For decades, men in the corporate world have shunned shorts as office attire — even during the most sweltering summers. But the days of sweating in suits may soon be over.
More men are testing out shorts in the workplace, perhaps in part spurred by the social media movement #FreeTheKnee, urging men everywhere to show some leg. (Or, the recent report proving that your office really is blasting the AC to make men more comfortable.)
"Women are in dresses and skirts, so why shouldn't guys be able to try summer styles?" said Megan Collins of Style Girlfriend, a blog about men's fashion and lifestyle.
The Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham wrote about how "glorious" it was to wear shorts to work, and Esquire.com recently ran a guide for how to pull off the look. Online, men are posting photos of themselves sitting at their desks in shorts.
Like all trends, not everyone is on board — and in some office environments, shorts won't be welcome.
"This is going to take some warming up to for most men. I'd say wear them sparingly," Laurie Brucker, a stylist in Los Angeles, told TODAY.com. "Know your audience, know your environment, and choose wisely."
For men who want to try the trend, here are a few guidelines to consider:
1. Not all shorts are created equal
Maybe we're stating the obvious, but skip the cargo and board shorts.
"You want a short that hits about an inch or two above the knee," Collins told TODAY.com. "Go for a slim cut, close to the thigh. Some guys might feel like that's too tight, but it's generally not the case. Both men and women alike look better in clothes that fit more closely to the body, whether it's shorts, a suit or a dress."
Lastly, choose shorts in a light to mid-weight cotton, she said.
2. Keep it polished up top
The best look with shorts is a button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up around the elbow, Collins said.
Other options: a light sweater, or a polo shirt.
3. Skip (or hide) the socks
Go without socks or choose a pair of ankle socks that don't show. As for shoes, it depends on the look.
"If you're in a more casual office, you can wear a lace-up sneaker — not a tennis shoe, but maybe a pair of classic Vans in a neutral color," Collins said. "Or a boat shoe."
For a more corporate environment, stick with a dress shoe: "If you pair khaki shorts with a suede wingtip, you would be surprised by how dressy you feel."