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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Skirting around Sweden's heat
Bus driver Mats Lundgren sits in his drivers seat, wearing a skirt, in Umea, northern Sweden
Shorts are out so skirts are in
A combination of summer heat and a rigid dress code has led a Swedish bus driver to wear a skirt to work.

Mats Lundgren, from the northern Swedish town of Umea, got fed up of sitting in the drivers' seat for hours at a time in dark uniform trousers.

He asked his boss whether he could wear shorts for comfort as temperatures hit 25C (77F).

It was very nice to have a bit of a breeze
Mats Lundgren
But when his boss said "no", Mr Lundgren decided to find an alternative. And he began showing up to work in a skirt.

"The reaction here has been nice - the passengers all smile and my workmates think it's hilarious, but I don't expect to set a trend among them," he told BBC News Online.

Bus driver Mats Lundgren walks in front of his bus, dressed in skirt, in Umea, northern Sweden
Mr Lundgren says it's a great feeling
"I wore it all day yesterday. It was very nice to have a bit of a breeze," he said.

Mr Lundgren is exploiting a loophole in the firm's dress code, which allows skirts to be worn but does not specify which sex should be wearing them.

As Mr Lundgren settles into the driver's seat, the navy blue skirt slides up his thighs just above his bony knees, revealing a pair of hairy white legs.

"It's even better than shorts. It's unbearable driving a bus in long trousers when the sun is blazing through the windscreen, but with the skirt it feels just great," he says.

"I am divorced, so I had to borrow the skirt from a friend.

"Unfortunately, she is a couple of sizes smaller than me, which means I have to squeeze into it," he added.

Rolf Persson, managing director of Umea's transport authority said he was surprised to see Mr Lundgren dressed this way.

But his hands were tied, he said, as careful perusal of regulations produced no mention of rules about men in skirts.

Mr Lundgren, for his part, says he can't see what all the fuss is about.

"The Scottish are very lucky to be able to wear kilts all the time," he said - adding he was not trying to imitate all of the traditions that come with wearing one.



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