Bring uncomfortable back?
June 26, 2007 13 Comments
As I was walking behind a lady with my gaze modestly cast downward toward her feet, I observed her shuffling, skewed-toe gait. I realized that the reason for this acute foot angle was to better prevent her little flip-flops from flying off. The net result of this understandable and natural flip-flop preservation mechanism is to create an overall walk that is actually more of a waddle. And then I began to see it everywhere – all the girls wearing flip-flops were walking in this kind of undignified trundling manner. What happened to stodgily-dressed, conservative DC? I long for the smart and classy fashion of women in old Hollywood. The casual look has gone too far. I guess the equality of the sexes has really come to pass – now women are as slovenly as guys. This flip-flop hegemony has got to end. I want to see women walking with their toes out in front of them, tall and proud. Have some dignity, have some posture, ban the flip-flops, bring sexy back!
I agree with D.C. sidewalk blogger that flip flops precipitate a dragging gait, but neither “sexy” nor “classy fashion of women in old Hollywood” has been a hallmark of D.C. style. If anything, D.C. style is the best it has ever been. Nancy Pelosi, the most prominent female politician, has eschewed the primary-colored-power-suit-matching-pumps for a more refined, chic look. Even Hillary Clinton, no foe of the power suit during her husband’s presidency, has at least settled on a softer yellow that does not quite jump out the way the hideous 90s ensembles did.
Still, D.C.’s dress code remains counter-intuitive to its weather, particularly in the hot, humid summer. If anything, flip-flops make amazing sense and are long overdue. The conservative formality of this city instates a dress code of suits and closed-toed dress shoes that quickly precipitate the sweat storm that is a thing of daily existence for area residents. (I will grudgingly admit that in this environment, seersucker suits make sense). I am a firm believer that style and comfort need not be mutually exclusive, but the D.C. fashion scene seems to miss both by remaining wedded to impratical dress codes.
In other cities that I have visited, the predominant fashion aura matches the city landscape and its climate. In San Francisco, people sported comfortable shoes and casual but funky, layered clothes, a natural choice in a temperate, hilly setting with lots of temperature variance in short spans of space. The frequent rain in Paris seemed to have influenced the city’s residents to rely upon shawls and scarves to warm up, and though Parisians displayed a formality unfamiliar to American cities, the practicals like shoes and coats favored (stylish) comfort over sacrifice.
Why shouldn’t D.C.’s women be able to freely adapt to their city’s climate, which happens to be incredibly uncomfortable in the summer? In this vein, sandals of any kind make the most sense, and the style is not uniformly unglamorous. That this author is willing to give men a pass for looking “slovenly” but wills that women squeeze into pumps or stillettos or other signifiers of glamor makes his rant even more patently and ridiculously archaic.