En Brogue In Full: office shorts

What to wear to work in the heatwave.

Happy heatwave, everyone! I’m so thrilled that we’re having a sunny summer, aren’t you? I’m such a fan of this time of year that during years when it’s not good weather, I have recurring dreams that I’ve slept through the whole summer, only to wake up and find it’s rainy October already. AWFUL! My anxiety dreams are pretty niche, I admit – I also regularly have nightmares that I’ve accidentally worn heels and been spotted out in them by one of my Instagram followers, and since I gave up meat last year my accidental chicken consumption in dreams has gone through the roof…

Hannah Rochell Photographed by Zac Frackelton

“Can’t stop! I’m on my way to work!”


ANYWAY! Shorts. Being a summer girl who grew up on a holiday island, I’ve always really embraced wearing shorts to work, but I completely understand that it can be a brave thing to undertake, particularly if you work in a smart office with a strict dress code. Now, I realise that I am currently working as a freelance writer, and as I write this am dressed in tiny shorts with elephants on them in the comfort of the shade of a tree in my garden, but I assure you that I have had many jobs in my life that require a somewhat more ‘put together’ attire than this. Dressing for the office in the summer is a tricky beast before you even bring shorts into the mix (should I bare my shoulders? Are sandals acceptable?), but with a few easy rules you can make it work for you. And one of the best ways to stay more boardroom chic than Bermuda shorts is to be very picky about your shoes.

Hannah Rochell Photographed by Zac Frackelton

For me, it has to be a flat pair (OBVIOUSLY, but also because heels and shorts is a bit Cheeky Girls for a professional enirvonment) but it also has to be an enclosed shoe, like the lovely Finery London loafers I am wearing here (NB these are also very lightweight which makes them easy to wear in this weather). It’s not that I don’t think you should wear sandals to the office, provided that they are smart (no flip-flops under any circumstances please!), but personally I would pair them with some cropped cigarette trousers or culottes rather than the shorts. It’s just a step too far towards actual beachwear, in my opinion.

Hannah Rochell Photographed by Zac Frackelton

Of course, the style of the shorts themselves is vital. Look for materials that are traditionally used for suiting, like pinstripes or the dogtooth check I am wearing here, or something quite plain. While I love tropical prints on culottes, I would avoid these bright patterns if your hem falls above the knee as you’ll look more like your going surfing. Speaking of which, never pick a hem shorter in length than you would feel comfortable in if you were wearing a skirt; somewhere between lower thigh and knee is probably good. These are old but demonstrate perfectly what I mean (I have found some alternatives below, too). And pair your shorts with something smart on top – I like to wear mine with a shirt or very plain T-shirt with a blazer (if it matches the shorts, even better).

As usual, I would love to know what you think. Would you ever wear shorts to work? Do you have any pet hates when it comes to what people wear to the office during a heatwave? Are you one of the ones that wears flip flops in the city?! Leave comments below.


  1. Your advice to not go shorter than you’d feel comfortable in a skirt, is spot on – it took me years to work this one out! I’d say this outfit would work out of the office too.

  2. So glad you did this post, it’s like you read my mind! I LOVE your style and the fact you’re not overtly girly-girly for those of us who prefer a more tomboyish look, your advice is always really helpful when I’m stuck on outfit details! And thanks for the heads-up on these shoes 🙂 On a side note, any idea why Northern Cobbler don’t seem to have released any new styles for ages? I always love their shoes on your blog/insta x

    • Ah thank you for this lovely comment! It’s so nice to hear. Yes these shoes are good (I admit I haven’t worn them much yet though as I’m working in the garden in my Birkenstocks!). I’m not sure re Northern Cobbler. Would love to see some new stuff from them so will try and find out! Thanks again for reading!

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