Should you? Could you? Would you? Wearing shorts to the office is one of the most hotly debated (pun intended) questions of the summer. Most experts – tailors, fashion designers, businessmen – agree that shorts should be a no-go unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you are slogging it to the office on the weekend, for instance, or taking a lengthy business trip to New Orleans or Austin during August, then shorts are not only acceptable but necessary for survival.
Still, how do look professional and stylish in shorts? Here’s a few tips:
- Choose city shorts that are tailored, with conservative but light summer fabrics. Cotton, linens or blends work best.
- Get the right fit. Just like a men’s suit, the fit of the shorts is absolutely key. If you have massive thighs, keep shorts loose fitting. If you are slim built, try a closer fitting pair. Either way, length should be office appropriate – meaning just above the knee and never anything that might be mistaken for swimwear. Ask a bespoke advisor what short length would work best for you.
- Yes you can wear a jacket. But do yourself a favor and don’t wear a short ‘suit’. Instead choose a blazer or sportcoat that complements the shorts without matching them exactly.
- Ties and pocket squares are appropriate. French cuff men’s dress shirts and cufflinks are not.
- Choose the right shoes. Flip flops are for the beach or swimming pool. Formal shoes are for trousers. Choose espadrilles and no socks, please.
Finally make sure your legs are cleaned, at least slightly tanned and well groomed. We are not suggesting you shave your legs but at least make sure you are not showing flaky or scuffed knees or scabs from weekend football or basketball games. If you work in a conservative office and have tattoos on your legs, you might be better off wearing chinos or casual slacks.