In the 1950s, most professional men wore suits and ties to work. As society gets increasingly more laid back, many are pushing the boundaries of their company’s dress codes. And when it’s really hot outside, why not wear shorts? They’re becoming increasingly more common at the workplace, particularly among millennials. But are the appropriate?
Despite the advent of casual Friday, wearing shorts has traditionally been viewed as a faux pas, particularly in areas such as law and finance. Some men wear them anyway even though there might be a little voice in their head that makes them question the decision. If you fear what your boss may think, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Business Insider writer Dennis Green wrote last year that men shouldn’t wear shorts because it is a professional disadvantage. Clothing sets a mood, and wearing certain clothes at the office boosts confidence, thereby sending out the right signals for success. If one is wearing shorts, it could potentially affect performance. These people may worry about their style choice instead of focusing on their work.
Fashion mogul Tom Ford stated in 2011 that shorts are only appropriate at the beach or on a tennis court. And several studies have demonstrated that wearing business attire can make people more successful, while casual clothing can adversely affect negotiations.
People judge others on their appearance. What they think of a man wearing khaki pants and a button-down shirt is different from one who is wearing cargo shorts and a t-shirt. If both men were equally skilled at their work, which guy would receive a raise? In all likelihood, the one with the more put-together look has an advantage. The phrase “dress for success” applies.
With the rise of athleisurewear, casual clothing is becoming more prominent, even if its place in the office is still largely taboo. However, there are some work environments in which wearing shorts are perfectly acceptable. If colleagues commonly wear jeans and sneakers, then shorts are okay too. If you have a job on the beach, shorts will keep you cooler than long pants. If the office is hosting an outdoor event such as a picnic, shorts are a go. But it’s always better, and less embarrassing or career-killing, to arrive overdressed than underdressed.