By Lauren Bravo on April 17th, 2010
Lauren Bravo writes:
So here it is, summer. Overnight we’ve gone from the meandering, half-arsed, do-I-need-a-jacket-or-don’t-I bustlings of spring to full blown, heatstrokey, builders-with-their-tops-off summer. The streets are full of people tentatively walking around in last year’s shorts and sundresses, looking at each other blinkedly as if to say, “this can’t be RIGHT, can it?” and wondering how early is too early for a beer.
But ho, here we are. Another year, another set of sartorial dilemmas to ponder over our Calippos. Will this be the year you actually stick to the regime of bicep dips and can swear off cardigans? Will you find a way of wearing kaftans that looks more Jemima Khan than Demis Roussos? And will you, finally, forgo the flip-flop?
Actually that last one is less a ponderance, more a plea. I am standing here, asking you all very nicely to please, please, not wear flip-flops this summer. Ladies, men (especially men), children, friends, Romans, countrymen, anyone with toes between which to shove bits of plastic; I am begging you. No more flip-flops.
After a short stint on Wikipedia I’ve been unable to find a name for the phobia of flip-flops, but as a lifelong sufferer I think the condition deserves recognition. I’m actually having a little trouble writing the words. I might start calling them the Shoes Which Must Not be Named, like the Dark Lord of footwear.
I’m not alone in this either. Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon in 30 Rock, who may as well be crowned official Queen of All Womankind for her neo-feminist philosophy and championing of donut consumption, notably hates flip-flops. She calls them “gross”. I call them a total waste of a shoe opportunity.
Flip-flops are a non-choice. With the galaxy of beautiful footwear that exists in the world, I just can’t fathom why anyone chooses to finish off a nice outfit with a pair of flip-flops. It’s like putting on couture then carrying your gubbins around in a Somerfield carrier bag. And it doesn’t matter how dainty and bejewelled your pair might be – as far as I’m concerned, there just isn’t enough material to make them an item of style. It’s the same reason wearing a bikini to an awards ceremony will never land you in Vogue.
You might think this is a foot-revulsion thing. But while I’ll admit that the sight of a bloke’s hairy toes isn’t one that rouses a passionate appetite, I am not a footist. Feet are fine. But the unnatural parting of the toes with that little bit of rubber, or leather, or plastic suddenly turns the foot into a thing of horror. They are, to all intents and purposes, foot floss. Imagine if we all started going around with bits of string looped around just our armpits, or… well, I’ll leave you to think of your own crevices.
Then there’s the debilitating factor. It’s a tricky one, this, because of course we wear plenty of other stupid shoes. We wear shoes that make us trot along like a pony, shoes that we can only wear when sitting down, shoes that turn us into limping, snivelling, barefooted fools. I have just spent a week learning to walk down stairs in a pair of clogs without stacking it and ripping off the banister. But those shoes don’t pretend to be anything other than challenging; we know what we are getting ourselves into. Flip-flops, on the other hand, masquerade as something comfortable. They pretend to be an easy option for swollen summer feet, but when you factor in the blister trackmarks and the muscle work involved in keeping the damn things on, they end up in the top quartile of effortful wearing along with sarongs and crinolines.
Plus, you can’t run in flip-flops. You have to do an undignified lollop, with the slippy-slappy soundtrack to match. I have it on pretty good authority that nobody in flip-flops has ever successfully run after and caught a shoplifter. Next time you’re debating a summer shoe choice, it might be helpful to ask the question: “if I get mugged today, which pair would best help me disarm the thief?”
But all that aside, the fact of the matter is that, as we’ve already shown you, this season is full of gorgeous shoes. We have candy colours, stacked heels, Mary-Janes, boots, spindle heels, chunky sandals, brogues, tassels, loafers, wedges, pumps, bows, bells and whistles. We’re even allowed to wear some of them with socks. We have everything our feet could ask for (almost – I lied about the whistles). We have no excuse for wearing flip-flops.
So do your wardrobe justice and throw away the foot floss this year. And for all of you coming to beat me up on behalf of the flip-flop devotees everywhere, don’t bother. You’ll never catch me. Put some proper shoes on and you might have a chance.