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Jeans and trousers

How to wear shorts at work

How to wear shorts at work

Summer and work aren't always that compatible. It's never fun to be stuck inside staring at a screen, when you'd rather be soaking up sunshine. Particularly because staying smart can mean you're forced to dress in ways that ignore the number on the thermometer. "When it's really hot, people tend to go full-on casual – shorts, flip-flops, t-shirts – when actually there's a middle ground," says Shaunie Brett, Thread style director. Here's how to keep cool and still look put-together.

1. Go for a top on the casual side of smart casual.

"Because shorts are a bit more casual than, say, chinos, the top needs to make them smart casual – without being over-smart. Some tops that look great with shorts for the office: an Oxford shirt, a plain t-shirt under a jacket with a bit of structure, or even just a plain polo shirt."


2. Choose plain, dark-coloured shorts.

"The main trick to keeping shorts smart is making sure they're plain and classic, which means they don't have cargo pockets, logos or patterns, and they're made from twill or cotton rather than anything stretchy. Navy or black are the best colours for work shorts because they're darker, so they're practical and not eye-catching."


3. Make sure they're knee-length.

"Regardless of whether you're tall or short, the smartest shorts sit a few inches above or below the knee cap when you're standing up. Anything above that feels very short, and anything longer than that looks skatery."


4. Add shoes on the casual side of smart casual.

"These desert shoes balance the t-shirt-and-jacket combination because they're also halfway between casual and smart: they're smart like lace-ups, but the rounder shape and textured suede make them more casual. Brown brogues or loafers would also look great with this outfit, if you prefer something lower."


5. Socklessness of this outfit getting to you?

"Lots of guys hate not wearing socks, which I understand. I'm a fan of invisible socks to get this look without sacrificing comfort. But if you're not, plain black ankle socks are also OK."