From the WSJ: Can You (Finally!) Wear Shorts in the Office? It Depends

man wearing shorts at work
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Even if you enjoy wearing formal clothing, if you work somewhere with harsh summers you have no doubt felt overheated having to wear dress pants each day.

For women there are at least some options to alleviate this thanks to dresses and skirts being deemed professional attire. But men have no such professional alternative, and neither gender has gotten the okay to simply wear shorts to work.

However, The Wall Street Journal shares events over the last two years may have finally changed that.

The compromise that some offices are making is to allow employees to wear shorts on casual Fridays now.

More businesses recognize that personal comfort is a major factor why some employees would be reluctant to return to the office. So there is some flexibility being shown in allowing employees to wear similar attire to what they may have been wearing while working from home.

Some offices are taking it a step further and not even implementing a formal dress code anymore unless the workers will be speaking with clients in person on that day. Bosses at such companies feel this less formal atmosphere is not only appealing to getting employees to join the team but that it also creates more camaraderie.

Of course, the decision to allow shorts is certainly not something that has unanimous approval. Some feel that while concessions on loosening dress codes is permissible, allowing shorts is a step too far.

Both male and female workers alike spoke about how they feel going that informal makes them concerned about being taken seriously. And to play devil’s advocate, presentation and appearance do matter in regards to what impression you make.

You may never get a chance to demonstrate your high competence if you give off a lazy vibe in your appearance.

Women also spoke to how they feel they have a hard time being taken as seriously as their male peers without further undermining themselves. Some women feel they have to always go above and beyond to get the same recognition as male coworkers.

So even if shorts were permitted, some female workers would still avoid them due to fear it could subconsciously affect their credibility.

It ultimately comes down to are you willing to embrace comfort at the risk of people assuming worse of you? For some, they are confident their work speaks for itself. For others, shorts remain a workplace taboo.

To see more of the arguments for and against shorts at work, read the Wall Street Journal article here.


We Grow People offers tips on what to wear to make a great impression at your job interview.


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