Short sleeved shirts – practical summer work wear or just not acceptable? May 15 2015, 0 Comments

Short sleeved shirts

We've all been there. It's summer. It's hot. You've undone you're top button and you're fighting the urge to undo more. You’re googling maximum legal working temperatures and considering going on strike unless you’re allowed to work in bermuda shorts with a G&T by the phone.

Just as the UK grinds to a halt for the first icing sugar snowfall of winter, so office working men hit a wall every hot summer. “I can’t work under these conditions!” we cry, and professionals the world over mock our inability to stay suited when the mercury creeps above “mild”. Of course it’s not our fault – we’re not used to it and many offices don’t have air conditioning to ease the transition. The best many of us can hope for is a bit of dress code flexibility and mercy from management when everyone’s wilting over their keyboards.

Even if you’re not required to wear a full suit and tie, shirts are universal work wear for men; but here’s the rub – “shirt” is usually synonymous with “long sleeved shirt” – and whilst short sleeved shirts have been around for decades, attitudes to them still range from not very stylish to outright bans on them in the workplace. There’s been something of a revival recently, but it’s still a complex Venn diagram that maps the relationship between short sleeved shirts and office dress codes.

Whether you can get away with them at work ultimately comes down to how enlightened your boss is and unfortunately we can’t change that, but if you want the best chance at acceptance, follow these simple rules:

1. Back to basics – fit is everything

First things first – if it doesn’t fit right, forget about it. You’re already battling the notion that your outfit is automatically too casual, so get the basics right and make sure it’s a good fit on you. The size of the sleeves will be very visible and it’s almost certainly not the time or place for bulging biceps, so make sure the sleeves aren’t too small (or too large).

2. Pick a nice one

It goes without saying, but if you’re going out on a fashion limb, make sure you’re doing it in the right garment. Our short sleeved shirts all feature contrasting turn ups which keep the garment neat and defined in lieu of cuffs.

3. Consider the tie carefully

Short sleeves may be inching closer to acceptance, but adding a tie is probably a step too far. It’s still perceived as geeky and that’s not set to change in time for the summer. Really the only safe way to pull off this combination is to wear a jacket, which somewhat defeats the object of the exercise (though if you work in a super strict environment that doesn’t even allow jacket removal you will save yourself one layer). If you must wear a tie to work, even in summer, short sleeved shirts might not be viable for you just yet.

Can’t I just roll up my sleeves?

Of course you can. Rolling up sleeves is pretty much a universally acceptable, even positive, thing. But when the weather is actually hot, all that extra fabric and restriction on your upper arms isn’t going to keep you cool, although it does look good. However it’s a safe bet if short sleeved shirts have been officially banned.

The final caveat

You know your work dress code best (hopefully), so you’re best placed to judge whether you can wear a short sleeved shirt, but following these rules should give you a fighting chance to win over the non-believers.

Over to you – do you wear short sleeved shirts to work, will you be trying for the first time this summer, or is a complete no go?

Check out our full range of short sleeved shirts here.

If you're employer is extremely conservative, shop our long sleeved shirts here.