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I hate unflattering knee-length shorts. Is there an office-appropriate alternative?

The question

What style of shorts is office-appropriate? Am I limited to the dull, down-to-the-knee kind that looks like cut-off dress pants?

The answer

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There's no way you can get away with short shorts at work. Some colleagues may not be comfortable with overly exposed thighs in an office setting. And, yes, the most appropriate length is knee-length – or up to, say, five centimetres above the knee. But the cut need not look like a pair of sawed-off slacks. Depending on your silhouette (i.e., if you are narrow in this area), you might do well with an A-line style. For spring, Giorgio Armani and Fendi showed loose shorts that hit mid-thigh; however, thanks to structured jackets, the statement stayed sharp. Consider, also, a punchy colour instead of black or khaki (J.Crew always has a good selection). Wear a hibiscus pink pair with a white shirt and black blazer. Preppy royal blue or red shorts would both work well with a navy top. Save the frayed denim versions for your vacation, at which point you can set your auto-reply to read: "I'm away from the office, wearing jean shorts. Life is good!"

Amy Verner is The Globe and Mail's Paris-based style reporter. Have a fashion question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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