Flip-flop mania apparent in casual and business settings…

Cady Meece | Staff Writer

On the beach and in the board room, flip-flops are becoming an accepted part of everyday business attire, according to Spanish teacher Debbie Perry.“Our society is becoming more casual, and flip-flops are starting to evolve,” Perry said. “When I first think of a flip-flop, I think relaxation and summer; but I think certain flip-flops are becoming dressier.”

According to Perry, a switch flop is a plain, raised flip-flop with a twist, and is one of several sandals that could be accepted as professional.

“A switch flop is a regular flip-flop, but the straps have exchangeable Velcro pieces that can be changed into different colors and designs,” Perry said. “They can either be dressed up or dressed down, depending on the occasion.”

According to Principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart, the appropriateness of the flip-flop being worn as business attire depends on the occasion and what you wear.

“When I first started here, I never wore open-toed shoes,” McCarty-Stewart said. “Now, because of the variety of flip-flops, some styles can be worn and still look professional. It is really just a case-by-case judgment.”

According to ECA teacher Melissa Donahue, the type of flip-flops can determine how casual or professional they are.

“A plain rubber or foam flip-flop can imply a more casual look as opposed to more cutesy sandals with jewels, higher heels or made of leathers,” Donahue said.

According to Casualpower.com, there are three levels business attire, none of which include flip- flops as part of the business ensemble. Even sophomore Brittany Boosveld, who said she was a flip-flop fanatic, said that flip-flops should never be worn with professional attire.

“I think flip-flops are the best shoes in the world, but they should never be worn with business clothes,” Boosveld said. “They are casual shoes, and they wouldn’t look right with most business dress.”

According to McCarty-Stewart, there is a definite line between professional dress and casual dress.

“Flip-flops can make an outfit too casual in some cases,” McCarty-Stewart said. “For instance, if you walk into a restaurant and you cannot tell who is an employee and who is simply out to lunch, it becomes too casual for business.”

According to Donahue, flip-flops are on the fence between casual and professional.

“Flip-flops have different materials and accessories on them, but they are right on the line,” Donahue said. “They could go either way.”

According to McCarty-Stewart, first impressions are essential, and flip-flops may not make the cut in a professional setting.

“If I were to see a business man or woman in a suit, wearing flip-flops, it is human nature to immediately assess the person in front of you,” McCarty-Stewart said. “I would probably giggle a little bit to myself if I were to see that.”

As a result, Donahue said that flip-flops can have a negative impact on an otherwise professional outfit.

“When you see someone dressed very professionally and you scan down to their shoes, it takes away from a positive first impression,” Donahue said. “In class, I don’t take points off for it, but it almost ruins the outfit. I also think that girls get away with it easier than boys do most times.”

According to junior Caleb Warwick, the types of shoes appropriate for business attire varies for each gender.

“I think, for girls, flip-flops are okay to wear with some business attire,” Warwick said. “As far as boys wearing flip-flops with something like a suit, it just wouldn’t look the same as if a girl wore them with a dress.”

According to Perry, boys should not wear flip-flops at all.

“I personally don’t think boys should wear the flip-flops that go between your toes ever,” Perry said. “The slide-on flip-flops are okay, but the ones between your toes are not.”

Warwick said that he thinks toe etiquette should be practiced by both boys and girls anytime toes are exposed.

“Hygiene is really important if you are going to wear open shoes,” Warwick said. “You can’t have gnarly nails, toe gunk or ugly toes. Just keep your feet clean.”

According to Boosveld, dirty feet are gross and not fitting to flip-flops.

“If you wear open shoes, just make sure your feet are clean,” Boosveld said. “I paint my toe nails every night to match my outfit because it is gross and unnecessary to have dirty feet.”

If toe etiquette is not practiced properly, professionalism can be weakened as a result, Donahue said.

“If you have really dirty toes that have gunk in them, it can make the possibly already too casual shoes look worse,” Donahue said. “If you are going to wear shoes that expose your toes, pick the gunk out of your toes, clean them and make sure that they don’t smell.”

According to Perry, if you are going to wear flip-flops, a pedicure is a necessity to be presentable.

“If you wear flip-flops, there is definitely some toe etiquette in effect,” Perry said. “If you are going to wear them, buy a ped-egg get a good pedicure.”