SPY Guide: How to Wear Shorts to the Office Without Getting a Call From HR

How To Wear Shorts To the
Image courtesy of Shopbop/Eastdane

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* Style tips on wearing shorts to the office
* How to work a tie and shorts for men
* Subbing shorts for skirts for women

Though the workplace looks nothing like the 3-piece-suited days of Mad Men , there are still some sartorial grey zones when it comes to the modern professional dress code.

Take shorts for example: even if every day looks like casual Friday at your office, are shorts just pushing it a little too far? In the case of your off-duty rainbow palm-prints or a brief 3-inch inseam, probably. But not all shorts have been created equal, and with the right shape and styling, we’ve found four work-appropriate and — dare we say? — professional ways to wear shorts to the office.

1. For Men: Theory Knee-Length Shorts

Rule number one when attempting shorts at work: keep it modest. Knee-grazing, straight-cut shorts like the wrinkle-resistant grey pair from Theory here keep things quietly polished, not unlike the full-length trousers you’d usually wear.

Theory Zaine Neoteric Short Image courtesy of East Dane


2. Club Monaco Dress Shirt

When going casual down below, keep things status quo or even bumped up a notch in formality up above. Pair the Theory shorts with a crisp, classic oxford stripe button down – trimly tucked in, of course.

Club Monaco Button Down Dress Shirt Image Courtesy of East Dane


3. Paul Smith Silk Tie

If you don’t usually wear a tie to work, now’s the time to add one to your look. It’s the detail that signals your shorts mean business, not backyard BBQ. Paul Smith’s classic navy silk cravat gets a subversive touch of humor with tiny embroidered monkeys.

Paul Smith Monkeys Tie Image courtesy of East Dane


4. Sperry Sneakers

A classic pair of sneakers, like Sperry’s pale beige deck shoe, is casual, sure, but with leather laces and a sparkling white outer sole, they’re anything but sloppy. If that’s a bit too laid back, try a leather loafer or monk strap oxford instead.

sperry loafers sneakers Image courtesy of East Dane


5. P.L.C New York Seamed Shorts

The term “shorts” may not even do justice to these well-tailored bottoms. Perhaps abbreviated trousers are the better descriptor? With a sharp front seam and cut in minimal black, they have the look of your slickest suit trousers.

P.L.C. New York Creased Short Image courtesy of East Dane


6. Theory Suit Jacket

Again, getting away with shorts at the office will depend on elevating their casual nature with more formal pieces. Topping things off with a great suit jacket, like Theory’s summer-ready glen check version, will nicely do the trick. Yes, you can wear a blazer with shorts — in fact, we recommend it.

Theory Wellar Suit Jacket Image courtesy of East Dane Image Courtesy of East Dane


7. Stussy Mini-Paisley Button Down

Finally for men, switch it up every now and then with a paisley shirt. Paisley has long been a classic menswear trope, found in rich Italian silk pocket squares, ties and luxe dress socks. So make a play on this old-school banker motif while staying cool with Stussy’s mini-paisley print button down.

stussy paisley print shirt Image courtesy of East Dane


1. For Women: H&M Tie-Waist Shorts

The drapey fabric and restrained length are what make these shorts a viable alternative to full-length trousers. Paired with a low heeled shoe and demure blouse, you’ll probably be hailed as an ingenious dress code disrupter, not disaster.

H&M Dressy Shorts Image courtesy of H&M


2. Novis Floral Silk Blouse

The simple cut and beautiful silk material mean this blouse is team-meeting appropriate, but a pretty, bright floral print turns the volume up on style without getting too loud.

Novis The Oak Button Down Blouse Image Courtesy of Shopbop


3. ZAC Zac Posen Belay Bag

A super-polished, tailored bag will pull everything together, like ZAC by Zac Posen’s roomy, smooth leather shoulder bag with a touch of gold hardware.

ZAC Zac Posen Belay Bag Image Courtesy of Shopbop


4. Rag & Bone Culotte

There’s no more stealth way to bring shorts into the 9-5 fold than with a culotte. Rag & Bone’s khaki poplin pair come with pleats and voluminously cut legs that easily play decoy as an office-approved skirt.

Rag & Bone Chapman Pleated Culotte Image courtesy of Shopbop


5. Joie Peep Toe Sandal

A mid-height heel and lady-like bow are the antitheses of a rubber sandal, the shorts’ off-duty BFF. Which is exactly why these heeled sandals make the right candidate for your shorts-at-work look.

Joie Bow Sandal Image courtesy of Shopbop


6. Velvet Striped Blouse

Adding a shirting-stripe top to khaki culottes will round out the borrowed-from-the-boys mode with a high-fashion spin thanks to feminine details like ties at the sleeve and a flattering wide neckline. The blouse also helps to dress up denim, as seen in the picture below.

Velvet Adia Long Sleeve Tee Image courtesy of Shopbop

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