More men are sporting shorts at work — the key is in how you wear them.
Until this summer, Dan Dickson was not in favor of men wearing shorts in the workplace.
Dickson, a 39-year-old creative director at the music-video platform Vevo, says he would judge those who arrived with their legs showing.
“It feels like you’ve got no respect, like you’re going to camp,” he says.
Lately, however, he has given in, mostly because “it was so stupid-hot out,” he says.
Blame Casual Friday, blame Silicon Valley, blame — who else? — millennials. Shorts at the office are becoming increasingly common.
At Ogilvy & Mather, an advertising and PR agency, some men have banded together for what they call Shorts Friday. Melissa Smith, 46, an executive vice president at the company, says she may have unwittingly jump-started the movement when a new employee asked her if shorts at the office were OK.
“I said as long as guys were wearing them in a work-casual way — no short shorts. And they kind of took that and ran with it,” Smith says.
Chris Krautler, 32, a vice president in the public relations department who has worn shorts to work, says that it is how one wears them that matters. “For our group, the gentlemen’s agreement was: If you wear shorts, they have to look nice,” Krautler says. “The idea of wearing a T-shirt and shorts isn’t right. There’s a balance to it.”
Smith has noticed the effort. “It’s actually quite fun, because the guys on that team have a lot of style, and they try to one-up each other each week,” she says.
Blair Decembrele, a career expert at the job-search site LinkedIn, says the trend is not necessarily a bad thing. “A casual dress code can make people feel more comfortable,” she says, “which can help with productivity.”
But there is a drawback for those who are opting for shorts: corporate air-conditioning. “You’re walking to work, and it’s hot as hell and you’re happy you’re wearing shorts,” Krautler says. “But when you get in, it’s pretty chilly. Now I understand where women are coming from when they complain.”