Observing Los Angeles

Those cwazy L.A. men and their thongs

In the Thursday Styles section of the New York Times, Sharon Waxman laments that so many male feet in Los Angeles—by which she means Hollywood—are showing up at work and in restaurants in flip-flops. There's even a nut graf, followed by an us-versus-them declaration of how odd we are compared to, you know, Americans:

HavianaIn a city that for decades has been leading America toward a more relaxed personal style, Los Angeles is once again resetting the standard for dressing down. No longer content to banish the necktie, untuck the shirttails and let the stubble grow wild, Angelenos this summer are enthusiastically adopting flip-flops also known as thongs or beachcombers to dinner, to meetings or even, last week, to a premiere.

"I've seen guys on the red carpet wearing flip-flops," said Vivian Turner, a celebrity stylist who has helped dress famous names like Sharon Stone, Lionel Richie and Geena Davis. "It's the first thing in the summertime: put on a great skinny suit with the shirt open and a pair of thongs. I totally approve. Thongs are cool."

Well, they are here, anyway. It may still be difficult to imagine a pair of flip-flops, even expensive ones, at a Wall Street investment house, or thwacking their way through a Congressional hearing room. Last summer, the Northwestern University national championship women's lacrosse team caused a furor in the capital when team members were photographed wearing flip-flops on a White House visit. The trend seems to baffle, if not offend, some people from other parts of the country.

Fashion note, via Waxman: "The most popular flip-flops in Los Angeles remain Havaianas, $16 rubber shoes available at department stores and hip shopping spots like Fred Segal or Flight 001, a travel store. They look like the kind of shoes you might wear in the shower, and come in patterns like cherries and camouflage. They can be bought with a rhinestone between the toes for $50."


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