Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

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

Story continues below advertisement

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

Report an error Licensing Options

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at