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Can Lawyers Wear Flip Flops and Shorts Around the Office?

By George Khoury, Esq. on June 26, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Depending on your office dress code, there are likely bright-line rules that dictate no shorts and no sandals. However, when the temperatures start to spike over the summer, you might be thinking about playing fast and loose with those rules, especially if you work in a business casual environment.

As a general rule of thumb, if you've never seen anyone else around your office in shorts or flip flops, then you might not want to be the one to test the policy. But, if you're in a setting that doesn't get walk-in business, and rarely has clients on-site, and you can keep a suit with shoes on the ready in your office, that risk might just be worth it (particularly if you've never heard of anyone getting in trouble for dress code violations).

Before you take the exposed shins and feet plunge, you may want to consider the following:

1. Ask Permission First

Yes, you are an adult. And yes, asking another adult if your wardrobe choice is appropriate will feel awkward if you don't already have a close relationship with that other adult. But, if you can't bring yourself to ask your manager first, think about how embarrassed you'll be if you're called out and told to change.

2. Can You Just Change Clothes?

Unlike many personal characteristics, and rules, clothing is rather easy to change. If it's really hot out, and your office has AC, you might want to consider changing your clothes when you get to work, and again before you leave. It is not uncommon for lawyers in less stuffy practices to dress however they please and just leave their court suit behind the office door, only to be donned when actually going to court or meeting with a client.

3. What's Your Suit Made Of?

Before you decry that the heat is unbearable, check the tag of the suit you're wearing. If you see anything other than a natural fiber, you need to go summer suit shopping. Sadly, most of those wonderful "wrinkle-free" suits and shirts are not made from 100% natural fibers. You may be surprised to find out that light colors and light, breathable materials, may make a summer suit more comfortable in the heat than you'd expect. And while you're at it, find some nice, breathable dress shoes (and no, woven sandals don't count -- think boat shoes).

Protip: Get yourself a light natural fiber suit with an unlined jacket.

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