There are few items in the menswear fashion pantheon that stir up as much debate as the sandal; I would like to argue they are loved and loathed in equal measure but I feel the general consensus errs very much on the side of disdain.
Men struggle to get their heads around the idea of wearing sandals and in many ways it is hard to blame them, after all, the most famous people to wear said footwear are Jesus, Gandhi and the entire German race – all of whom have contributed a great deal to the world but unfortunately aren’t renowned for their wonderful taste in fashion and style.
And yet for all the arguments that are brought up each and every season as to why we should or should not wear the opinion splitting sandal, there is no doubt that this forthcoming Spring / Summer, it is going to be at the heart of fashionable footwear.
A whole host of fashion designers have gone crazy for the sandal this summer, teaming them up with outfits fit only for the brave (Vivienne Westwood, Acne and Givenchy), understated cool (Christophe Lemaire, Hermes) to wearing them with suits and chinos (Calvin Klein, Paul & Joe).
Of course, just because fashion houses are taking the sandal to their collective heart, it doesn’t automatically make it a must have for your spring / summer attire, but maybe, just maybe, now is as good a time as any to embrace something a little new.
You don’t have to embrace the looks bestowed upon us by the fashion gods but neither do you have to look like a history teacher holidaying in Germany this summer. There are numerous ways in which you can make the sandal an essential part of your wardrobe come the summer months, here’s just a few tips on how to style them.
You know those friends who decide to have their wedding on some far-flung island where temperatures soar to ridiculous heights and yet they insist you must wear a suit? Well, this is the perfect time to wear a good pair of sandals. Of course a lightweight, light coloured shirt and suit goes without question but people often still wear smart shoes. Now you no longer have to and you can just claim all the cool people are doing it.
On Your Hols
It’s early evening, the sun is just going down and it’s time to change out of your shorts and flip-flops in to some smarter attire for your evening out. Trainers aren’t formal enough and dress shoes are way over-the-top, thus making the sandal the perfect choice. Teamed with a short-sleeved shirt and pair of chinos, your lady will be more than impressed with the effort you have made.
For all the fun poked at socks and sandals, believe it or not they just might be making an appearance in the fashion world this summer – I could have written an article solely on the sock/sandal combination such is it’s new found fashion prominence. The look is based very much around the skater vibe with over-size shorts and t-shirts the order of the day.
Like all our footwear needs, the key to your sandals – other than ensuring they look good – is comfort. No one wants blisters all over their feet while they are on their holidays so wear them in a little just like you would do with a pair of brogues or dress shoes. Of course you cannot beat a good leather pair but rubber sandals are still going to last you a good amount of time before the sole wears thin.
The beauty of fashion is it’s divisive nature. While one person will love a particular item, another may be baffled as to why it was ever invented and never does this ring truer than with regard to the humble sandal.
It often cuts a lonely borrow in the fashion fields, left to fend by itself due to an image of old, overweight men in bright white socks and ill fitting trousers ambling about in their sandals.
Now is the time to reclaim the sandal for yourself, to drag them headlong into the 21st century. Wear it with a sharp suit, slim chinos or baggy shorts for that youthful vibe and you never know, you may just be leading where others shall follow.