Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The long and short of it: shorts in the workplace

Yesterday morning, I had one of those I-have-no-clue-what-to-wear-to-work days. You know, the ones where you stand in front of your closet for a good 10 minutes, mentally dressing yourself in every single outfit you own, and then mentally throwing them in a heap on the floor when you realize you don’t want to wear any of them. I hate those mornings.

In the midst of my mental dressing session, I actually did pluck a pair of cute white Bermuda shorts from a hanger and try them on. As I was pondering which shirt would work best with them, I stopped. Wait. Could I even wear shorts to work? And if so, how the heck could I make it look like I wasn’t about to stroll down to the beach to spend the day in the sun? (I wish…)

Hm. Lately my company has been cracking down on the dress code policy, and numerous emails have been flying around regarding appropriate summer wear. I recalled something about shorts and length above the knee, but I wasn’t about to kneel on the ground with a tape measure to make sure they weren’t too scandalous. After my crazy homeroom advisor made us do that all the time in high school with our uniform skirts, the thought makes me shudder.

So I deferred to this post on TheWorkingWardrobe.com about how to incorporate shorts into your working wardrobe. It includes some good rules of thumb and even includes a cute example of wear-to-work Bermuda-short style. The key? Closed-toed flats, a tailored top and cute accessories to elevate the look of the shorts. (Be sure to check out the rest of the site while you're at it—it's so helpful!)

To throw in my two cents on the matter, I personally like to live by the good old Balance Rule. As in, if you’re showing off some leg, then maybe show a little less arm. A tank top paired with Bermuda shorts might be a bit too beachy, but a ¾-length top would be the perfect complement to some bright Bermudas.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to decide. My shorts were a bit too wrinkled and stretched out to wear to the office. No saggy bottom for me, thankyouverymuch.

So what do you Working Girls think? Are shorts appropriate for the workplace? And do you have any good rules of thumb for wearing them? Or any general wardrobe rules you like to follow? Let’s hear them!

14 comments:

eemusings said...

IMO, shorts need to be knee length - more like a capri. I wear em with pointed flats or wedges.

Angeline said...

I've done "city shorts" before, but mainly for Fridays, and always with closed-toed shoes. I think the fabric makes a big difference, too.

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Hari said...

I wear shorts to work, def knee length or just below the knee, and in work colours like grey, black, blue, and always with a collared work shirt, and flats. Mostly summer, and autumn here in australia, sometimes spring.

whydidshedothat said...

One of my colleagues wore shorts yesterday and she looked very professional (we're lawyers). I think the color and style make a huge difference. I think you can get away with neutral colors (she wore black) that are tailored or more fitted, as opposed to printed or colorful baggy shorts. In my opinion, pairing them with a nice heel makes them look more professional than a flat. I definitely agree that the shirt or blouse should be more on the conservative side to give it a nice polished look.

Lindsay said...

Before I worked remotely, I'd wear Bermudas (on occasion) to work. Usually on Fridays. The catch? It was a boutique marketing firm in Sarasota where the dress code was pretty relaxed. We could wear whatever we wanted--as long as we didn't have any clients coming in. I completely agree with you: the "show a little leg, cover up some extra arm" rule should always be in effect. It's a professionalism thing.

besswess said...

I'm a dress up for work kinda gal. If I am accused of anything, it is wearing too high of heels. I keep skirts and dresses at least one inch above the knee. After losing some weight, I do not struggle with cleavage like I did before. :)

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Amy said...

I wear long shorts to work pretty often in the summer-they come to an inch or two above my knee. I have two pairs, one black and one gray, and they're both tailored and pretty dressy. I usually wear them with a button-down shirt and either flats or heels. I have also worn them with flat, dressy sandals and they look fine. I wouldn't pair them with a tank top but then again I never wear tanks to work!

Rachel said...

This is Rachel from TheWorkingWardrobe here! Thanks so much for referencing our post on shorts at the workplace! So proud to be part of your fantastic content! :)

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