Short suits for womendominated the runwayat New York Fashion Week last September.
Since then, J. Crew, Topman, Asos, and Barneys have introduced the world to the men’s version of this trend.
Sylvie di Giusto, a personal branding strategist at Executive Image Consulting, says people are always “looking for things to wear during the summer that are more comfortable in terms of the heat.”
But, she says, the short suit trend isn’t necessarily the best one to follow.
“Corporate America is not the place for professional experiments,”
di Giusto explains. “It’s still very traditional and just not the place to try out new fashion trends.”
This applies to both men and women, Di Giusto says. “I always recommend women to avoid distractions at any price. People should look at my face or focus on my skills and talent — not look at my legs.” The length of one’s bottoms is a sign of respect for the occasion and the audience. Wearing shorter clothing may indicate a lack of professionalism toward coworkers and clients, she says. “The more you deal with other people and their money, the less skin you should show.”
The biggest problem with the trend, she says, is that it doesn’t allow you to “tell a clear story.” She says your clothes can say a lot about you — “and in the workplace, I want people to tell a consistent story, whether it’s that they’re trustworthy, reliable, fun, or approachable.” The problem with short suits: they blend two stories at once.
Shorts can also be expensive and not always worth the investment. High quality short suits range from $US400 to $US900. “I would rather have people invest the money in a good [pants] suit so they can wear it for a long time,” she says. “If you invest your money in this trend now, then in two years everyone will see it and think, ‘that’s so 2014.'”
However, shorts may be more appropriate in some industries than others, says Jacqui Stafford, author of “The Wow Factor: Insider Style Secrets for Every Body and Every Budget.” “If you are in a more creative field, like fashion or media, then your dress code will be more lenient,” she says. “However, if you are working in banking and consulting, it’s best to be avoided altogether.”
If you determine that shorts are perfectly acceptable in your particular workplace, Di Giusto recommends that they not be shorter than two fingers above the knees. For women, she also advises against pairing shorts with other feminine clothing, such as pantyhose, sleeveless shirts, tops with deep necklines, or open-toed shoes.
For men who feel a strong desire to wear shorts: make sure you establish it as a consistent “stand out piece,” or your “signature look,” she says. “If what you want to be known for is wearing shorts every day at work, then I would say go for it, because you’re telling a consistent story for who you are and what makes you different.”
Men also need to consider what they pair the shorts with. Stafford says if you pair them with a grey fitted jacket or a nice cardigan, “you’ll be able to offset the casualness of the shorts.” Di Giusto also recommends pairing shorts with a dress shirt, tie, and oxford shoes. However, in most cases, the only occasion she thinks shorts are appropriate is casual Friday.
Di Giusto says if you decide to indulge in this trend, you also need to have good looking legs. “If you decide to reveal them in an office environment, I would at least make sure those legs are well-groomed, toned, and nice to look at,” she concludes.
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