Are Shorts Business Casual?

Are Shorts Business Casual?

Summer is finally here! Long days and warm temperatures abound. Although we'd love to spend our long summer days basking in the sun and lounging at the beach, we probably have to show up at the office most days despite the sunshine calling our name. But why not bring the summery vibes indoors with us?

Open up the windows and blinds, take our lunch outside under a shade, and even wear shorts to work! Are shorts appropriate for office wear and can they be considered business attire? Whether you wear men's shorts or women's shorts, we're here to break down the details for you.

What Is Business Casual?

While there is no exact definition of business casual, it's generally agreed upon that business casual attire consists of conservative hemlines for your bottoms, collars on your tops and blazers, or even a nice women's cardigan sweater. Suits and ties are more on the business professional-end of this fashion spectrum and while these pieces can be incorporated into your business casual look, they are not typically considered business casual.

This also means no denim, no sneakers, and no short-shorts. Otherwise, it is a fairly loose term. There's room for interpretation and even some room for creative liberty. As long as your workplace doesn't have a strict dress code or defined business casual wear, we think it's fine to put some of your personality and style into your office wear.

What Kind of Shorts Can You Wear?

If you decide to wear shorts as part of your business casual attire this summer, there are a few things you must keep in mind to still maintain a professional look. Patterns or bright colors are generally off the table for your business casual shorts. Opt for a simple and classic taupe, navy, or black when picking your business casual shorts. Make sure your shorts have a crisp, clean tailored look. Tight or baggy shorts are off the table here. Think women's chino shorts. Men and women alike will want to stick to longer shorts for this look. Just above the knee is usually a good length. Wear with a belt to class it up even more.

What Do I Wear With my Business Casual Shorts?

To ensure that your shorts are office-appropriate and business casual, make sure you pair your shorts with the right top and shoes. Even if you wouldn't normally wear a blazer or suit jacket to work, now is a great time to experiment. This single piece has the power to elevate your look from casual to polished and professional. Plus, it's an excellent summer style that's office-ready.

For men’s wear, an ideal shorts-for-the-office look might be beige or taupe chinos paired with a fitted black or navy suit jacket or blazer and a crisp white button-up. Polos are too casual for this look and will make you look like you are on your way to the golf course, so keep the polos for the weekends. Finish this look off by matching your belt with your shoes.

For women’s wear, you have even more options. Your tailored shorts can be made office-ready in many ways. Depending on your work environment, you could simply pair it with a simple professional-looking blouse or a women’s dress shirt. Although it's summer and probably quite hot outside—once you're inside the office, it might be a different story. Office buildings love to crank up the AC in the summer months. We love layering with a work cardigan and even a fitted blazer (on top of your cardigan, or just over your women’s oxford shirt to make sure we're prepared for the inside/outside temperatures. It's also a great way to level up your professional summer look. Take your look up another notch by pairing it with a pair of stilettos. For comfort, flats or loafers also work fine. Make sure to tuck your blouse into your shorts. A French tuck (simply tucking in the front of your shirt) is trés chic especially paired with a blazer. Pull it all together with some accessories like jewelry and a belt.

With the right fashionable pairings, shorts can be polished, professional, and office-appropriate. Make sure to check in with your company's dress code policy before experimenting with your professional work attire. But follow these simple guidelines, and we hope wearing shorts will become a regular part of your summer work attire rotation. Enjoy your summer, bare those legs, and rock your business casual shorts!


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