102. Flip Flops–The Depth of Fashion

30 Mar

Here in Seattle, the weather is about as fickle as Mary on Downton Abbey. Will it rain? Or snow? Or be overcast? Or sunny? Or marry Matthew? Yes! Sometimes all in one day. That’s one of the first things they teach you at Pacific Northwest Orientation: Layers.

Even so, with a glance out the window, I’ll see some folks in parkas, some in sandals and shorts, and some–inexplicably–wearing all of the above. What I rarely see is people wearing flip flops. Birkenstocks? Yes. Tevas? Boy howdy! But flip flops? Not so much.

I’ve been aware of the Southern predilection for wearing those foot-slapping sandals for quite a few years now. One time my sister tried to convince me that they were the height of fashion. But I’ve seen nary a flip flop shod model making his/her noisy strut down any runway anywhere. And if one ever did, I feel sure they’d be wearing the “shoes” ironically. To be fair, I’ve never seen models in Berkies either, nor do I expect to.

What I hadn’t realized until I was home this past Christmas is that flip flops are considered all-weather footwear. At least by more than one member of my family (and y’all know who you are), seeing as they were wearing them in what I’d definitely describe as “sweater weather.”

I might’ve asked why, but I’m psychic enough to predict the answer: “They’re comfortable.” To which I would telepathically respond, “In winter?” Surely frostbitten toes can’t feel all that great (if indeed they feel at all). At least with Birkenstocks, one has the option of wearing socks. Not that I’d advise this or actually do it myself (full disclosure: I have). But at least you can protect toes from the elements and/or conceal one’s winter pedicure hiatus.

Perhaps sensing a lack in the marketplace, some industrious soul came up with a flip flop sock. Which is great if you want your feet to resemble some sort of tree-dwelling creature or perhaps a reject muppet.

To be fair, I should mention that Southerners deck themselves in all manner of fancy flip flops. These are not your typical shower shoes. You’ll find them in a rainbow of colors (alas, the ones with the faux rainbow stacked heel seem to have gone the way of pet rocks). They’re embellished with rhinestones, flowers, “pearls”, you name it. Still, y’all, they’re flip flops. Lipstick, meet pig.

Perhaps I’m not giving flip flops a fair shake due to a childhood trauma. When I was 10 or 12 years old (or possibly 11), a girl named Natalia came to live with us for the summer, for reasons that are still unbeknownst to me. Natalia loved two things: her flip flops and Phil Collins’ cover of the Supremes’ classic “You Can’t Hurry Love.”

My sister and I were not overly fond of Natalia. I can’t remember exactly why, if the two aforementioned character traits aren’t reason enough. Also, she was a tattle-tale. Anyhow, I’ve come to associate that relentless “flap, flap, flap, flap” noise as the sound of Natalia (read “doom”) approaching. And I feel the urge to dash away quickly lest I be further aurally assaulted by that dreadful song, which is, of course, now playing in an endless loop in my mind.

Sorry, y'all, I don't.

Do you wear flip flops? If so, why?

Images from Etsy: Flip flop sign by Expressions of Kim (another Kim, not me), Flower flip flop by Petal ‘n Pearl Boutique, Crystal flip flop by All Things Glamorous, “I Do” flip flops by Bridal Flip Flops.

12 Responses to “102. Flip Flops–The Depth of Fashion”

  1. labgoddess March 30, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Yes, I do wear flip flops. The sparkly kind or the kind with flowers or polka dots or all of the above. I need to clarify that I live in Southern California and fear of toes freezing is not really a problem here. They are comfortable, and since we get pedicures year-round, necessary to show off nice sparkly toes as well. I’m originally from Pennsylvania and truth be told, only wore them in the summer because frozen toes was a real hazard there. My feet feel free in flip flops. It’s kinda nice actually.

    • Kim Holloway April 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

      Ah, yes, when I was living in Southern California, I participated in the year-round pedicures. I actually kept it up for a couple of years after moving to Seattle, but now I’ve assimilated to the culture here.

  2. O. Leonard March 30, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    I don’t wear flip-flops because the piece that fits between the big and rest of the toes drives me insane. The other thing is that the sound of flip-flops always conjures up a vision of someone, man or woman, who is too, shall we politely say, big to wear shoes comfortably. I like sandals, but you can keep the flip-flops, shower, pool or otherwise.

    • Kim Holloway April 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      I have the same issue with the strap between the toes. I’m not sure how that can be comfortable. Although, it might not be as bad as the sort of sandals that feature a loop to strap in the big toe.

  3. Renee Mason March 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Just completed my closet census and I found two dozen pairs residing there. They just say ‘happy hippie flower child’ and probably always will.

    • Kim Holloway April 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

      You may have more flip flops than I have shoes. Ok, probably not, but that’s definitely the highest concentration of flip flops I’ve heard of!

  4. Hippie Cahier March 31, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    It’s so nice to read you again.

    I am pro-flip-flop. I am not pro-thong.

    I’m amused by that same transitional weather attire phenomenon here in DC and so often wish I had a camera with me on my drive into or out of the city. On the same block, you’ll see people in parkas, scarves, and boots and other people in tank tops, shorts, and flip-flops. I’ve decided the former group is still in pedicure hiatus or been on a spring/summer shopping trip.

    • Kim Holloway April 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

      Thanks, Hippie! The sun’s shining today, so it’s just about time for me to schedule a pedicure. Oh, and that long-overdue brow wax…

  5. Kat Bar April 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    Just found your blog and had to say I LOVE IT! I’m born and raised southern, but replanted so far north right now I can’t even believe it. Totally homesick

    Thanks for the laughs and well, since of pride. It is a blessing to be born southern.
    Read a saying the other day that reminds me of your blog. It said, You know you’re southern when you monogram everything you own, and know how to entertain, and all your parties have a theme. Amen to that! Not to mention that you have to think twice before calling someone on a Sunday or Wednesday night, cause it’s church night.

    Gosh, I miss home.

    • Kim Holloway April 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

      Thanks, Kat Bar, and welcome! You’re so right about hesitating to call someone on Sunday or Wednesday night. Can’t go letting folks think/know that you’re a heathen.

  6. reelingintheyears.wordpress.com April 4, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    Love flipflops! And love the fact those cute girls from that lacrosse team wore them to the White House…

  7. Kellie Elmore April 5, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    just did a post and a quote… “the best memories are made in flip flops” =)

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