valence was a hot pink. I guess red was not the "tendance" this year. However red is a basic colour that I needed in my blazer collection and it was a better choice than the hot pink for me.


Purple Wrap Dress. Photo by JoyD.
No Thanks: I also broke one of my No Thanks rules while in Bourg de Péage. The price was that good! 19 Euros could buy me a three course lunch but instead I bought a dress that was marked down several times; albeit a dress that was 2 kg too tight on me. I did go for lunch anyway. The way I figure it, I will hang it on my fridge, inspiring me to lose weight and remind me about the choices I need to make when opening the fridge. It might be a tad big as a fridge magnet but I believe it will serve a functional purpose as well as a conversation piece.

Nice & Note-Worthy: For my linen closet, I decided to buy some Anne de Solene linens. I have been a Yves Delorme advocate for years but this year the outlet store in Marques Avenue was rather . . . unwelcoming . . . it was hot and there were no lights or air conditioning on in the store - there was a fan and lights on in the back room . . . there were several things that were "not done" by the sales associate that I took slight offence to and so I never bought. I may regret it in the big picture but at the time, I was miffed enough that I chose not to buy. The woman at the Anne de Solene store was amiable, knowledgeable and accommodating. In this case, service was as important as the quality of the item; although I am starting to regret my choice of not buying a particular flat sheet at Yves Delorme. My weakness is that the name, the brand, is what keeps me loyal to Yves Delorme.

Note-Worthy: To keep my clothes in perfect form, I found a Rowenta iron, made in France, that was a bargain. The regular outlet price was around 180. Euro and was on sale for 114. A friend informed me that he had purchased a Rowenta iron of the same calibre for 150. Euro almost 10 years ago now. This purchase was a "no-brainer".

The Best NiceI bought a Lancel bag to add to my collection - at 40% off the outlet price. If I factor in the tax rebate for foreigners, I bought a great bag for 250. Euros that will carry me into the winter. I'm happy! There's a post here so I'll take some photos and let you analyze the purse later.

I've written about sale shopping before:
July and August Summer Sales
Summer Sales Welcome Return to France
End of July/August Summer Sales
Clothing & Accessories to Buy on Sale
Sale Shopping for Clothing
Shopping in Factory Outlet Stores


Monday, 13 July 2015

Sub-Categories of Comfortable Casual

Closet Content Analysis: What kind of comfortable casual?

Choices: Fitness to Business

This business of categorization is a work in progress. Over the next while, I'll be refining, adapting, substituting, combining and rearranging the organization of these categories, but here's the beginning of my attempt at creating the Comfortable Casual sub-categories. 

If you are a Comfortable Casual dresser, which one of the labels suits your closet?  


Photo Source: Aliexpress
Finess Casual: It started innocently enough, you didn't change after going to the gym one day and now you don't bother dressing differently for most of your social or even work activities. You probably don't have any pants other than the yoga variety except for a couple of pairs of blue jeans. Your mother or mother-in-law wants to say to you, "Cropped leggings are not pants". All the tops you own have been purchased in a sports running store or for your more formal outfits at Lululemon. If you do buy any clothing in a regular clothing store, you mix and match within the category of "Athleisure", a term used in Europe, to describe a mix of fitness and regular clothes. Even when you have to buy a dress or skirt you opt for various weights of "sweatshirt" fabric or something synthetic that washes up and doesn't need ironing.

For the guys: Muscle shirts and baggy sports shorts, those that belong primarily in the gym, have become your summer choices. "Sweats" make up your winter wardrobe. You have a couple of pairs of Dockers, for dress-up, and of course, jeans.

Photo Source: MailOnline
Sport (Team) Casual: If Rihanna is doing it . . . Your look includes hooded sweatshirts, brand-insignia t-shirts, and university gift shop sweatpants but when you want to get dressed up, you wear blue jeans. For the most part everything is oversized in the "tops" category of clothing. The shoulder seams hang halfway down your arm. You've stopped buying t-shirts in the women's department and are buying men's large even though you're probably a women's medium. You probably have also collected oversize workout wear, sports gear and jerseys from ex-boyfriends or male family members who were all tall and broad and you are trim and under 5' 3". Colour choices range in those of your favourite sports team or university town. Green and orange are not always the most becoming colours. And you truly believe those little football or baseball bat earrings are adorable.

For the guys: The only t-shirts you own, other than your favourite sports team jerseys, are promotional t-shirts primarily from beer companies.


Fitness Chic/Active Chic/Sporty Chic: You don't work out, for the most part, but you buy high end Stella McCartney for Adidas articles that will never see the gym. You wear these clothes to the office as well since most things you own are more upscale than fitness casual. This category reminds me of a poster I saw that read, "none of my yoga pants have ever been to yoga". When the trend dictates, spangles, sequins and embroidery embellishes what would be ordinary workout wear. You have a variety of "gym-style" shoes that never get worn out because you don't actually run or workout in them. You wear North Face proudly and well you should even though the only side of a mountain you have ever seen is from your hotel window.

For the guys: You don't golf, but you can compete with the pros when it comes to your perfectly poised golf attire. In the summer it's shorts and golf shirts, in the winter its long pants and golf shirts.


Photo Source: WhoWhatWear
Business Casual: You don't dress much differently for work or play but everything fits perfectly. Cotton, silk and linen are your choices. You cringe at anything polyester. Put a blazer on with your jeans and t-shirt and you are "dressed up" for the evening. Put a blazer on with a pair of pants and a t-shirt and you can go to work without feeling underdressed. The blazer, unstructured or fitted, is your go-to item of clothing and keeps you within bounds when the occasion is a tad more upscale or lets you remove it when everyone else is in shorts and t-shirts. The choice of footwear is what takes your outfits to the next level.

For the guys: A t-shirt with a suit or blue jeans, a t-shirt and a blazer is the basic formula for business casual. It's always a crew neck or v-neck t-shirt. Everything fits impeccably.

Casual Chic: Even though there isn't a blazer in your closet, you always look good in the well fitted casual clothing you have collected. Everything fits well in the shoulders and on the hips but most of your clothes are built to hang loosely over the body. Ellen Tracy represents most of what you choose to wear. 

Here's the problem with the all inclusive category of Comfortable Casual generally - it allows us to get sloppy and that's when it just isn't comfortable. It's all about the fit, no matter what kind of casual you are. 

Check out what I have written before on this topic:
Comfortable Casual or Business Attire
Summer Office Wear - What is Too Casual?
What is "Comfortable Casual"?
Knee-Length Shorts at Work and Play
Defining Casual Clothing
What Kind of Comfortable?

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

London Bombing Miss

On the morning of Thursday, 7 July 2005, four male Islamists separately detonated three bombs in quick succession aboard London Underground trains across the city and later, a fourth on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. Fifty-two civilians were killed and over 700 more were injured . . . wikipedia

What a difference two hours made ten years ago. My husband and I arrived at Heathrow, on the overnight flight from Canada, and proceeded through London on our way to Wales on the morning of July 7th, 2005. We were in the underground on the Piccadilly line between Kings Cross and Russel Square, one of the three bombing locations, prior to the 8:50 A.M. detonations. 

I had wanted to stay at the airport and shower, have breakfast and take my time getting to Wales. My husband, on the other hand, wanted to get to Bridgend before lunch and he insisted we go directly to the trains and make our way through London. We did. Two hours later we were in Wales and heard about the bombings. The details about the one at Russel Square were particularly poignant for us.

The images we saw on television that evening while we sat with our friend Pat in her home in Bridgend were surreal. "We were there," we kept repeating to ourselves as if somehow we needed to affirm that we were safe and alive.

I can only shrug and affirm that "my number" was not yet up. 

Read more on History.

Sandals - the Gladiator Style - Masculine or Feminine?

Closet Content Analysis: Sandals

Choices: Gladiator Battles



Isabeli Fontana. Photo Source: Patrick Demarchelier, Vogue, September, 2008.
What varieties of footwear are referred to as "gladiator"? For me, it is a simple sandal that essentially laces or buckles up the leg to the knee. That describes the ones that gods, goddesses and gladiators wear in the movies or the likes of Isabeli Fontana wear for fashion shoots.

Vogue writer Laird Borrelli-Persson outlined a short history of the gladiator sandal in her 2015 spring trend piece

My question is: Is the "caged" sandal that reaches the ankle and stops there, also referred to as gladiator? "Google images" confirms that all sandals, whether ending at the ankle or knee are known as "gladiator" sandals.

BrianD relates what happened in 2007 when he saw a post online about gladiator sandals. 

Photo Source: Brian Davis
"Oddly enough it was from a guy and he was sharing pictures of his Nine West Jobilyn gladiator sandals . . . I'm sure it's no surprise to you that I started seeking a pair for myself. The funny thing is I went to the same Nine West store where I bought my first pair of Nine West flats and it was the same sales girl that sold me this pair of gladiator sandals. Unlike regular sandals, gladiator sandals have that "caged" feeling because they are buckled up around your ankles . . . I was soooo excited when I bought those Nine West Jobilyn gladiator sandals.  They were really "in fashion" for women. Although they were pretty feminine they still had a unisex feel to them. I guess you could say I was happy how they looked on me.  The double buckle strap ensured they didn't slip off my feet (and) . . . gave them a nice look but was somewhat difficult to buckle and unbuckle . . . A lot of years had passed between getting my first pair of Glads and my first pair of Tory sandals . . . I didn't buy another pair of women's sandals till April last year. YUP, you guessed it, my Tory Burch Millers . . . Now that I am a complete Tory diehard customer I'd have to say I like my Tory sandals better than my Nine West gladiators. First, the soles are rubber or rubber like material and they have great traction and they are very thin and therefore don't look so "clunky" like most men's sandals. They are easy to slip on and off. I have the TB Millers in lots of fun colours. And lastly they have the iconic Tory logo over the top of your foot. So while the gladiators look more masculine or unisex, it is the TB Miller (or any TB sandals) that I now prefer.

Photo by Brian Davis
 When Brian wrote, "I didn't buy another pair of women's sandals till April last year", I have always thought the gladiator sandals were gender-less. I tended to avoid them because they look too bulky to be worn on my feet. As Brian has shared, he likes the thinner sole on women's shoes. Men's sandals do not need to have a heavy sole for most purposes either so the Nine West Jobilyn gladiator sandals look as "uni-sex" as any shoe I have ever studied and as far as gladiators go, these are a winner. Similar to Brian, I do prefer the TB Miller's insofar as sandals go.

Over the past year or two I have taken photos of sandals and shoes at the markets I have visited here in the south-west. This collage demonstrates a smattering of gladiators and you can decide who wins or loses the battle. They are definitely unisex since we cannot discern which are female or male feet and that is the biggest plus for the gladiator sandal.


Photos by JoyD. This collage was made using http://PhotoCollage.net











Saturday, 4 July 2015

Dressing for the Weather


Closet Content Analysis: Weather Appropriate

Choices: Hot Weather Nice


My French friends and neighbours always ask me what I wear when it is minus 40 on the Canadian prairies. My husband and I have gotten into this odd routine of returning to Canada in the winter. I first attempt to deflate the amount of time it is actually minus 40 and then describe our outerwear and the concept of layering. First, they just don't have the minus-double-digit type of outerwear that we do in Canada. However, the tables have turned as we move into a week of plus 38 here in the South-West of France. What do you wear when it's plus 40?

Our neighbours, Danielle and Abel came over to gift us with some wine from a "fete" we were unable to attend. Of course, we invited them in for "apero". I then told her that we would be staying inside because of the heat. I attempted, in my limited French to explain that when it is minus 40 in Canada we stay warm as we hide in our house and when it is plus 40 in the south-west of France we stay cool as we hide in our house. Some things truly are universal.

We can layer and dress appropriately for the weather in a cold climate but what in fact do you wear when it is this hot? The first thing to do is analyze what is worn in climates that experience this type of heat on a consistent basis . . .

Fibre Content: linen, cotton, silk - never ever polyesters. Think of wrapping yourself in plastic - this does not need explanation.

Design and Structure: Loose fitting, draping rather than clinging to the body, draw-string (no elastic waist bands or heavy zippers), protection from the sun's rays - meaning long pants and long sleeves; believe it or not.

Colour: white, beige, pale blues or other pale colours

Accessories: Hats, sandal style footwear.

The tendency in western countries is to put on a polyester bathing suit and sit in the sun or water whereupon sunburn and heat stroke take their toll. Yes, I understand the breeze across the water might add a bit of coolness but if you are dashing in and out of the water and sitting in the hot sun to dry off, the only thing you accomplish is burning your skin because of the reflection off the water.


Nice: This is my absolute favourite hot weather outfit.



Linen Pants and Top Purchased in Sorrento.
Photo by JoyD.
I bought this linen top and pants in Sorrento, Italy. It's a loose-weave fabric with shell buttons and the pants have a draw-string. I have had it for years and it has weathered many trips to Europe. When it finally wears out, I will have another made exactly like it. Of all the clothes I own, this outfit has served me well in plus 30 heat.






Hot Weather Favourites. This collage created by JoyD with  http://PhotoCollage.net




Wednesday, 24 June 2015

PRIDE "Ballet Flats" Tribute

Thank you Brian for giving a Ballet Flats Tribute to PRIDE or GAY PRIDE month celebrating sexual preferences and gender variations for th LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual Transgender Queer) community. June is PRIDE month in Canada. Whether our preferences are personally or sociologically significant or simply superficial (as in clothing variations) it is important to acknowledge and salute those differences wherever they lie on the contimuum. And so . . . let's take pride in all our preferences and variations as we strive for non-judgemental attitudes! What better way on a clothing blog than with shoes . . . thanks again Brian!





June PRIDE "Ballet Flats" Tribute. Photo Source: Brian Davis
Take a look at the other posts Brian and I have collaborated on about ballet flats:

Ballet Flats: Genderless
In a Man's Closet: Ballet Flats
Ballet Flats Favourites: 13 Pairs in 2013
For Love of Reva and Eddie

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sandals

Closet Content Analysis: Summer Shoes

Nice Choices: Sandals - Light and Airy



Tory Burch Sandals purchased in Scottsdale. Photo Source: Brian Davis
Last month Brian Davis sent me a photo of a new pair of Tory Burch sandals that he bought in Scottsdale, Arizona. He's my go-to guy when it comes to any questions I have about ballet flats or Tory Burch. These are close to what I am looking for but a tad too heavy of a cross strap on the instep. I may have to buy online since I don't know where to go for Tory Burch anywhere near to where I am in France. I'm off to Bordeaux for an appointment at the immigration office this week and will do some shopping while there.

I love shopping, but not necessarily online. For those who are tactile and love to touch and view from a variety of angles and enjoy the experience of trying on before buying, online shopping just doesn't cut it. Call me old school, chastise me for not being "with it", and admonish my old fashioned ways but shopping is not shopping unless you are physically in a retail space surrounded by options that are able to be touched and tried on. How else will you learn the feel of silk . . . of good quality linen . . . of crisp cotton? I suppose you can put your faith in the marketing descriptors but until you feel it and see how it sits or drapes upon your body, you just don't know. If anything, online shopping is delusional - a potential buyer views articles of clothing on one-dimensional figures and the imagination plays its part with skewed results. So this post is supposed to be about sandals . . . I digressed.

We all have our favourite and least favourite pairs of sandals - bien sur. 


Photo by JoyD taken in the Ste. Foy La Grande market
No Thanks: While in the Saturday market in Ste. Foy La Grande in Gironde, I took some photos of what sandals are being wornI am not a fan of sandals that rise up to the ankle. When you have legs that are thick, as hers appear, this particular look is not the best choice. She would have been much better off with an open instep with a crisscross of two or three straps just above the toes. The proportion that you see accentuates the heaviness and that's not what sandals are about.

Photo by JoyD.
Nice and Need: These are a friend's feet under a table at a restaurant in Langon (Gironde), France. The photo was taken about three years ago but these are exactly the sandals I want. The straps are not as thick as the Tory Burch pair and lightness is what I like in a summer sandal. I'm sure I will find something in Galleries Lafayette or one of the shoe shops in Bordeaux.


Sandals that have served me well. Photo by JoyD.
Note-Worthy: These specimens are showing the wear and tear of too many marvellous summers here in the south-west of France. The beige pair on the top rung made their way to the trash bin last summer. The pair that you see below are the pair I bought to replace them. They felt fine for the first month or two but now the leather straps have stretched so that they feel sloppy. 


Photo by JoyD.










Sunday, 21 June 2015

Clips for Zenka Frames

Colour Clips for Zenka Frames. Photo by JoyD, June, 2015.
It was the beginning of July, 2014, when I bought my Zenka frames  and I told you then that I would take a few photos of the clips that I ordered. I never did update that post; so it's about time that I show you the clips that I have purchased over the past year. I now have  ten of them in three shades of blue, two shades of purple, and one each in white, red, black, grey and pale pink. 

In the same way that some women buy a pair of earrings, shoes or a scarf to match or to update an outfit, I am now in the habit of ordering a new coloured clip for my eyeglass frames.

Anthony, who owns Opticiens Martin in Ste. Foy La Grande (Gironde), is a true gentleman and it is easy to leave my money in his shop. 

He has a relative, either a brother or cousin (I'm not sure), who is the founder and designer of Parasite frames. I still look at the Parasite brand displayed in Anthony's store and wish that I had more disposable income and was a tad more eccentric - with those two attributes, I know I would be wearing them.


Photo Source: Parasite

For now, the Zenka frames offer me as much eccentricity as I can handle and are more economic than buying a whole new set of lenses and frames. 

What colour is next? I suppose it depends on the next scarf or the shoes that I buy. For now I have an adequate supply.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Quasi-Academic Debate: Comfortable Casual or Business Attire at Work



Closet Content Analysis: Casual or Business

NOTE-WORTHY

The summer inspires us to be more casual in all that we do and most transparently in what we choose to wear. This can create conflict for employees and employers especially when the business calls for a certain degree of formality. I think of banking, insurance, government agencies, medicine/pharmacy and any corporate enterprise that deals with either my well-being or my financial situation. In other words if you are selling me health insurance, you had better not be in flip flops and shorts, even on "casual Friday". I could say, "but that's just me"; however, if I am saying it, there must be others who feel the same way.

In debate protocol, we must start with defining or at least having a basic understanding of what it is we are debating - that is comfortable casual vrs. business attire.

Business is easier to define and so I shall start there. Business for men and women suggests the "suit" although a broader perspective includes blazers and trousers or skirts. Ties for men might be optional but then that crosses the line to "business casual" in the same way as a t-shirt with a blazer rather than a button down shirt would be considered "business casual" but still there remains, the blazer or jacket. Shoes then range from Oxfords to loafers for men and a variety of heel-heights for women. Flats for women are always considered more casual but one's height and activity at work usually determine a woman's choice of footwear.

Comfortable casual is less than business casual. In some cases very much less. It is all relative. In fact an anthropological term, cultural relativism might fit this analysis. In this case, basically what you wear is determined by the values of the culture in which you are wearing it. Therefore if it is normally worn and accepted within a particular culture then it is what it is and should not be considered good or bad by those outside of the particular culture. Sigh. This can get complicated because we are not talking about a particular ethnic or national group but rather sub-cultures/sub-groups within a "business" culture that transcends nationality. 

We need a different analytical term. What comes to mind immediately is appropriateness so therefore "cultural appropriateness" sounds like it might work in analysis. How about, "sub-cultural dress appropriateness in an economic setting"? This then indicates that we are concerned about the acceptability, that which will not offend either administration, co-workers or clients, of clothing worn by members of a particular sub-culture; and sub-culture indicates the group within a larger culture that is specifically economically driven. Another sigh.

Now that the term covers what we want to study, we can get back to debating what is appropriate. "Appropriate" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "right or suited for some purpose or situation". Now, what is "right" and there is where "cultural relativism" comes to bite us again. If it is considered "right" within the group, it may not be considered "right" by those outside the group. So if bank employees all vote, thereby considering it "right" within the group, to wear short shorts, flip flops and bikini tops or muscle shirts on Wednesdays, then our opinion as clients doesn't matter. Ah, but this is where economics comes in. If I choose not to bank at that particular institution then it does affect the economic drive of the company. It is a conundrum but there are social scientists and anthropologists out there who have spent more time studying such things. 

From this blogger's point of view, the best strategy is to look at what the administration is wearing and follow "suit". As an employee you can probably tone it down to more casual attire if the head person is wearing formal business wear; but only a tad. So now, I should define "tad" - never mind. This advice means nothing if the boss comes in blue jeans and a t-shirt but because his or her employees are on the front line, he/she expects more business attire from the staff.

Follow your heart and if all else fails, just ask your boss what the summer standard for sub-cultural dress appropriateness in your particular economic setting is. That'll do it!

Check out what I have written before on this topic:
Summer Office Wear - What is Too Casual?
What is "Comfortable Casual"?
Knee-Length Shorts at Work and Play
Defining Casual Clothing
What Kind of Comfortable?