WEARING shorts to work in the hot weather seems like the perfect solution. Obviously you wouldn’t wear “short” shorts, but the “City” style shorts that are tailored with a cuff and come to just above the knee are as comfy and relaxed as long trousers, yet cool in the summer, and only show as much leg as a skirt. Plus, they look very chic with a slight heel and a tailored jacket to match. So why isn’t the City teeming with them? The designers certainly give us plenty to choose from year after year, almost for as long as I can remember.
There are good reasons to approach shorts with caution. First, wearing City shorts to the office is definitely for the younger woman; anyone over 30 should think long and hard, depending on their line of work and position within the company. If you work in an informal, relaxed or fashionable media-type office (as opposed to a law firm with a formal business dress code), or indeed at certain types of hedge fund, then I think they’re spot on. Make sure your legs look tanned and toned, and wear platform courts or flat structured pumps if you have long slim legs. With City shorts, the rest of your outfit must be particularly smart and professional, so a tailored jacket, crisp white shirt and smart handbag will enable you to carry off the look perfectly.
If your company is a big firm or has a “business casual” dress code, then I think you should approach City shorts with trepidation. In such offices, you should wear tights even in the summer – suddenly shorts with tights underneath are no longer cool (and I’m talking about the sweat factor here). Also, your clothing should enable you to command attention, not attract attention – there might be a few nudges and winks in the office, which could make it difficult for you to wrap knuckles with authority.
I know it’s refreshing to ring in the seasonal changes with something new and different – I’m always up for that – but it’s also worthwhile thinking about why you’re at work. Is it to give your colleagues a fashion treat, or to show them your cutting-edge style is CEO-worthy? Or maybe, going to work is about being comfortable, relaxed and confident, knowing that your style is not only appropriate, but also smart and professional to all eyes around you.
Sara Hollamby is a business image consultant at Working Voices. Email her at sara