Tag Archives: footwear

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.

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