I’ve all the time frowned at shorts in the workplace. But now I like the concept of lengthy shorts, an untucked shirt and open-toe sandals at work. Is this OK? — Michael, New York
Given the warmth wave presently sweeping the United States; the truth that the majority of us have been caught at dwelling for 16 months; the actuality that many workplaces are not requiring a suit-and-tie costume code; the affect of tech tradition, the place shorts, tees and Tevas are acceptable work put on; and the undeniable fact that the rise of gender fluidity is lastly eroding lots of our most cussed vogue prejudices, that is a wholly comprehensible need.
(Phew! That’s a protracted record of whys.)
Yet it is usually true that for many of the historical past of males’s costume codes, the concept of sporting shorts at work was just about heresy — at the least in a white-collar workplace setting, even after the rise of informal Fridays. And the query of whether or not that is an outdated prejudice is the topic — nonetheless — of vociferous debate.
I imply, it’s one factor that the city of Honesdale, Penn., barred males from sporting shorts of their municipality in 1938. It is one other factor completely to notice that the PGA nonetheless requires male opponents to put on lengthy pants throughout tournaments. And they’re exercising! In the warmth! (Women, on the different hand, are allowed to put on shorts.)
This mind-set might stem partly from the origin of the garment itself. “Shorts” is … properly, quick, for “short pants,” that are what little boys historically wore to denote their juvenile standing. On the different hand, the expression that somebody “wears the pants,” is meant to denote the individual’s highly effective, boss-like aura. In an workplace setting, the message you need to convey to colleagues and purchasers alike might be not: “Hey! I’m still a kid.” The message you need to ship is extra probably, “Have faith in my decision-making juju.”
It can be true that not all shorts are created equal. The designer Thom Browne has constructed a mini-empire on the basis of the shorts swimsuit, with himself as his personal finest mannequin, most frequently showing in a uniform of neatly tailor-made knee-length shorts, crisp white shirt, jacket, tie and costume footwear.
“I haven’t worn long trousers in over a decade,” Mr. Browne stated. “If you feel comfortable and confident and true to yourself in shorts, then you should wear your shorts — with a big smile on your face. I wear them in the winter, too, with knee-high socks.”
Given that in 2018 Zegna purchased a majority stake in Thom Browne that valued the model at $500 million, it would seem that Mr. Browne knows what he’s talking about. As does the fact that when LeBron James was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he got the entire team to wear Mr. Browne’s shorts suits for their entrance walk.
When I asked Guy Trebay, our men’s wear critic, what he thought, he was in Italy where, he said, “in the current Saharan heat wave, locals are almost uniformly dressed as you describe.
“So give it a try. And if anyone gives you side-eye, just tell them you’re Florentine.”
Your Style Questions, Answered
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