There are many opinions out there when it comes to flip flops being OK or even appropriate for the office. The discussions I’ve heard and read about often refer to the use of flip flops by women. I would argue that the discussion should also include men! This group may not be a prevalent flip flop user in the workplace, but I have definitely spied these offenders (yes, I just said offenders) in business school as well as in the corporate world on casual Fridays (think Hawaiian shirts and flip flops). Alright, now that I got that off my chest, we can move on…
Image from: http://earthdivasblog.com
We’ve all heard the arguments of why these offenders feel that flip flops are appropriate in the workplace. It’s interesting (and by interesting, I mean that it makes my brow furrow), that left to their own devices, flip flop lovers have used their “judgement” and justified why flip flops should be allowed in the office. I’m sure you’ve heard some of these:
- “My office is really casual so I don’t need to dress professionally”
- “My flip flops are really feminine and pretty”
- “They are so comfortable and easy for me to walk in all day long”
- “No one has said anything all summer so it must be ok”
I do agree that flip flops have a place in our lives – like the beach, a weekend at the cabin, or for the morning walk with your dog – but personally, I don’t agree with the thought process of flip flop lovers who insist on including this footwear as part of their regular office attire.
Here are some of my thoughts on the topic:
- Who’s the professional in the room? Do flip flops really say to others “I am serious about my career?” In my opinion, I don’t feel that wearing flip flops to the office is going to get you big votes on credibility or professionalism. If your goal is to continue moving your career forward, I’d ditch the flip flops and go for something more professional. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a 3 or 4 inch heel but rather, wear a shoe (flats are acceptable) that shows others you care about yourself, your employer, your clients and your future. Put in the effort because, guess what, people notice!
- What is that noise? Plain and simple, flip flops are noisy! If you’re in an office environment and you’re on the phone, in a client meeting, or just working away at your desk, flips flops are noisy… even in an office with carpet (I can hear the flip flop lovers making the same argument about the “click” from heels)! While your shoes can really add to the overall look of an outfit, you want people looking at YOU and not listening to the noise that is coming from your feet!
- Does casual = sloppy? There is a lot of ambiguity around the term business casual and what this really means. I believe that this term varies from industry to industry and that it’s an employee’s responsibility to really understand what this means. What it doesn’t mean though is that it’s ok to wear your “cutting the grass” or “making a quick trip to the grocery store” clothes to work. This also applies to the type of shoes you wear. The type of shoe you wear is a great finishing detail to any professional outfit, even on casual Fridays so opt for one that better represents you (and leave the flip flops for a sunny day at the beach). Remember, you’re a professional, even in a casual situation!
- Do we really need to see so much foot? I feel that with flip flops, the foot to shoe ratio is too high! To keep it office-appropriate, my thoughts are that there should be more shoe and less foot showing – even in the middle of a hot summer (thank goodness for air-conditioning). This suggestion may vary, depending on the industry that you’re in, but I’d suggest you use the foot to shoe ratio when making your footwear decision each morning. Lastly, if you’re going to show-off some foot, make sure you’re taken care of those tootsies (either get a pedicure or groom your feet yourself)!
If you have an opinion on the topic, please share! I’m always glad to hear from you!