Should You Wear Shorts To Work?
The office air-con is on the blink, your commuter train is the temperature of an Ibizan beach and your colleagues seem unsympathetic to your sweaty plight – but are shorts ever safe for work? Can the average gentleman ditch his year-round strides in a formal setting and, if so, what is the best way to wear the alternative? We approached a Savile Row tailor, a buyer, a menswear designer, British Vogue's Features Director, a GQ Contributing Editor and a GQ Fashion Assistant to settle the debate once and for all...
Oliver Spencer, menswear designer
"Shorts have most definitely made the transition from the beach to the city. Styled in the appropriate way shorts can be great for the office: a tailored city short silhouette is the most appropriate in said environments.
"The fabrication of the shorts is key and helps to define how suitable they are for a formal occasion. Teamed with relaxed tailoring and great footwear you can create a very sophisticated look, on par with any full trouser or suit.
"The ability to style the shorts and wear the complete outfit well is paramount. In short, style over environment."
Angelo Mitakos, GQ Senior Fashion Assistant
"'Should I wear shorts to the office?’ For me, the answer will always be yes. When temperatures are hitting the 25 degree plus mark I can't imagine leaving the house in anything that passes my knee. Not only have the rules of the office changed since the beginning of the 21st Century but so have the dress codes. It's time this question was laid to rest once and for all."
Patrick Grant, owner of Norton & Sons
"As with all clothes, so with shorts. The litmus test is always: are you dressed well and appropriately? If you're wearing shorts do you still look smart? Are shoes clean, polished (and leather)? Is your shirt pressed?
"You should wear a tie and light jacket if needed.
"Secondly it is a question of regular common sense. If the Queen happens to be visiting work on the day in question then leave the shorts at home."
Adam Kelly, buyer at Fenwick of Bond Street
"To quote a style icon: 'gentleman do not wear shorts'. Love that from Mr [Tom] Ford. I can relate to this, but, in the heat, the correct look can allow for this rule to be broken. There are some very dapper gentleman who pull shorts to work off: Nick Wooster and Sam Lambert are great examples.
"Personally, I'm a big fan of the shorts suit.
"So in summary great tailored shorts, a crisp shirt and a pair of beautiful shoes could allow for the above quote to be questioned. Maybe the bigger issue is actually how you tackle the grooming of the new exposed leg?"
Giles Hattersley, British Vogue Features Director
“After a long summer of heavy reflection, I think probably not. I do wear shorts to the office sometimes – but I never feel that great about it, mostly because I’ve yet to see anyone really nail the length/look. You always end up looking like a tourist or a bit of trade.
"The best I’ve managed is some JW Anderson near-knee length ones with green hearts on which I’m super into but make me look like a confusingly chic children’s television presenter. Best saved for the weekend.”
Nick Carvell, GQ Contributing Fashion Editor
"The problem with shorts isn't that they aren't office-appropriate under the right circumstances (after all, they can be styled up to look just as smart as your best suit) but rather because most men forget one crucial and seemingly obvious detail: that their legs are on show.
"If you're taking things above the knee for work, you've got my full support as long as you put in a bit of effort beforehand (at the bare minimum a body lotion and a good exfoliating scrub to get rid of any rogue ingrown hairs).
"Alternatively invest in a light grey or navy blue cotton/linen mix, slim-fit suit, which will keep you cool just as nicely without any extra leg work."