Flip flops: A summer style that’s an ugly flop
Alexander Fury is a fashion journalist, author and critic. He is fashion editor of the Independent, i and the Independent on Sunday newspapers and was awarded the inaugural Editorial Intelligence Award for Fashion Commentator of the Year 2014-15. He was named one of InStyle magazine's 20 most powerful people in fashion in 2015.
Sunday 15 June 2014
Soaring temperatures seem to be excuses for sore lapses in sartorial judgement. In my mind, chief among these is the almost universal abolition of suitable footwear.
In summer, the shoe is usurped by a variety of inappropriate mutant strains. The one currently enjoying an odd fashion visibility is the pool-slide, or shower shoe: a flip-flop
with a broad band of fabric tethering a flapping plank of rubber to the foot. There’s also a vague vogue for the thonged flip-flop – Havaianas collaborated with Valentino this summer, updating that toe-separating “V” in crocodile, fashion’s favourite mix of high meeting low.
But how low are we willing to go? Because flip-flops and pool-slides should be restricted to bodegas and beaches. They are unsuitable to wear walking the streets.
That’s because, simply, they are not attractive shoes, just lumps of rubber shackled to the feet. They’re the kind of shoes eschewed by medieval peasants as soon as they had enough wit and cash to fashion anything better. They’re the Baldrick of footwear. They’re rudimentary.
I also have an audio issue alongside the visual: the incessant flipping of flop against foot, like an odious ovation accompanying every step – a round of applause for your poor fashion choice.
My biggest issue is the argument that they’re practical. Do the pros outweigh the cons, considering that they’re easily dislodged, your feet end up caked in grime, and they offer zero protection should some brogued bugger stamp on your bunion-free little piggies? Wear them anywhere near me, and said brogues will be mine. Oops.
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