Yes, you can wear shorts to the office. But how?

Last Updated: June 8, 2024By
Can You Wear Shorts to Work?

Alright, so can you wear shorts to work? If your office has a relaxed dress code, the quick answer is probably yes. If you’re allowed to wear a T-shirt instead of a button-up, or a dress without tights, or if blazers are optional, then sure, shorts should be okay too.

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But let’s dive a bit deeper. Take my office at The Guardian, for example. We don’t really have a dress code. Technically, nothing is stopping me from wearing shorts to work. But would I actually do it? That’s another story.

The Changing Climate and Fashion Trends

More people are wondering about this. With unpredictable weather blurring the lines between summer clothes for home and vacation outfits, it makes sense to have versatile pieces in your wardrobe. Economically and environmentally, it’s smart to have clothes that can serve multiple purposes. For instance, this summer, the best-selling dresses are those that can be dressed up for a wedding or down for a holiday dinner. So why should shorts be off-limits just because you’re at work?

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Beyond the Dress Code

Dressing well for work is more than just following the dress code, just like being good at your job is more than just doing your tasks. It’s about standards and presentation. This is why wearing shorts in the office can feel tricky. We associate shorts with casual, often messy activities like sports, gardening, or just lounging around.

I’m not saying shorts are sloppy, but “polished” isn’t the first word that comes to mind. Plus, there’s the age factor. At work, you want to be seen as an adult. Shorts often remind us of childhood, which can make them feel out of place in a professional setting.

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Making Shorts Work at Work

If you decide to wear shorts to work, you need to be thoughtful about it. Let’s face it: your shorts will be the first thing people notice. But that’s okay. If you walk in and your boss or co-worker thinks, “I didn’t think shorts would work here, but they actually do,” that’s a win.

Wearing something unexpected can make you stand out, but it should look intentional, not like you just rolled out of bed. A static work wardrobe can make you look a bit lazy. Showing up in sharp-looking shorts shows you’re ready for anything.

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How to Style Shorts for the Office

There are two ways to make shorts look professional. One way is to go for smart, tailored shorts and style them like you would a pair of dress pants. Pair them with a crisp shirt, a belt, loafers, and socks. Keep the colors neutral so you don’t look like you’re off to a boat race. Avoid pairing shorts with a polo shirt to prevent looking too preppy. And skip the jacket – it might make you look like a toddler pageboy.

Another option is to wear shorts that resemble a summer skirt and pair them with a blazer. Floaty shorts might seem bolder, but they can actually be easier to pull off. They blend into the summer vibe and don’t scream “shorts.” Add a blazer, and you’ve got a smart summer outfit that’s perfect for work and can be worn for a weekend lunch too.

So, can you wear shorts to work? Yes, you can. Just make sure you keep your style standards high.

Styling assistant: Sam Deaman. Hair and makeup: Sophie Higginson using Hair by Sam McKnight and the CurrentBody Light Therapy Mask. Blazer, H&M. Shirt and shorts, Nobody’s Child.

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