When men are wondering if they can wear shorts to work, the question they often ask is if they can “get away with it.”
Using a phrase like that betrays the obvious fact that it’s something you shouldn’t be doing — as if you’re trying to trick your coworkers into thinking you’re more dressed up than you are.
Well, spoiler alert: it’s not going to work. There’s no way to “get away” with wearing shorts at the office, because it’s not just about your superiors in the office looking down on you.
It’s also about how you look at yourself. The reason it’s so important to dress for the office is a psychological one: It gives you confidence.
“Appropriate dress frees us from the anxieties and liabilities of sending negative and confusing messages,” menswear expert G. Bryce Boyer writes in his book “True Style: The History and Principles of Classic Menswear.“
Being freed from this anxiety and improving your confidence can actually have an effect on your performance at work, leaving you less worried about whether your shorts are appropriate and more concerned with serving your clients, colleagues, and mangers.
Studies have shown that dressing appropriately and more formally for work has tangible benefits in the real world, and it can even make you more successful in the long run. Not wearing shorts certainly falls in this category.
You should also consider the laid-back vibe you’re giving off in the office. Think about it: all else being equal, who is the promotion going to go to — the guy who wears a pressed button-up and khakis every day, or the guy who decides everyone in the office needs to see his pale legs every time the mercury rises? If I were a manager, I know who I would choose: The one who respects not only his office environment, but himself as well.
But don’t worry — there’s no need to roast all summer long. A pair of lightweight chinos or dress pants in a summer-friendly colour are exactly what you need to look both appropriate and cool for the hottest months of the year. You may even be able to get away with not wearing socks — if you follow this advice.
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