Thanks to Millennials, it's totally OK for men to wear shorts in the office

Until this summer, Dan Dickson was not in favour of men wearing shorts in the workplace. Mr. Dickson, a 39-year-old creative director at the music-video platform Vevo, said 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 said.

Lately, however, he has given in, mostly because "it was so stupid-hot out," he said.

Blame Casual Friday, blame Silicon Valley, blame – who else? – Millennials. Shorts at the office are becoming increasingly common.

Shorts Friday

At Ogilvy & Mather, the advertising and PR agency, a group of men have banded together for what they call Shorts Friday. Melissa Smith, 46, an executive vice president at the company, said she may have unwittingly jump-started the movement when a new employee asked her if shorts at the office were O.K.

"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," Ms. Smith said.

A new style standard

Chris Krautler, 32, a vice president in the public relations department who has worn shorts to work, said that it is how one wears them that matters. "For our group, the gentleman's agreement was: If you wear shorts, they have to look nice," Mr. Krautler said. "The idea of wearing a T-shirt and shorts isn't right. There's a balance to it."

Ms. 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 said.

Comfortable productivity

Blair Decembrele, a career expert at the job search site LinkedIn, said the trend is not necessarily a bad thing. "A casual dress code can make people feel more comfortable," she said, "which can help with productivity."


Although men who earn their pay in law or finance are unlikely to show some leg in the workplace any time soon, there are signs that more traditional professions are wrestling with old notions of office dress. At Goldman Sachs, for example, there has been, since June, "a year-round casual dress code" for its global engineering team, a company spokesman said.

A chilly response

Not everyone is on board. Tom Ford once famously said, "A man should never wear shorts in the city," and Zachary Woods, a 29-year-old who works in corporate development, seemed to agree. "In the workplace, I'm trying to concentrate," Mr. Woods said. "I can't deal with your calves shimmying all over the office."

And there is a drawback for those who have gone along with the shorts trend: corporate air-conditioning. "You're walking to work, and it's hot as hell and you're happy you're wearing shorts," Mr. Krautler said. "But when you get in, it's pretty chilly. Now I understand where women are coming from when they complain."

The New York Times

Check out the gallery to see some of the best office-worthy shorts to wear this spring.