Can You Wear Shorts to the Office?

Can You Wear Shorts to the Office?

It’s hot in the city, you guys, and not in a cool “scene from a movie” way.  No, it’s just sweaty AF, and I can tell you that it was with considerable trepidation that I considered the reality that was returning to work this week.  The only upside?  My boss is still on leave and half the office is still in casual attire – the perfect time for a bit of a fashion experiment.  Enter: shorts in the office.  And I mean SHORTS, not culottes or gaucho pants or cropped trousers.  I mean something I could run a race in, if my life took a truly extraordinary turn.

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I bought these shorts some time ago with a view to trying them out as a legitimate corporate option, but somehow they found themselves buried under a couple of pairs of definitely not work appropriate denim shorts.  I came across them while digging through a drawer in pursuit of a swimsuit for a weekend away in New Plymouth, and decided it was time to let them live their best life…in an office.  But how to make a pair of drawstring shorts appropriate for the office?

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As with all things that are a bit marginal, the answer was to wear a few obvious “I’m in the office” cues.  A silk shirt, black patent leather high heels, a red lip and these slightly granny-esque earrings all tell the audience that yes, you are on your way to work.  They are a useful distraction from the drawstring at the waist and the bifurcated nature of your lower half.  In fact, in this case my co-workers spent most of the day thinking I was wearing a skirt!  I was also served well by the fact that the shorts are a neutral colour, a conservative length and loose fit, and made of a mysterious fabric that is (a) very definitely dressy and (b) unfortunately, already starting to look a bit bobbly.  Disappointing after one outing but these are an age outside the return period.

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Shorts are a great compromise between skirts and trousers.  They’re somehow more comfortable than a skirt, which I’m going to put down to the psychological safety that is knowing you can literally crawl around/climb on a desk in these without any inadvertent slips.  They’re cooler than trousers in this muggy heat (although mine were lined, which made them slightly heavier and therefore slightly warmer).  I think if you can find a pair that are essentially the fraternal twin to a skirt, and cheat your way to appropriateness via the rest of your outfit, you can definitely get away with shorts in a corporate environment. 

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Assuming I can head off the bobble mess that I fear is the future of these shorts, I look forward to wearing these on a few more outings this summer.  They’ll be perfect with the army of button down shirts in my wardrobe, but I can also imagine these with a simple cami and a blazer (on days that are less tropical), or one of my boxy tops.  All of these outfits are perfect for wearing at 6pm, perched on the grassy lawn outside our local, sipping a gin and tonic – and no worries about jumping up to buy the next round, ‘cos I’m wearing shorts! 

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Shorts were from Asos in November 2016, try this pair, this pair or this pair as an alternative.  Shirt is Salasai, available on Once It now.  Shoes are from The Iconic – despite not being leather, these are a good basic work shoe.  Earrings are “Chanel” from questionable boutique in Wellington many years ago.  Sunglasses are from Le Specs (a different pair for once) and lipstick is Pirate from Chanel – my favourite red.