How to Dress Up Shorts for a Cool Semi-formal Vibe

Man Short Suit
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When it comes to wearing shorts, your style options may appear relegated to casual choices, but this isn’t necessarily the case. While shorts may be challenging to dress up and make smart, it’s not impossible. We have found great ways to maximize the wear of your shorts by upscaling their style, and you might even be able to wear them to work! Read on for a helpful list of tips to dress up your shorts for a cool, semi-formal look. With these tricks up your sleeve, you can get the most wear out of your shorts. 


The shoes you pick to match your shorts are a more important decision than you might think. Bearing in mind the kind of semi-formal occasions you might be attending: weddings, holiday parties, business events, dinners, and so on, consider choosing a sophisticated pair of shoes to match. Suede leather shoes are our go-to choice – they’re hard-wearing, attractive, and comfortable. 

Man Button-down Shirt Leather Belt Shorts
Photo: Shutterstock


Too many gentlemen miss out on the opportunity to upgrade their outfits to a semi-formal vibe by not wearing the right accessories. Accessories for men shouldn’t be limited to a silver chain or ring, either: for a subtle improvement, pair your shorts with a real leather brown classic suit belt

Or, pair your shorts with a nice shirt and mother of pearl cufflinks for a more dramatic appearance. You’ll blend perfectly into an upmarket dinner or wedding, even dressed in khaki or denim shorts!

A Nice Shirt

Talking about nice shirts for men, we do highly recommend pairing your shorts with a nice shirt. Formal shirts, like our favorite sky blue twill fitted shirt, can bring so much character and charm to a basic shorts-and-shirt combo. There’s no better way to skirt the line between formal and informal for a semi-formal event. 

Man Suit Jacket Button-down Shirt Shorts
Photo: Shutterstock

A Suit Jacket

Consider throwing a sleek suit jacket over your t-shirt and shorts, as long as they’re all in complementary color shades. Light colors like beige or cream are highly recommended for daytime semi-formal events. Go darker for the nighttime, like black or navy. 

A suit jacket immediately makes you look smart and put-together! It doesn’t matter how casual the rest of your outfit appears: ensure your jacket and shorts are well-tailored so you look appropriately polished. 

Succeeding at a Semi-formal Dress Code

Without our tips and tricks, succeeding at a semi-formal dress code can be difficult. Semi-formal is the perfect centerpoint between formal and informal wear which makes it a grey area! For the most formal events, men may be expected to wear a full tuxedo and bowtie. 

Semi-formal events can range from a nice suit to a pair of shorts! However, as you have now seen, there are many unique ways for you to elevate a wardrobe piece as simple as denim, khaki or linen shorts into something slightly formal but still highly sophisticated. T.M Lewin has all the bespoke menswear you could want to adhere to that cool semi-formal vibe.