When Marc Jacobs showed suits incongruously paired with flip-flops as part of his latest menswear collection, it ignited an always-simmering debate here at the Cut: Are flip-flops on men gross, germ-ferrying agents of the Dark Lord? Or are they sensuous, toe-showcasing gifts to the female eye? And sub-debate: Should they be worn with suits or relegated to shorelines and pool decks? Read on for our ruling.
Stella Bugbee, editorial director: I know you all have feelings on flip-flops.
Véronique Hyland, fashion news editor: What constitutes a bad flip-flop?
Jessica Roy, senior writer: Being a flip-flop.
Diana Tsui, senior market editor: The crappy rubber pairs.
Stella: Wait. Jessica, why do you hate them?
Jessica: I think feet are disgusting, and I think men’s feet are particularly disgusting, and I don’t understand why you need to wear them if you are not at the beach. I think if you are a fashion guy with clean feet wearing fashionable flip-flops, then sure, by all means. But 99 percent of guys are not.
Diana: I think women have equally as disgusting, if not worse, feet from our heels.
Leah Rodriguez, producer: I don’t think women should wear flip-flops in public either, though, if there isn’t a body of water nearby.
Diana: There are some well-made thong sandals out there. And a leather thong sandal is a flip-flop! Honestly, if you’re that jerk at the pool putting on complex sandals instead of a flip-flop, then you’re an idiot. I just think if you’re wearing shitty, dirty Havaianas, then of course flip-flops are disgusting. But it’s the same as wearing crappy shoes. A crappy shoe or a crappy sandal will look gross no matter what.
Véronique: What about the Marc version? A dressier leather version? Worn with a suit, but kind of a relaxed, I-might-not-have-a-real-job suit.
Ella Ceron, social media editor: The minute you put a flip-flop on, the entire outfit just disintegrates.
Diana: I don’t know, I feel like this backlash is the same as when people first started pairing sneakers with suits. People hated that too!
Véronique: Yeah, I think the future of fashion is being less and less fussy, and freeing us to wear previously un-allowed things.
Ella: SNEAKERS WITH SUITS ARE GREAT. But if you’re wearing a suit, you’re wearing a full pant. Why would you forget to include even more bodily coverage when you went to the lengths of a pant? Gonna completely clothe my body — oh, just kidding, except not my feet!
Diana: That same logic applies to a maxidress — why would you wear a maxidress with sandals? Or a caftan with sandals?
Stella: I think men in caftans and sandals are hot.
Diana: I just think our eye isn’t used to something like a suit with a nice flip-flop, much like how everyone ragged on sneakers and suits.
Stella: Is it a cleanliness issue?
Jessica: It’s a cleanliness and a slovenliness issue. Unless you’re a fashion guy who’s making a conscious decision to make flip-flops look cool, you’re just being lazy. How much harder is it to put on a pair of real shoes?
Leah: Sneakers and suits are practical, not just a sartorial statement. Flip-flops don’t belong in New York.
Jessica: If you can’t put on real shoes, how can I expect you to do the emotional work in this relationship!!!!!!!
Ella: Flip-flops aren’t even practical at the beach, which is in theory their most practical application. Like, they dig into the sand and then you’re flinging sand everywhere. It is a whole process of walking. And you might as well just wear sneakers and take the sneakers off, if you’re going to take the flip-flops off.
Diana: Okay, I will concede that a flip-flop doesn’t work in the city, but I think for a seaside wedding it’s fine! What are they going to wear? LOAFERS?
Diana: You’re going to look even worse.
Véronique: What if you are one of the Saturdays Surf guys and you’re going to a meeting? I think it can look cool in that sense.
Ella: Then you’re just a caricature.
Diana: Hot surfers can get away with anything.
Stella: Full disclosure: My husband wears flip-flops (he’s from Hawaii), and I have never once thought it was bad.
Stephanie Eckardt, editorial assistant: What kind, though? Nice ones?
Stella: Nope. Havaianas.
Erica Schwiegershausen, associate editor: I like the Marc flip-flops! I think they’re a really good combo of subversive and goofy, and I’m generally endeared toward men looking a little goofy.
Stella: I love them paired with a suit; also, like WHY NOT? I like men in sandals in general. I like it when men expose their bodies.
Ella: 21 retweets have spoken.
Leah: Pool slides > flip-flops. The thong cut just isn’t flattering.
Ella: Also, full disclosure, maybe I just have chancla PTSD? The easier for a shoe to be removed, the more likely my grandmother would wear it as a ready-made device with which to threaten us.
Leah: Going into the world wearing your house slippers is looked down upon in Latin culture, for sure.
Diana: House slippers/flip-flops as a weapon of obedience is also a real thing in Chinese culture.
Ella: I would go barefoot in Soho before wearing flip-flops. I think I have, actually.
Véronique: I will just say: See you all in the future, when we are all wearing this look. Mic-drop implied.