world of men's style / fashion / grooming

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The Appraisal: Mandals


Many questions can be definitively answered by simply polling the #menswear world. Like, how much camo is too much camo? (See here.) But for other queries, well, it seems that the jury’s still out.

Case in point: men’s sandals.

We’re not talking about your basic 10-buck flip-flops here, though. It was decided long before our time that those are to be relegated to beaches, pools, lakes—basically any venue with some combination of heat, water and increased exposure. No controversy there. Actually, it’s the leathery, designer-y variety that’s at the heart of this mess, pitting dapper blogger against dapper blogger.

A mess that we’re going to try to sort out, once and for all...

It seems that the root of the dilemma lies mainly in perception. Besides the obvious aesthetic issue of men’s feet—if you’re not taking proper care of yours, you shouldn’t be advertising that to the world—the only real argument levied against men’s sandals is that they break some set of preestablished rules of decorum. (Rules that we can’t directly find written down anywhere, coincidentally.)

Now, we’re not going to just go ahead and tell you to give sandals a shot, with the possibly disastrous results that might ensue. That would be downright negligent. Instead we’d like you to ask yourself the following questions before you head out, and maybe, just maybe, you can pull it off:

—Are you wandering the cobbled streets of Sicily, desperately trying to keep a low profile?

—Is the temperature of your current place of residence always within three degrees of perfectly balmy?

—Do you have business to conduct with merchant traders in a desert oasis today?

—Have you cut your toenails in the past few weeks?

—Are you fully aware that you cannot wear socks with something open-toed?

—Do you have a style of sandals named after you (and your name starts with a J, and rhymes with “cheese and rice”)?

—Is it the sort of day that might require sunglasses and at least one article of linen clothing?

—Are you somewhere (unlike most parts of NYC) that doesn’t have the potential of you stepping in/on/near something you’d rather not have your bare feet in contact with?

If you can answer yes to any—or all—of the above questions, please proceed... with caution.