It’s springtime in the South, and that means the season’s standbys are coming out. Engagement rings. Azalea blooms. Baseball games. Pregnancy announcements (and the subsequent sappy maternity pictures cluttering up your Facebook newsfeed, am I right?). And flip-flops, y’all. Flip-flops.
Even sensible folks are out trotting around town in them. But let’s be honest — they’re not the most attractive footwear. Especially on a man. Think dad at Disney World. Awkward tourist who might as well be wearing a fanny pack, too. Uncle at a family reunion.
I know, I know. They’re just so easy. And sure, it gets unspeakably hot here. Even your tootsies gotta breathe. Flip-flops are the closest you can get to barefoot and still stay socially acceptable. Nonetheless, there’s a time and a place for your flops—and those times and places are fewer than you might think.
The beach, to start with the obvious. Of course you can wear flip-flops here. You’ll obviously need something to protect your sandy feet from the hot asphalt as you trek back to your suite to freshen your drink. Following this logic, you can also wear flip-flops to the pool. Please do, actually. Please don’t be that poor guy wearing the weird leather sandals some slick salesman passed off as “Euro.” Quick trips of any kind are fine opportunities for flip-floppin’. Late night grocery runs? Sure. A laidback visit to your best friend’s house? Go ahead.
It’s the South. It’s nearly summer. You and I both know you’re going to slide some flops on once in a while. But if you’re gonna wear them, wear them smart.
1. Consider the occasion.
If you’re going out, do yourself a favor and put on real shoes. It will instantly make you look more polished—that’s a Man About TOWN guarantee. Need some flip flop alternatives? Try leather “driving shoes”, classic canvas slip-ons, cool sneakers. (Ladies, good grief—you’re lucky enough to have all manner of sandals, heels, wedges, and flats to choose from. Pick one.)
2. No pants, please.
This is just the worst. If you’re sporting flip-flops with trousers (long pants) of any kind, you usually end up looking sloppy instead of casual. Let flip-flops and shorts do their thing, and pick a shoe with a little more structure for your trousers.
3. Keep ‘em out of the office.
You might work in the kind of place where every day is casual Friday. Maybe wearing jeans to work is your idea of getting dressed up. Nonetheless, if you roll up in the office wearing flip-flops, it automatically becomes harder to take you seriously. Plus, do your coworkers really need to see your hairy toes?
4. Take care of your little pigs.
For real. If your feet are going to make an appearance this summer (and they probably are), let’s keep ‘em decent. I’ll say a few words and we’ll leave it at that: toenails, hair, dirt, pasty. Are we good?