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Should you wear shorts to work? 

20 June 2018

As a fashion editor, there is a list of the same questions that we get asked year in, year out. And for men, come the summer months, something that’s asked more commonly than anything else is: do you think it’s okay for me to wear shorts to work?

The long and short (sorry) of it is that there is no universal answer. It depends on a whole host of factors, such as where you work, what kind of people you work with, what style of shorts you’re planning on wearing and what you intend to wear with said shorts.

The problem with shorts is that they have a very casual set of connotations attached to them. Picture a man in shorts, and the image you’re probably going to conjure up is someone flipping burgers on the barbecue, taking a stroll on the beach or hanging out in a pub garden. Traditionally, although we’re fully aware that times are changing, work has been a place for your smarter garms to come out, rather than your more casual ones.

On the contrary, you could work in a creative environment where anything from jeans and trainers to football shirts is deemed acceptable workwear. If that’s you, we fully support adding shorts into the mix – if you do it properly. Just be sure to err on the side of caution, adhering to any rules that the company might have, and perhaps consider pairing them with smarter pieces, like a classic Oxford or linen shirt, new shoes and a decent belt.

It’s worth noting that there are definitely variants when it comes to what’s acceptable and what’s not – even for the most casual of work environments. A classic chino short is undoubtedly the safest option, and can very easily be dressed up to appear smarter than it actually is. Anything too bright and patterned is probably best avoided for work (although there’s nothing to stop you investing in a couple of pairs for holiday or the weekend). Stick to neutral colours like beige, black, shades of blue and grey or go for something subtly patterned. And never, ever make the mistake of thinking it’s all right to wear your swim shorts to work, even if it is the hottest day of the year (yes, this has been known to happen before). With that, we’ll leave you to make the decision for yourself. Good luck out there.


Header image by Getty Images. Oliver Cheshire is not affiliated with Next or the products in this article.

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