Model wears shorts £140, Jack Spade, 83 Brewer Street, London W1, 0207 734 4768

There’s no need to be afraid of wearing shorts to the office - simply follow a few easy rules to ensure you don’t look like  Just William, says Rebecca Gonsalves

It may be summertime, but the living ain’t easy – well, not when you’ve still got to go to work in an office that has begun to have plenty in common with a fiery forge.

At this time of year, the unofficial office uniform of smart trousers, clean, long-sleeved shirt and leather shoes becomes far too restrictive to wear, but how do you dress for the weather while preserving your dignity?

The answer is with a pair of shorts. But before you reach for that ancient pair you wear to mow the lawn, there are a few ground rules that should hopefully see you avoiding a ticking off from HR. Firstly, no matter how casual your workplace dress code, shorts should be smart. A tailored style in a dark or neutral cotton is the least objectionable option.

But don’t be fooled into thinking the rules of suit dressing apply – a stiff leather belt and formal footwear will look incongruous and ungainly.

Instead, opt for a woven or plaited leather belt and soft leather or suede lace-ups; if you’re able to wear trainers a pair of – relatively clean, please – canvas plimsolls or skate shoes will fit the bill. A matching tailored jacket will make you look like you’re paying a strange sartorial tribute to Jimmy Krankie, so opt instead for a fine-knit v-neck sweater, or at least a casual unlined blazer in a contrasting colour.

Of course, model proportions will help pull off shorts with aplomb, but if you are worried about getting your knobbly knees out, there are a few tricks to help direct the eye elsewhere – a sporty sweatshirt with a jazzy logo or a brightly coloured T-shirt should keep attention away from your insecurities.