Shorts Suits – Office Appropriate or Not?


Celebrities are getting out in short suits. Should you venture down this road and wear them to the office? The fashion mags certainly say you can, but really?

I was over at Corporette the other day and they had a poll on this subject and the resounding answer was NO!

Would you wear a shorts suit to the office? This is what the pollsters said:

Neeeeeeeeeeeeever / perhaps if suffering a concussion or some other head injury 75%
Only if I saw at least 3 superiors wearing a shorts suit. 14%
Only if the shorts were as long as an office-appropriate skirt. 8%
Sure, why not? 0%

Here are my thoughts…

Guide to Wearing Short Suits to the Office

Should you wear shorts suits to the office?It’s dependent on the environment you work in. If you work in a  casual environment you could get away with a just above the knee short or knee-length bermuda short (must be tailored), but if you work in the more conservative industries I’d say that it’s best to stay right away from this fashion trend.

Creative environments expect a bit more fashion consciousness and trend awareness (keeping up with what’s out in the world, new and hip etc) so those kinds of places – fashion buying offices, magazines etc yes there could be a place for the shorts suit.

The problem is that shorts are a fairly difficult to wear garment for many women, they tend to be wider than they are long which can make you look boxy.  Also, we associate shorts with holidays and leisure activities not business, so wearing shorts to the office is sending out mixed messages.

I’d say that either just above the knee or knee-length are the shortest you should wear to an office, and I’d advise the same for a skirt or dress too.  Just remember, skin is exciting and exposing too much makes you appear much less business-like.

If you work in a more conservative environment you can wear a cropped or capri pant, but this is also better on your casual Friday rather than as an everyday alternative to a full-length pant.

What do you think?  Should you wear shorts to the office?


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  • Like you said, it *could* work, but it's for the fashion forward, IMHO. In my office, it would be a little, um, amusing : >

  • In the casual world of IT, it'd be pretty weird – both the shorts and the jacket. Knee-length shorts or skirts and capris would be perfect with a top (no jacket), on the other hand.

    What about jackets with short sleeves?

    – tall & slim anon

  • I think it would work in many offices. I have worked for a state agency (parks) and a food manufacturer (marketing: consumer events and office work). In these places if the overall impression is "alternative to skirt" then it will be OK. If the impression is "tennis" then no. The "ruling against shorts" will be issued by the H.R. dept when the young ones wear them too short and the older gals (where I fall into) wear un-structured shorts that look frumpy in the bum or show too much skin in general.

    Ironically shorts might be OK on a wider range of ages in colder months b/c they could be worn with tights and boots.

  • I have worn a short suit to work.
    Now, "short" meaning right above the knee and the jacket was mid butt and shorts were not tight.
    It worked well and it seems very summer appropriate, certainly it depends on what your job is.
    I think it could work well in advertising, marketing environments but not in the banking or government sector..

  • No, outside the fashion or entertainment industries, possibly. Nearly all offices in corporate North America are air-conditioned so there is no need for abbreviated attire. Shorts may look OK standing, but as soon as a woman sits, a great deal of thigh is exposed. Women who show a lot of the upper leg in a work setting are not going to look professional, even if they are.

    Probably most commenters here are women. I have had men tell me that they certainly notice short or revealing clothes at work, and their emotions range from chagrin to resentment to pleasure, but do not include much respect.

  • I have worn long (tailored) shorts to work. This is because half my working life was spent inside the office (with jacket for airconditioning, and heels), and the other half on building sites (with steel capped boots). I have to say that my preference is for longer trousers, but they tend to look a bit wierd with steel capped boots. Thankfully, steel caps come in a range of female styles you can easily wear with a skirt or trousers these days. Way back then I had to buy the smallest men's size, and wear super thick socks to make them fit my small feet.
    I have to say, even though it was the tropics, and many ladies in those climes wear shorts to work, I never felt the great boost of confidence that a good 'professional' outfit gives.

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