Congratulations on making it to another casual Friday in your casual office!
We understand this is your time to push the envelope with professional style, and we want you to look great.
With the heat on, you may be eying your shorts in the morning, wondering if you can make that move, questioning if you’ll instantly become “that guy who wore shorts that one time.”
Here’s how to bare your legs at your nine-to-five without losing your dignity.
Be Absolutely Sure
Around this time of year, a lot of companies will send out memos regarding office dress codes.
These will sometimes have a bolded line from your human resources coordinator that’s explicit about what’s up below the waist.
Obviously, if it says no shorts, you can stop reading now.
Don’t break the HR law. If it’s not explicitly spelled out, read your field of cubicles and consult with your coworkers with good taste. If after that, you’re in the clear, please continue.
Assess Your Day
If you’ve got a big meeting coming up with some clients, your bosses, or any big wigs, you should just play it safe. Stick with pants, man.
Though your typical work day may allow for some breezy shorts, you want to bring your A-game when you’re expected to. Save the shorts for an easy day.
Make ‘Em Nice
The main reason shorts are discouraged from the workplace is because they’re super-casual and can easily read unprofessional. And they’re right to be!
If they’re cargo shorts with frayed bottoms, that is. Go for something tailored that feel more like short pants than shorts. Leave the cargo pockets out, and make sure they hit just above your knees. No fraying!
Wear a Collar
We’re very into shorts with T-shirts, and T-shirts with pants, but when you double up on the casual factor, you’re in weekend territory. A collared shirt is the only acceptable above the waist move for professional shorts. We’d leave the polo shirt and shorts combo at home though, as this isn’t the country club. Tucking is up to you, but it will look a little more elegant if you do. If you really want to class it up, throw on a light cardigan or a jacket (like godfather of shorts Thom Browne).
This is the same concept as the T-shirts. Throwing a pair of sneakers on, even a very minimal and luxe pair — makes everything entirely too chill. Strap on your double monks, slip into your drivers, or a pair of loafers. Leather and suede only.
Treat Your Legs Like Your Face
We presume you take pretty good care of your face. You keep it nice and clean, groomed, and as blemish-free as possible. If you’re going to show your legs to the world, you should think of them the same way. Should you be covered in bruises from mountain-biking, suffering from some dry skin, or rolling with tan lines, maybe this isn’t the move for you. Remember, you’re trying to present an overall nice package.
Steer Clear of Prints and Patterns, Everywhere
Your shorts should be solid, and they should be dark, too. But you should be avoiding loud prints everywhere else, too. You’re not on vacation, dude! Prints can be artfully mixed with suits just fine, but we suggest keeping everything relatively simple with shorts. Something subtle is ok, but anything more reads very “leisure time.” That’s for after 5:00 P.M..
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