When it's hot outside, who wants to wear pants or even worse ... a full suit? Unless the office has the air conditioning cranked all the way up, pantsuits can leave one sweaty in the summer sun.

Fashion runways have been showing shorts as the latest office wear for summer. Some think it's inappropriate, but with the proper short, shirt and shoes this look can be quite chic.

Let's start with the shorts. Keep the Daisy Dukes and all other styles of denim shorts in your drawer. These should not go anywhere near the office. Don't even think about it.

Instead, choose a pair of shorts that are made from a fabric like linen or a cotton twill chino. If you'd wear a pair of pants made of the same fabric to work, then its probably safe.

When it comes to inseam, pick a 5-inch or longer. Short shorts are fun for the beach but keep them out of the office. As for rise, there's no way to go wrong. Paper bag waists with big bows look chic and more dressed up than a traditional button and fly and a high-waisted Bermuda short looks great under a blazer.

Classic colors like khaki brown, white and navy are popular for a reason but don't let fun colors discourage you. There's nothing wrong with spicing up your wardrobe with a pair of hot pink patterned shorts, especially if your office has a dress down day.

Don't get too carried away, though. Leave the black sparkly shorts in the closet for a night out.

When picking a shirt, here's a simple formula:

Casual V-neck cotton shirt + shorts = casual.

Casual V-neck cotton shirt + shorts + cardigan or blazer = office appropriate.

It's all about layers. That may sound ridiculous during the summer, but it's true. A light cardigan will do the trick on days when it's too hot for a blazer.

Still need to be cooler? Try a flowy blouse or a classic oxford shirt. Both are work appropriate, cute, classic and most importantly, cool. Not to mention, the classic oxford comes in a variety of colors that would all happen to look fantastic with a pair of khaki shorts and a navy blazer.

Next, are the shoes. The shoes can make or break the outfit. Flip-flops are a huge no-no. It doesn't matter if they are rubber or fabric. Do not wear them. Automatically, flip-flops give off a "beachy vibe" which perceives them as ultra casual.

Sandals, on the other hand, could work. Be careful, though, because even these could make shorts look too casual. It all depends on the office environment.

Instead, try a wedge or a heel. Wedges are very popular this summer and you can never go wrong with the classic pump. Try a pump in a nude shade; they're really trendy right now.

Still not quite sure about shorts in the office? Ask yourself, "would I wear this to work if it were a skirt?" If the answer is yes, go for it. After all, the only difference between a pair of shorts and a skirt is that a skirt is open on the bottom and shorts are not.

Editor's Note: Abby is a college student who reads multiple fashion magazines and blogs on a daily basis and loves providing fashion advice to her friends.