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Style · July 10, 2015

When Is It OK to Wear Shorts to Work?

1. Jeans and sneakers are acceptable in your officeany day of the week.

If you work at a startup, nonprofit, or in any creative culture where the dynamic can be described as "chill," you can wear shorts to work. Keep it classy with a pair of nice tailored chinos in a khaki or traditional pattern like plaid. Save the denim or wild patterns for the weekend.

2. You work on the beach.

Whether youre saving lives or shucking oysters all day, shorts are a-ok when youre seaside. As a general rule: Keep your shirt on unless theres sand between your toes. If you wear swim trunks as shorts, make sure you pick a pair that fits and flatters you.

3. Youre the CEO.

Although if you made it this far, you probably know how to dress for success.

4. You are attending a recreational outdoor work event that day.

If your company is hosting some kind of summer funlike, say, a midday barbecue at the local parkit's a concerted effort on HRs part to foster a casual, friendly environment. Show that youre on board by dressing down for such an event, but consult with your colleagues first to make sure you dont go overboard in the Hawaiian shirt department.

5. You work for a shorts company.

Besides, we imagine there are much wilder things happening at the Chubbies office than some innocent above-the-knee action.

6. Shorts are part of your work uniform.

We salute you, UPS Man.

7. Its over 100 degrees outside.

We actually cant confirm this with your boss, but this one feels like basic human decency. If you work internally at a law firm or other corporate environment, try a short suit. If youre in a client-facing role, stick with pantsbut throw some extra deodorant, clothing wipes, and sweat-stopping powder in your briefcase.

8. Its a Casual Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

This is another attempt on behalf of your company to loosen the rules and keep employees comfortable. Shorts are all the more acceptable if your Summer Friday is meeting-free and ends by 2 p.m.

Still stumped? If there's no explicit rule against it, the choice ultimately comes down to your company culture. Just feel it out: Definitely dont wear shorts on your first dayno matter the weatherbut later on in your tenure, you may be able to push the envelope. After all, isnt risk-taking a prerequisite to success?


Kate Canary