For GQ by Justin Fenner.
Memorial Day has past, the air is warm, and after months of keeping their skin sheltered underneath layers such as pants and shirts with sleeves, guys everywhere are finally shedding their sartorial second skins in an attempt to commune with nature ("Sun's out, guns out"), just like everyone's favorite William Cullen Bryant poem would have wanted them to.
But while it's good--right, natural, even encouraged--to dispense with unnecessary garments and embrace this season's glorious warmth, the one way you absolutely cannot do that is by wearing thong flip-flops every damn place you please. This is not to say that flip-flops don't have their time and place. (There is, after all, a time and a place for almost everything.) But the fact of the matter is that flip-flops are not appropriate for all-day, everyday wear--even when the mercury climbs.
To be clear, flip-flops and sandals are not the same things. The shoe on the left is a sandal. The one on the right, with the thing that goes between your big toe and the rest of them, is a flip-flop. Now you know.
Left, Alvaro, $330, available at mrporter.com; Right, Rainbow, $51, available at jcrew.com
There are a lot of reasons why this is true--and they've been detailed by guys like us often enough that every man who's ever read a summer issue of GQ should know them by heart. We're talking about nonstarters like the fact that most guys' feet aren't fun to look at. Dudes don't get pedicures nearly as often as they should. Also, feet often smell.
And if you're still holding tight to your flip-flops, let Tom Ford, award-winning fashion designer and international paragon of gentlemanliness, set things straight. In a 2011 interview with the good people at AnOther, Ford decreed, "Flip-flops and shorts in the city are never appropriate."
But where are they appropriate? Glad you asked:
Places You Can Wear Flip-Flops
- On a beach.
- To a pool.
- In the shower. (But only if you're in college. Otherwise, get a pair of slides already.)
Places You Cannot Wear Flip-Flops
- Your office.
- The bank.
- Bars, be they dive, artisanal, or anything in between.
- Any vaguely metropolitan sidewalk.
- Country roads, regardless of dust level.
- All restaurants, even the kind where you have to order at a counter and take your food to a table you select yourself.
- Outdoor concerts.
- Indoor concerts.
- On a date.
- Wherever a suit is required.
- The above includes your friend's wedding. (At beach weddings, a sandal--which is different from a flip-flop--will do. But that's another post for another day.)
- At a funeral. Or really at any event that takes place in a house of worship.
- Jury duty.
- Alimony hearings.
- In fact, anything that takes place in a courthouse or in the presence of a lawyer.
- Rest-stop bathrooms.
- Any public bathroom.
- Grocery stores. Think of all the loose grapes.
- Galas of all descriptions.
- New York City. Scratch that, any city.
- Literally anywhere else.
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