Friday, June 15, 2012

To flip-flop or not to flip-flop?

There seems to be an current debate about flip-flops.  Just yesterday morning, the Boston Globe published 2 articles, one in favor of and one opposed to flip-flops.  Personally, I don't think it's a 'yes' or 'no' question, just a matter of 'when to wear'. Since this seems to be a polarizing article of clothing, I thought I'd outline my parameters for when to wear flip-flops.

Rubber Flip-Flops

The most basic version, from your $6.94 Old Navy flip-flops...
Image from your $50 Tory Burch rubber flip-flops...
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...and everything in between, like Havaianas, which range from the $20s to $30s...
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...these useful shoes can be worn to lots of places.  The White House to meet with the President?  No.  Dinner in the city?  No.  Any place of work?  Not really.

Rubber flip-flops, in my book, are best limited to the beach, parks, errands runs (grocery store, drycleaner, etc.), hanging around your house, gardening, school pick-up, etc. - basically those times when you are most casual.  Oh, and keep a pair in your car for sneaking in a pedicure!

Non-Rubber Flip-Flops

The 'dressier' version of flip-flops can have a slightly wider reach.  My personal summer go-to are the Capri sandals from J. Crew.
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Every spring, I purchase 2 pairs for the summer and wear them to death.  At $49.50, they are a little pricey for basic flip-flops, but are the perfect summer neutral with shorts outfits, summer skirts, maxi dresses.  The leather thong and bottom give a little classier look to the sandal.

Some people are huge fans of the Jack Rogers sandal, which come in every color under the sun.  Another great neutral and a summer staple, these can go from the grocery to lunch and an afternoon of shopping.

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On the very high end of the flip-flop world, the K Jacques St. Tropez flip-flops are the cream of the crop (along with some fabulous Prada croc ones I saw at Nordstrom today).  These are a European go-to; don't go to the French Riviera without a pair.
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All of the above sandals are best for errands, a ladies lunch out, strolling around the shops in places like Chatham, MA or Kennebunkport, ME, a summer BBQ, family dinner with friends, and taking the kids for ice cream.

Flip-Flops Really Don't Belong Here

There are times when I see people wearing flip-flops (LOTS of people) and I cannot understand WHY they are wearing flip flops.  Here are those occasions and why I feel they are so inappropriate.

  1. Walking around a city.  Yes, city dwellers deserve the right to wear flip-flops too.  However, city streets are D-I-R-T-Y.  There is nothing more disgusting than walking around New York City simply in ballet flats, and seeing just how dirty the tops of your feet are at the end of the day.  Imagine how bad they would be with flip-flops?!  Ick. 
  2. Walking around amusement parks, movie theaters, or other similar public places.  Again, the dirty-factor really gets me, but there's also a safety issue for me.  Amusement park rides are metal and not well cared for.  Keeping your feet in closed shoes is a better option for avoiding a potential tetanus shot.
  3. Restaurants that take reservations. If you are making a reservation, leave the flip-flops at home.  
  4. Business meetings or similar events.  Nothing screams 'I'm really laid back' than the slapping noise of flip-flops.  Unless you are at Facebook headquarters, in which case, flip-flops are mandatory.
  5. Nice social events, like cocktail parties, baby showers, weddings, first communions, etc.  Put a heel on and dress the part.
This is not what I'd want to see on a wedding day.
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Hope that helps clarify any flip-flop debate that might be raging out there!  When do you wear flip-flops? ~ JH


  1. You go Tory Burch - you put a little gold emblem on a $5 commodity and charge 10x. You go all the way to the bank you savvy lady!

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