Blog: Leonie BarrieFlip-flop flap

Leonie Barrie | 5 August 2005

For some reason it’s been a headline-grabbing summer for flip-flops. They’ve been mentioned as hot fashion trends, prudent attire for airport security lines, improper shoes for meeting the President – and now they’ve been lambasted as the latest hazard for motorists.

Research carried out in the UK has just listed the loose-fitting beach-inspired shoes as one of the most dangerous items of footwear for driving. The Norwich Union insurance company, which carried out a poll of 1,000 motorists, says the sole of a flip-flop can get caught under a brake, clutch or accelerator pedal, while the lack of ankle support means the foot can slip off the pedal altogether. Helpfully, the Norwich Union points out that: “Being in control of your car when driving is essential.”

This revelation is in a totally different league to the furore that greeted members of the Northwestern University women’s lacrosse team when they showed up at the White House wearing flip-flops last month. This fashion faux-pas was followed by a raging debate along the lines that the casual clothes culture is now raging out of control. This could be a little far-fetched; are flip-flops, particularly some of the smarter more upmarket styles, really any more revealing than a pair of smart sandals?

More and more these days I find that if I attending a business meeting in a suit I invariably feel overdressed. Perhaps this is partly to do with the fact that we’re in a creative industry where freedom of expression is expected rather than frowned upon, although on several occasions it has been suggested that this works the other way too and that clothing becomes little more than a commodity when you work with it on a daily basis!


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