No shirt, no shoes, no fashion

No shirt, no shoes, no fashion

Q. I can’t stand it when men wear open-toed sandals in the city. I guess they’re okay at the beach, but why do men think this is acceptable?

A. I agree with you.  I, too, wonder why so many men fail to realize how much of the world notices and pays attention to what they wear on their feet. Open-toed shoes – both sandals and flip-flops – are perfect beach wear and far-from-perfect for many other occasions. There has long been a discussion as to whether open-toed heels or sandals are appropriate in offices (what the internet calls “toe cleavage”) for women; there is no such discussion for men, it is not!

The same man who would never think of wearing shorts (or swim wear) to most events because he knows they are inappropriate, often shows up wearing sandals. It’s as if his mirror stops at his ankles. I am often surprised that men do not realize how important well-polished and good looking shoes are to a complete outfit; actually, it may be the first piece of clothing others notice. Since men’s toes are not their most attractive feature, it is best not to call attention to them.

All clothing has a varying range of formality, whether it is a suit, a shirt, trousers, or shoes. I have focused on these often, but will quickly remind everyone.

  •  With suits, formalwear is the most dressy, followed by dark pinstripe and solid-color suits, then lighter suits, navy blazers, and sport jackets. Relaxed options include sweaters, windbreakers, and swimwear tops.
  • Shirts range from pleated formalwear through white then colored broadcloth, to all manner of stripes and small patterns, Oxford cloth, large patterns, textured chambrays, flannel, denim, finally to polos and tees.
  • Trousers also start with formalwear with a ribbon stripe down the side; next are suit trousers, then unmatched dress pants/slacks in wool, to chinos, jeans, and, lastly, shorts or swim trunks.
  • Shoes may well have the greatest range.
  1. They begin with the seldom-seen black patent-leather formal pumps,
  2. then smooth black lace-ups with no perforations,
  3. dark lace-ups with perforations as on wingtips, or spectators,
  4. cap-toe laced oxfords,
  5. monk straps (not my favorites),
  6. white bucks,
  7. loafers of all kinds,
  8. saddle shoes, suede desert boots,
  9. deck/boat shoes, moccasins, and clean sneakers,
  10. least formal are well-used sneakers, sandals, and finally flip-flops.

Note that Western boots and work boots vary between levels 6-9 depending on their quality, condition, and your location and field. BUT, again, always the least formal are sandals and flip-flops. Just as no well-dressed man would think of wearing as ridiculous a combination as a tuxedo with a flannel shirt, so too should he realize that wearing sandals with anything other than totally relaxed clothes for business or social events that are not strictly casual is inappropriate.

Here are a few possibilities to consider:

  • With khakis and a blue button-down shirt, a man looks great with any style brown loafers,
  • With blue jeans and almost any top, he could wear deck shoes or clean sneakers,
  • Even with Bermuda shorts, moccasins or espadrilles are perfect.

There are so many affordable, good looking, comfortable choices for casual settings that make a man look good; he should never need to have a pedicure to go out.

Categories: Male Call