Ask Avery: When is the thong wrong?
blog by Avery Hartmans • October 14, 2011 @ 7:00am
Dear Avery: I firmly believe that thong-style flip-flops are never acceptable, especially at work. I know there are “nicer” varieties with bling, flowers, kitten heels, etc., but I say shower shoes should be left next to the bath tub or beach towels. Am I being a shoe snoot?
When we experience a heat wave—and in Buffalo, that can mean the day in February when it hits 40 degrees—you might be tempted to dig out the flip-flops you so recently packed away and throw them on with your pencil skirt and blazer. Resist that urge. Your typical thong-style flip-flop is not acceptable in a professional setting, especially now after fall has officially arrived. It doesn’t matter how much you love your jewel-encrusted flops, you need to save those for the weekend.
That isn’t to say, however, that you can’t show off your toes at work. Sandals or open-toed shoes are okay—within reason. I am always in full support of peep-toe heels or a nice strappy sandal, but if you find yourself reaching for your Old Navy rubber flip-flops, you need to re-examine your life choices. Because there are a few exceptions to the sandal rule, this might be difficult to keep straight, but just remember one general piece of advice: if your coworkers can see any kind of thong, you need to change your outfit.
Dear Avery: In your opinion, what style / article of clothing do you feel people try too hard to pull off?
What seems to be difficult for most people, including myself, is wearing trend items: pieces that are more unique and are only “in” for a season or two. Then they’re relegated to the back of your closet with the thought, “I’ll totally wear this again when it comes back in style.” Although fashion is cyclical and it’s likely (though terrifying) that the great pair of gaucho pants you bought in 2005 will come back in style some day, that doesn’t mean you can keep wearing them until they do.
When it comes to buying trend items, my advice is not to go overboard. It’s okay to purchase something because you saw it in your September issue of Elle, but there’s no need to spend a fortune on a piece you know will look silly by the time another season rolls around. Dropping $300 on a fur vest because it’s been on the runways in recent seasons is not the soundest investment, especially when you can snag one at Forever 21 for $25.
Another important thing to remember is that when wearing trendy pieces, stick to your personal style above all else. If your look is classic and tailored, don’t buy destroyed, high-waisted jean shorts just because hipster girls everywhere have made them their uniform. If your look belongs more on the tennis court than at a Mastodon concert, the grunge style that’s back this season is not for you. You know your sense of style better than anyone else, so stick to that.
Dear Avery: Besides a watch, is any form of jewelry “OK” for a man who works in a professional setting?
Unless your workplace is a piercing studio, leave your jewelry—earrings, bracelets, necklaces—at home. On most men, jewelry looks unprofessional and effeminate (with the one exception being rings). Obviously your wedding band can (and should!) be worn every day and class rings or signet rings are acceptable, as well. But a gold chain around the neck looks too mafioso and leather bracelets are too casual for the office. If you really need something shiny, try some cufflinks instead—the world just isn’t ready for man jewelry.