Accessories


So, the summer season has arrived.  Strangely, though it’s probably the heat, this is the season where most people lose their damn minds and start dressing in clothes that I wouldn’t wear to do laundry.  I’ve seen guys at the bar wearing things like sweat shorts, cheap plastic flip flops, Crocs (!?!) and the worst?  These:

Sorry, kids, but WHAT THE HELL?!   These look awful.  I feel like the person who wears these is some hippie who was kicked out of a store for being barefoot, so they spent $75 to make sure they can still “feel” barefoot.  WHY ARE YOU WEARING THESE IN PUBLIC, PEOPLE?  They are ugly.  They basically make you look like the Borg Queen!  Ugh.

However, I never like to say that you should NEVER wear something.  My mother always said that the key to style is picking appropriate pieces for appropriate venues.  If you are going kayaking or hiking or doing some parkour training, then go ahead and wear these shoes.  If you are going to be doing some sort of Cross Country event or a fun-run?  Go nuts.  But if you are going out shopping or worse – out to eat – then please consider another shoe.  Or be prepared for whispers, bold-faced questions about your weird toe shoes, and staring. (Full disclosure: I don’t own these shoes, nor have I even wanted to)

But – in the event that you wish to own these odd shoes for something athletically appropriate (parkour, kayaking or rafting), then please, check out their website: Vibram FiveFingers

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In fashion, there is a purpose for everything.  This may in fact be the foundation of a good wardrobe: wearing articles of clothing at the appropriate time.  This would include shoes.  There’s that old axiom that you can’t wear white shoes after Labor Day (which, you can, but they need to be a winter white).  And today, I have to get this off my chest. Flip Flops are not okay as an all-purpose shoe.  Actually, unlike flour, there is no all-purpose shoe.  And if there were, flip flops would not be one of them.

The flip flop is meant to be a light, casual (VERY CASUAL) shoe used primarily in summer and that’s the only time it’s appropriate.  Ok.  ONLY.  So, when the leaves start changing and you have to start wearing a jacket in the morning? That’s the time to retire the flip flops.  Go for a sneaker.  There are even some sneakers that do not require that you tie the laces.  Shocking, I know.  So that’s when you should wear flip flops.

Now for the where.  DON’T WEAR FLIP FLOPS TO A BAR!  I cannot stress this enough, people.  Your feet will get dirty and on top of that, you will probably get stepped on at least once by someone wearing real shoes, which you will deserve. So stop it.  Also, if you are going out for a night on the town and even if you have really nice leather flip flops?  Put them back in the closet and put on a dress shoe.  Please.  You know where you can wear flip flops?  A nice backyard barbecue in April (assuming you live somewhere where you don’t still need a parka in April), a daytrip to the lake for fishing, camping, going to the city pool.  Those are appropriate places.

Also, there is some indication in a few academic studies, that flip flops can actually cause damage to your body because of the way you have to hold on to them with the toes.  And, look, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t wear them ever (it’s not like a wire hanger).  But seriously, wear them during the appropriate season and at the appropriate venue.  That’s kind of my whole point.

OH!  And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE – clean your feet if you are going to wear flip flops.  This means make sure that the skin is clean and not cracked and dry and that the toenails aren’t yellow, chipped or overgrown.  And men!  If you wear black socks during the week and are wearing flip flops on the weekend?  Clean out the black lint under the toenail.  Not just for your sake.  But for everyone who has to see them.  Please.

This recently came up at my job about and it never occurred to me that this needed to be addressed after the fifth grade, but here we are:  Tucking in a shirt and when to do it.

Some people will have you believe that all shirts are meant to be tucked in.  Certainly there are those who just feel better having the security of a shirt cinched by the belt.  And as with most spectrums, there’s the other end of it; the guys who never tuck in a shirt.  So, here’s my personal feelings as to tucking and untucking.

Untucked:  T-shirts, Polo Shirts, Rugby Shirts.  That is all.  These have a straight hem and are meant to be worn out.  However, you can tuck Polo/Rugby shirts in.  That is because they have a dressy/buttoned collar and lend themselves to dressing up a pair of pants. 

Tucked: Any shirt with tails.  ALWAYS TUCKED IN; NO EXCEPTIONS.  Now.  I will say that I have a shirt that I usually wear untucked.  This is because it is too small to actually stay tucked in (there are products that combat this effectively – one is sort of a rubber belt that goes between the underwear and the pant).  The solution?  I got rid of it (which was a shame because it fit wonderfully otherwise and you wouldn’t believe it, but it never wrinkled).

Pants to tuck?  Anything you might think is dressy?  Should have a belt and be tucked in.  And yes, folks, there are dressy belts and casual belts.  I know, I know, it’s hard to believe – but seriously.  Wear a good belt with good pants and wear the LED-scrolling belt that says “CHAD RAWKS” with your Diesel jeans.  On second thought – don’t ruin Diesel’s good name with that. 

Oh – one thing to avoid: STOP WITH THE HALF-TUCK.  The tuck in the front to show off the buckle and then leaving the rest out?  Seriously, it’s the equivalent to a codpiece.  And what straight male wants to walk around with their crotch showing all day.  Most of the ones I know might as well be Ken dolls with how little they like to show their crotch.

I’ve been thinking about this topic ever since I saw Niles the Butler on The Nanny wear a pair of sock garters and wondered why he would wear them with the advent of elastic to hold socks in their place.  I guess it would be in character for an English Butler (played by a southerner) to wear sock garters as they come off as stodgy and old-fashioned.

And yet, if women wear garter belts or garters, it’s considered sexy.  WHY?  I guess men’s legs aren’t as sexualized as women’s which would explain why men don’t wear high heels, either.  However…I think more men should wear sock garters.  Even though no one really sees them.  Because I know that when I wear my pair of sock garters, it feels like I’m just *that* much closer to being really classy and posh.  Now, there is a place to wear them, and that is not jeans, shorts, or khakis.  I’m thinking a dressier pant needs to be worn with them.  Also, I just like a vintage look (and it don’t get much more vintage than sock garters).

Just don’t wear them where anyone but your significant other can view them, or you may just get laughed at.  Also, keep in mind, they do still serve a practical purpose (as I know my socks fall down a bit during the day).