Remember back in July or so when there was all this media attention on the fact that the Northwestern University’s Women’s Lacrosse team wore flip-flops while visiting the White House after being invited to meet the President? I didn’t write anything about it at the time because it seemed like it was being blown way the hell out of proportion. Not that I don’t see how wearing flip-flops for something as formal as a Presidential visit would be considered a major fashion faux pas, but considering the President in question it somehow seemed appropriately inappropriate.
Well it appears that wearing flip-flops for more than casual warm weather situations is actually a big fashion trend among the under-30 crowd of people who have the fashion sense of gravel. Keep in mind this is coming from someone who fully admits he has a poorly developed fashion sense himself, but even I have enough common sense to realize you don’t wear flip-flops with formal wear. The same can’t be said of many of the young women who attend my daughter’s high school, though. The Plymouth/Canton school district has three different high schools that are all on the same campus such that kids are assigned to one of the schools, but could actually have classes in the other two which are within walking distance. It’s very much like the Christian God in the idea of it being three separate high schools, but all part of each other such as to be one, but kinda not at the same time. Anyway you can imagine the chaos that would result if all three high schools tried to hold their homecoming dances on the same weekend so, to avoid that situation, each school has its own homecoming dance on a separate weekend with two weeks between each event.
I mention all of that so you’ll understand that for the past 6 weeks if you ventured out to a local restaurant on a Saturday evening you’d stand a pretty good chance of seeing various groups of teenagers all dressed up and grabbing a quick bite to eat before the start of the dance. It was during these events that I noticed that wearing flip-flops with formal wear has become quite common as I’d hazard to estimate that in any one group of people somewhere around 70% to 95% of the girls would be wearing flip-flops with their very formal outfits. I literally laughed out loud the first time I saw one of these groups and it got me a couple of dirty looks, but I didn’t care. To make things even worse quite a few of the girls were carrying absolutely hideous handbags that were covered with these giant sequines that looked like something left over from the 60s. The combination of these two factors ended up off-setting the elegant nature of the dresses these girls were wearing turning them into graduates of Ethel’s White Trash School of Modeling and Hair Design. I honestly expected more than one of them to have a thick New Jersey accent and a mouthful of gum when they spoke.
I admit that I don’t make it a habit to keep up with what’s going on in the world of fashion as I’m largely a jeans and Hawaiian shirt man myself, but I’m not even trying to be fashionable and I have enough sense not to try and wear such an outfit in a formal setting. When the occasion calls for it I have no problems wearing a nice white shirt with dark slacks, suit jacket and tie and my shoes are those horrible uncomfortable formal shoes that always feel their best immediately after I take them off. I try to avoid having to dress up as much as I can because it’s such a miserable experience for me, but when I can’t avoid it I manage to pull it off rather well. Try as I might, though, I just can’t get my head around how anyone would think that flip-flops for a formal occasion is not only appropriate, but the height of fashion. At least it’ll provide me with some amusement until the trend passes on by.