The Haught guide to summer fashion

Work shorts

I don’t know much about fashion, but I know what I like. And I like what I saw in a 45 year old ad for King Gee Permanent Press Tropical Shorts (posted by the brilliant Facebook page, Lost Melbourne).

Of course, 1970 was a different time. I was minus 12 years old back then, so my memory of the era is a bit sketchy, but the ad tells us this was a time when 60 year-old men in exposed knee-high white socks consulted blueprints while standing. A time when the word “Bermuda” meant something so much more than “tax haven”. A time when some hastily scribbled red texta sufficed as the background for a print advertisement.

It was a time that we should look back on with nostalgic envy.

The question of whether or not to wear shorts in a corporate environment is barely worth asking. Of course you should.

The more pertinent question is “Should I wear a shirt and tie with my shorts?” 1970 tells us that the answer is yes. The shirt can be long or short sleeved, a pocket holding a pen is preferable and the tie-knot should be no bigger than a ten cent piece, or about the same width as your belt. The shorts hem should end well above the knee.

The ad is silent on whether this uniform is as appropriate for men as it is for women, so I’m going to make an executive decision and say it most certainly is.

There’s your guide to warm weather workwear, Haughtologists. No room for interpretation. Summer is here. Go to it.



An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

You can read the column – Benign to Five – in those papers every Saturday, and if you miss it, you can look it up online in the Workplace section of The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, WAToday and Brisbane Times. (I now wankishly call myself a “syndicated columnist” on my CV.)

Read more Haught newspaper columns

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  1. No. The 1970s remember, was a fashion collision between gay Mardi Gras and British Raj, perfectly exemplified here. Confused? Self loathing? Impractical? Anachronistic? Ridiculous? Uncomfortable? All that and more.

  2. That tie! That sliderule!

    On another note, I am SURE that you will find these shorts – both for sale and on actual people – everywhere in Australia outside Melbourne and Sydney. I’m sure they’re quite the thing anywhere north of Noosa.

    That said, I would wear these – or something like them – in the blink of an eye.

  3. Actually, I am still devoted to knee socks. They look smart, they keep the sun off your legs on sunny days, and add warmth on cooler days

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