Choosing Work-Appropriate Shorts?

When the mercury starts to rise, ditching your heavy work trousers for a cool pair of shorts may seem like a great idea. But as you know, navigating the world of office dress codes can be a bit of a minefield. You may find yourself asking, is it even possible to wear shorts to work and still look professional? Well, ladies, the answer is a resounding yes! All it takes is a bit of savvy styling and an understanding of what’s acceptable in your workplace.

A Note on the Dress Code

Before we delve into the details of how to rock shorts in the office, it’s important to understand your office dress code. If you’re lucky enough to work in a casual office or are working remotely, you essentially have free rein to wear what you want (within reason, of course). However, for more formal office environments, you might want to check with HR or your manager first.

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When it comes to office dress codes, there are essentially three levels: business formal, business casual, and casual. Business formal usually requires suit and tie for men and a suit or dress with nylons for women. Business casual allows for more leeway, with men wearing dress shirts, khakis, and dress shoes, and women wearing blouses, skirts or trousers, and dress shoes. Casual dress codes are the most relaxed, allowing jeans, t-shirts, and even shorts.

It’s important to remember that even in a casual office, there are still standards of dress to maintain. It’s always better to err on the side of caution.

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Choosing the Right Pair of Shorts

So, now that we’ve established that it is possible to wear shorts to work, let’s discuss how to choose the right pair. When it comes to work-appropriate shorts, think about length and fit.

Longer lengths, such as Bermuda shorts, are going to be the most office-appropriate. These typically hit at or just above the knee, which is a comfortable and modest length for most women. Avoid anything too short, as this might not be deemed office-appropriate.

Fit is also important. You want to make sure you are comfortable and can move around freely, but you also want to maintain a professional appearance. Look for shorts that are not too tight or too baggy, but rather have a tailored fit. Shorts with pockets can be a great option, adding a practical and stylish touch.

Styling Your Shorts for the Office

You’ve got your perfect pair of shorts, but how do you style them to create an office-appropriate outfit? Pairing your shorts with a smart top can instantly elevate your look. A crisp white shirt or a sophisticated blouse can be a great choice.

During the summer months, you might want to consider lighter colors such as white or pastel shades. If you’re wearing a pair of black shorts, a light-colored top can create a nice contrast.

A casual blazer can also be a great addition to your shorts outfit. It adds an element of professionalism and can be paired with a simple t-shirt for a more relaxed, yet still professional, look.

Adding the Final Touches

Once you’ve chosen your shorts and top, it’s time to think about accessories. Shoes can make a big difference in the overall look of your outfit. Flat sandals or loafers are a great option for a casual office, while a pair of low heels can add a touch of class for a more formal setting.

A statement handbag can also add a professional touch to your outfit. Choose something structured and in a neutral color for maximum versatility.

And don’t forget about jewelry! Simple, understated pieces can add the perfect finishing touch to your work outfit.

Keeping it Professional

Remember, the key to wearing shorts to work is to keep it professional. Stick to longer lengths, tailored fits, and pair with a smart top. Pay attention to your dress code, and don’t be afraid to ask if you’re unsure. Add the right accessories, and you’ll be ready to face the summer heat while maintaining your professional image. So go ahead, give those work trousers a break and embrace the summer season in style!

Embracing Color Options and Patterns

Diving further into the world of work shorts, it’s relevant to explore the realm of color options and patterns. While the classic black, white, and khaki shorts are a safe bet, it’s not a bad idea to add a little flavor into your work wardrobe.

For instance, pastel colors can add a fresh and relaxed vibe to your outfit. Pastel blue, pink, or green can be combined with a simple white or black top for a harmonious look. When opting for pastel shorts, remember to keep the rest of your outfit neutral to avoid color clashing.

As for patterns, they can add a fun element to your look. Stripes are one of the easiest patterns to style and can be very flattering. If you want to experiment with a bold pattern like florals, the key is to keep the rest of the outfit simple. Pair patterned shorts with a neutral button shirt and simple accessories to balance the look.

Speaking of fabric, a linen blend can be a great choice for summer. Linen is lightweight and breathable, making it a comfortable option for hot weather. Bermuda shorts made of linen or a linen blend can be a practical and stylish pick.

Choosing Loose Fit vs. Tailored Fit

When it comes to choosing between a loose fit and a tailored fit, it really depends on your comfort level and the specific dress codes of your workplace.

Loose fit or wide-leg shorts can be a comfortable choice, especially in a casual office. They offer more room for movement and a relaxed vibe. Pair them with a fitted top to balance the silhouette and prevent the outfit from looking too baggy.

On the other hand, tailored fit or slim-fit shorts can create a more polished look. They are cut closer to the body, emphasizing clean lines and a streamlined silhouette. Pair them with a loose-fitting button shirt for a balanced look.

Both fits can be work-appropriate, depending on how you style them. Regardless of the fit you choose, avoid shorts that are overly tight or revealing. Remember, your goal is to maintain a professional image while staying cool and comfortable.


To wrap it up, wearing shorts to work can be a great way to stay comfortable and stylish during the hot summer months. By taking note of your office dress code, choosing the right pair of shorts, and styling them appropriately, you can create a professional look that’s perfect for the season.

Whether you go for Bermuda shorts in a linen blend, pastel-colored wide-leg shorts, or tailored fit shorts with a pattern, the key is to balance style and professionalism. Pair your shorts with a smart top, accessorize appropriately, and you’re good to go.

In the end, comfort and appropriateness are your two main guiding principles. So don’t shy away from experimenting with different styles, colors, or patterns. Just remember to keep it professional and you’ll be ready to face the summer heat at work in style!

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