Dressing Down Those Who Dress Down

Manolo says, the Manolo’s good friend, the Linda Grant, has written the much needed piece in today’s Guardian about the sloppiness of the modern restaurant patron.

Forty or 50 years ago, when a couple went out to dine the men wore suits, ties (preferably regimental) and shined shoes, and the women would be in cocktail dresses, heels and even mink stoles. The dress code of an establishment was directly linked to the numbers of pieces of cutlery at each place setting. Judging by the films of the period, there might also be a small dancefloor, and a band.

There was always the suspicion that restaurants imposed dress codes so that oiks would be prevented from getting any further than the front door. Now you can wear anything you like. You can blame it on the fact that eating out is no longer classified as a special occasion. Or perhaps that the price of meals is so astronomical, in London at least, that diners can no longer afford expensive clothes. Or that the competition between proliferating numbers of restaurants is so intense that owners can’t afford to place restrictions on who can and can’t come in. And for celeb diners, who can always get a table at a full restaurant at 8pm, there are no rules.

[…]

This change extends beyond restaurant etiquette – no one goes to the theatre or opera in evening dress any more. The outfits photographed on the red carpet have no occasion except the red carpet. Apart from weddings, when are we allowed to dress up? What are all those clothes doing in the shops, if we have no place any more to wear them because of the relentless dumbing down of dress? It is a depressing experience to sit in a beautiful room eating delicious food and see at the next table a party dressed in beige fleeces and Cornish pasty shoes. Surely going out is all about dressing up, about making an effort, about suiting the clothes to the activity?

This is one of the more lamentable changes of the past three decades, this slow inexorable slide of the general population into sweat pants and crocs.

Yes, right now you are going out to eat at the fancy restaurant in the pressed bluejeans and polo shirt. He doesn't care how he looks, why should those who dine at his restaurants care?

“It is okay,” you say to yourself, “at least I am dressed better than this restaurant’s celebrity owner…” Who has just at that moment come shambling out of the kitchen wearing the scruffy beard, the orange crocs, the scarf made out of sausage, and what appears to be no pants, just the dirty apron.

And so, one more step toward the slippery slope has been taken.

Next thing you know, you have ditched the polo and pressed jeans for the tattered cutoffs and the stupid/ironic-ironic/stupid hipster t-shirt that you pulled from the dirty laundry hamper moments before leaving the house.

So what if you are the 45-year-old senior vice president at the bank, you only live once, eh? No reason to put on the old monkey suit, not when everyone else looks like orangutans.

The Linda Grant is so completely and terribly right, we are losing our occasions to dress up.

SEP
2007
18
SEP
2007
18

The Platforms Are Out

Manolo says, the platforms are out. It must be true, because the USA Today has said so.

It took one swift kick from the new shoe trend — ballet flats — to topple platforms from their perch.

“Quite simply, customers have had enough of high heels,” says Robert Burke, president and founder of luxury consulting firm Robert Burke Associates. “Flats seem young and fresh.”
Dior Platforms, Out, Out, Out!

It certainly helps that they’re easier to wear than the ankle-wrenching wedge, and they can look elegant or coquettish with this year’s empire-waisted dresses, hot pants and capris. And despite a more casual work attitude, flip-flops and sandals flunk many office dress codes, but flats won’t.Dior Platforms, Now Emphatically Out.

“As for the customer older than 40, platforms never really were popular this time around,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at the NPD Group. “But offer women ballet flats, and they’ll take them in a second. Flats are just so comfortable. If I gave you permission to wear slippers to work, you would, wouldn’t you?”

Of the course, this is not news to the readers of the Shoe Blog, as the Manolo was predicting just this eventuality in February of this year.

Although, to judge from the height and the color and the excessive strappiness we have moved from the restrained and classical period of the platforms into the final decadant period before they leave the scene for the few years. You have until perhaps the end of the year to enjoy them.

And thus it came to pass.

SEP
2007
18
SEP
2007
18

Croc vs. Escalators, The Deadly Croc

Manolo says, many, many of the Manolo’s internet friends have been emailing him links to this story, about the hideous and deadly Crocs.

At rail stations and shopping malls around the world, reports are popping up of people, particularly young children, getting their toes caught in escalators. The one common theme seems to be the clunky soft-soled clogs known by the name of the most popular brand, Crocs.

[…]

In Japan, the government warned consumers last week that it has received 39 reports of sandals — mostly Crocs or similar products — getting stuck in escalators from late August through early September. Most of the reports appear to have involved small children, some as young as two years old.

Kazuo Motoya of Japan’s National Institute of Technology and Evaluation said children may have more escalator accidents in part because they “bounce around when they stand on escalators, instead of watching where they place their feet.”

In Singapore, a 2-year-old girl wearing rubber clogs — it’s unclear what brand — had her big toe completely ripped off in an escalator accident last year, according to local media reports.

And at the Atlanta airport, a 3-year-old boy wearing Crocs suffered a deep gash across the top of his toes in June. That was one of seven shoe entrapments at the airport since May 1, and all but two of them involved Crocs, said Roy Springer, operations manager for the company that runs the airport terminal.

Of the course, all of this is old news for the regular readers of the Manolo’s humble shoe blog. But it is good to finally see this danger being exposed to the wider world.