WTF is up with flip-flops all of a sudden?

Remember back in July or so when there was all this media attention on the fact that the Northwestern University’s Women’s Lacrosse team wore flip-flops while visiting the White House after being invited to meet the President? I didn’t write anything about it at the time because it seemed like it was being blown way the hell out of proportion. Not that I don’t see how wearing flip-flops for something as formal as a Presidential visit would be considered a major fashion faux pas, but considering the President in question it somehow seemed appropriately inappropriate.

Well it appears that wearing flip-flops for more than casual warm weather situations is actually a big fashion trend among the under-30 crowd of people who have the fashion sense of gravel. Keep in mind this is coming from someone who fully admits he has a poorly developed fashion sense himself, but even I have enough common sense to realize you don’t wear flip-flops with formal wear. The same can’t be said of many of the young women who attend my daughter’s high school, though. The Plymouth/Canton school district has three different high schools that are all on the same campus such that kids are assigned to one of the schools, but could actually have classes in the other two which are within walking distance. It’s very much like the Christian God in the idea of it being three separate high schools, but all part of each other such as to be one, but kinda not at the same time. Anyway you can imagine the chaos that would result if all three high schools tried to hold their homecoming dances on the same weekend so, to avoid that situation, each school has its own homecoming dance on a separate weekend with two weeks between each event.

I mention all of that so you’ll understand that for the past 6 weeks if you ventured out to a local restaurant on a Saturday evening you’d stand a pretty good chance of seeing various groups of teenagers all dressed up and grabbing a quick bite to eat before the start of the dance. It was during these events that I noticed that wearing flip-flops with formal wear has become quite common as I’d hazard to estimate that in any one group of people somewhere around 70% to 95% of the girls would be wearing flip-flops with their very formal outfits. I literally laughed out loud the first time I saw one of these groups and it got me a couple of dirty looks, but I didn’t care. To make things even worse quite a few of the girls were carrying absolutely hideous handbags that were covered with these giant sequines that looked like something left over from the 60s. The combination of these two factors ended up off-setting the elegant nature of the dresses these girls were wearing turning them into graduates of Ethel’s White Trash School of Modeling and Hair Design. I honestly expected more than one of them to have a thick New Jersey accent and a mouthful of gum when they spoke.

I admit that I don’t make it a habit to keep up with what’s going on in the world of fashion as I’m largely a jeans and Hawaiian shirt man myself, but I’m not even trying to be fashionable and I have enough sense not to try and wear such an outfit in a formal setting. When the occasion calls for it I have no problems wearing a nice white shirt with dark slacks, suit jacket and tie and my shoes are those horrible uncomfortable formal shoes that always feel their best immediately after I take them off. I try to avoid having to dress up as much as I can because it’s such a miserable experience for me, but when I can’t avoid it I manage to pull it off rather well. Try as I might, though, I just can’t get my head around how anyone would think that flip-flops for a formal occasion is not only appropriate, but the height of fashion. At least it’ll provide me with some amusement until the trend passes on by.

11 thoughts on “WTF is up with flip-flops all of a sudden?

  1. I don’t have an explanation for the flip flop in the White House incident, but when it comes to dances I’m guessing girls are doing it because as the actual dance progresses they usually take their shoes off anyways. From what I remember girls usually ended up taking off their shoes and checking them or holding on to them about an hour into the dance. Thus if you are just gonna take them off anyways, why spend another 40-50 bucks on shoes? Just my guess.

  2. Never noticed any sort of trend to *not* spend $40-50 (or more) on shoes amongst womenfolk before …

    I have to wonder, though, if the kids are changing into their fancier/less comfortable shoes after they leave the restaurant but before they make their grand entrance at the dance.

    Ah, well—at least they’re not wearing Crocs, which combine the casual impropriety of flip-flops with the fashion sense of the Dutch boy’s wooden shoes.

  3. I’d doubt it, ***Dave.  This summer my wife and I went out, slightly dressed up – she wore flip-flops which made me comment about it.

  4. A friend of mine wore white flip flops at her wedding. Her formal wedding.

    That said, I think women now are becoming more interested in the idea of comfort and function over fashion. At least some women. And there is a difference between a nice pair of sandals and regular flip flops. Dress shoes can be horribly uncomfortable (blisters, numb toes, backaches) and overpriced. I was lucky to find a decent pair for my wedding for less than $40 and that were actually comfortable. Especially if you’re only wearing them once. Women’s fashion is a racket anyway, half the crap they come up with is just to make women think they need to run out and buy more to stuff our overfilled closets. I say as long as they aren’t the cheapie, clipped together kind you get in the bins at the dollar stores, who cares? I would rather see young women in those than the pointy toed, high heeled torture devices they call women’s shoes now. At least we know in 20 years our insurance won’t go up because of all the bad backs and knees, etc.

    *BTW, you could warn people when you’re planning on changing the picture.  That scared the hell out of me this morning. Nice, though.

  5. If more people wore sandals, we’d save a lot on air conditioning, reduce global warming, etc.  I do own a pair of sandals – Birkenstocks ($$$) – but the footwear that I can’t understand is high heels.  They do permanent damage to women’s feet and can mess up their knees and backs, all for some wierd idea of “fashion”. 

    Another fashion trend I dislike is the bare midriff.  Working on a college campus I can’t. wait. for. it. to. go. away. It is just very unflattering to all but professional dancers or atheletes. But at least it does no physical harm like high heels.

    Bottom line, any “fashion” that damages the body seems illogical to me.  Otherwise, no big deal.

  6. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a nice pair of sandals and there’s plenty of formal style sandals out there. Nor am I against women wearing sensible shoes. My wife is short and heavy and never wears heals of any significant size as a result and is quite fond of sandals herself. She’s even been known to wear them in the winter time when she’s just running out to the store real quick, something I would never do myself just because my feet would freeze before I got to the car.

    What I’m talking about is flip-flops like you’d wear to the beach or while taking a nice summer stroll. Thongs that are anything but formal footwear. These could arguably be damaging to the body because they offer no arch support whatsoever and when combined with formal wear they give the overall impression that this is someone who’s never gotten dressed up before and is clueless about what sort of footwear they should have.

    The weird thing is I haven’t noticed any guys doing this sort of thing yet. My mother would’ve killed me if I’d tried to go to a high school dance in a tux with flip-flops on. She may have raised an idiot, but not a complete friggin’ idiot.

  7. Abercrombie & Fitch started making flip flops (they call them Treads or Flaps) popular mostly from the OC (Orange County) folks down in Los Angeles.  It started with the guys wearing them, then moved on to the girls. 

    Also, the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy TV show has shown Carson on more than one occasion buying and wearing flip flops.  Although, for the more formal dress-ups, he tends to recommend a close-toed heavy leather sandal.

  8. Oh, btw, personally I wouldn’t wear flip flops to visit the shrub.  I’d consider the visit more of visiting the House, instead of it .. i mean him.

  9. My daughter’s homecoming dance is this weekend.  The school has banned heels because of the damage it causes to the gym floor.  The school’s suggestion for footwear?  Flip-flops or slippers!

    And don’t assume this trend does not affect guys, go to any club at the beach in these parts (Florida) and look at feet.  Flip flops everywhere.

  10. As I still take one or two college classes at the local university here, I’m on the invitation list to the annual holiday gala. And the thing you hear these girls talking about for their outfits(not to mention I’m the same age as all these air head girls). Those bloody foam dollar costing flip-flops HAVE become a rage here for the formal wear… Something I think I can do with out…

    While I still like to make a somewhat good impression when having to get dolled up, I’m not about to make a fool out of myself with those foam flip-flops. And this gala is IN December, but as this is Texas, it doesn’t to pentrate these girls’ minds that it’s still WINTER and cold.

    I can’t wear overly high heels because of my knee injury. Problem solved. Found a very lovely pair of leather slippers(or ballarinas). Very cheap too…five cents at a garage sale…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.