How to wear shorts to the office

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Can you and should you wear shorts to the office? The simple answer is yes! Should you is another matter. Some fashion designers decry the infantilizing of office attire but we strongly disagree. Shorts can be worn with style and polish like any other clothing item. It’s all in the way you wear them.

The war over shorts in the office stretches back to the time when boys wore knickerbockers and men didn’t. But like men’s fashion, shorts too have come a long way and can now regularly be seen on the red carpet (for instance, Pharrell Williams at the Oscars), on the catwalk and on the street.

There are three tricks to wearing shorts to the office.

First, weather appropriate. Shorts will not work in February, no matter how upstyled they may be. Shorts are summer wear and when temperatures soar above 90F, it’s reasonable to wear clothing that will help keep you cool. Own it by noting the unbearable heat if anyone comments.

Second, length is critical. Thighs should never be visible. Knee length and tailored. Go for a cotton/linen blend in a neutral color. Pair with checked men’s dress shirt, suit jacket or vest and tie.

Third, remember that no matter what you wear, looking polished and professional is the goal. Make sure your shoes are shined, hair is combed, nails are clipped. Elevate the look with a pocket square in the paired jacket or vest and don’t forget to button or zip up.

Ask a Knot Standard stylist for advice on how to wear shorts and stay looking stylish.