Flip-Flops and Anarchy

Emily Passey

There is an old myth that it is inappropriate to wear white after Labor Day, i.e. after summer is over. I call this a myth because it is. It’s ridiculous to expect normal people to reject perfectly lovely white sweaters in the depths of winter, or clean-cut white collared shirts — a staple of any wardrobe in any season. Secondly, it’s ridiculous because summer does not end until fall begins, the autumn equinox typically falls two or three weeks after Labor Day; and besides that, it’s warm until October, even in Wisconsin.I mention this old and clearly ridiculous myth to make a point: today, we have very few rules, good or bad, about everyday fashion. Even the age-old rule against mixing black and brown has now been utterly dismissed as old-fashioned, mythic, even. No, we are fashion anarchists.

Anarchy is not necessarily a bad thing. The Sex Pistols had some seriously great hair, not to mention music. However, when anarchy happens to your shoe wardrobe (or lack of wardrobe, or shoes.), it is 100 percent unacceptable.

Why, for example, does one insist on wearing flip-flops into November (well into November, I might add, I just saw some the other day)? Did you know that frostbite could cause you to lose skin or toes? Want to assess whether the day merits wearing flip-flops? Try doing more than looking out the window (sun in winter does not equal warmth); check the weather on the Internet.

Okay, so maybe you don’t have other shoes, though I find that highly unlikely. There are trillions of shoe styles and millions of shoe stores. There are cheap shoes as well as expensive shoes. Also, socks help with warmth.

This brings me to the next point: ballet flats in the winter are almost as bad as flip-flops in the winter. I appreciate their stylistic merit as much as the next woman; I acknowledge the nearly limitless appeal of the assuredly limitless varieties pumped out by every possible shoe merchant globally, and I have been prey to their beauty.

However pretty, they are inappropriate for wear in cold weather, even sunny cold weather — especially if you insist on forgetting about socks (nylons or knee highs may increase the acceptability of flats, but still only to a certain temperature).

The point is that while some fashion rules are obsolete, others should not simply be followed, they should be common sense. Frankly, I don’t care if your replacement shoes, once you’ve gone out and acquired them, are not exactly fashion-forward. As long as they cover your feet appropriately, that’s a big step.