It’s a rule of nature: When the temps start to climb, the hemlines start to rise. And your summer capsule wardrobe is jam-packed with enviable denim skirts, mini dresses and high-waisted shorts to keep you cool (and looking fly) all season long. You’ve basically got this whole warm-weather dressing game on lock — at least when it comes to off-duty. Shorts are the foundation of your summer uniform and an essential component to endless #OOTDs, but during the work week they’re downright questionable… until now. The classically controversial bottom is, in fact, office appropriate. This is not a drill.
There are, however, a few rules (we know, we know — you don’t do fashion rules, but hear us out) to pulling them off without attracting the attention of the sartorial authorities, AKA HR. Namely, choose an appropriate length (try the fingertip trick), stick with polished fabrics (denim is out) and dress ‘em up with separates that mean business. Just in case you need a bit of extra guidance, we’ve put together 11 shorts and top pairings that are guaranteed to get the boardroom seal of approval. Consider it your guide to rocking shorts at the office all season long.
1. Rachel Antonoff Organ Garden Snuffles Top ($260) + Mango Cotton-Blend Shorts ($50): Styling an outfit that reads strictly business doesn’t have to mean donning a boring white button-down. Ditch the neutrals and spice up a set of sophisticated belted shorts with a frilly floral top that’s both elegant and fun. Round out the outfit with block-heel loafers and statement studs.
2. H&M Embroidered Jacket ($70) + Eggs High Waist Floral Print Shorts ($149): For a summery twist on a classic suit that will earn you serious style cred at the water cooler, employ a bit of pattern play. Structured floral shorts in a high-waist silhouette take the place of traditional trousers, while an embroidered kimono makes an It girl-approved alternative to the standard blazer. Whether you team this trend-right combo with a short-sleeve poplin top or a bow-neck blouse, you really can’t go wrong.
3. Finders Keepers Power Hour Top ($140) + Topshop Floral Print Shorts ($60): In a creative office, color is key. Laid-back dress codes mean you can take your shortened-up on-duty look to the next level with eye-catching prints and high-octane color. Make a pair of printed tropical shorts pop alongside a red hot top with swingy bell sleeves. Bring the #girlboss factor up a notch with a neat topknot, metallic platform Oxfords and a “Let’s do this!” attitude.
4. Babaton Percival Vest ($225) + Ace&Jig Drifter Culotte Pants ($250): If you’re still feeling iffy about trading out your suit for a pair of shorts, try this combo on for size. Culottes are the ultimate compromise with their ultra appropriate length and sleek styling. Wear them with a chic sleeveless blazer that offers all the polish you want without compromising on comfort, then throw a mock neck tank and a carefully curated arm party into the mix FTW.
5. Harleyford Blazer by Unique ($435) + Reality Studio Gena Shorts ($157): Fact: Blazers make everything better — and that goes for your favorite pair of shorts too. Pop an anything-but-average blazer, like this striped stunner, on top of embellished, tailored shorts to instantly take them into most stylish employee territory. For maximum impact, don’t forget to mix in a few statement accessories.
6. Zara Oversized Poplin Shirt ($40) + J.Crew Brushstroke Marigold Short ($70): Okay, so maybe calling a white button-down boring was a bit harsh. The wear-with-anything top is just what a pair of bright-and-bold shorts call for; they’re key for creating balance and mellowing out look-at-me features that might draw the side-eye from the boss. To keep the look playful (and true to your fun-loving personality), opt for a funky patchwork number, colorful pointed-toe slingbacks and a classy oversized watch.
7. River Island Geometric Print Top ($48) + COS Speckled Denim Trouser Skirt ($99): Distressed denim is a definite no, but lightweight chambray totally gets the green light, as long as it’s partnered with an elegant silhouette. This trouser skirt does exactly that, making it a shoo-in for your shorts-on-the-clock look. Pair it with a geometric tank and metallic choker for a casual Friday ensemble that’s downright fierce.
8. Mango Suede Jacket ($270) + Zara Bird Print Flowing Bermuda Shorts ($40): Structured styles and elegant fabrics are the fast track to polish, but flowy silhouettes can totally nail it too. Make it work with a palette of neutral hues and unexpected takes on refined office essentials, like a suede kimono and pleated high-waisted shorts. Minimalist jewelry and block-heeled pumps are key for upping the #girlboss factor.
9. Toit Volant Poppy Top ($98) + 1-01 Babaton Joan Short ($150): Don’t let conservative shorts prevent you from having fun with your look. Add visual intrigue to your getup with contrasting tops that create a color block effect and fun accessories like yellow suede mules, an architectural tote and baubles with runway-ready appeal.
10. J.Crew Short-Sleeve Popover Shirt ($88) + H&M Silk Shorts ($60): Silk fabric and a neutral hue make these understated shorts a must for the corporate world. While they’d kill it with an embellished navy button-down and leather slides (swoon), we’re digging the candy stripes on this short-sleeve shirt. DO add dazzling drop earrings and platform t-strap sandals for an Insta-worthy ensemble that’ll show your crew what’s up.
11. Ganni Francis Top ($230) + See by Chloé Pleated Crepe Culottes ($158): Like your favorite midi skirt only better, this pleated number is crazy versatile, and lightweight to boot. Your new go-to bottom come Monday morning? We think yes. Styled alongside a striped sleeveless top, it’ll give your daytime getup just the right balance of ladylike feels and modern muse edge. Take it there with embellished slides and a leather backpack.
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