White House Flip-Flops


Kate Darmody’s brother isn’t the only one asking that question, or expressing their shock that anyone would wear flip-flops to a formal, or at least business-attire, event. Some would excuse the offenders pointing out that they are college students and athletes, not diplomats or even business professionals. This is certainly true. But should age and life status really make a difference when it comes to appropriate attire. And what is appropriate attire?

According to the L.A. Times, the young women, all members of Northwestern University’s national championship women’s lacrosse team, defend their attire claiming they wore a “dressier” sandal.

“Nobody was wearing old beach flip-flops,” Aly Josephs, wearer of a pair of brown flip-flops decorated with rhinestones, told the L.A. Times.

Rhinestones? “Dressier” sandals?

If the flip-flops were a fashion faux pas for the occasion, rhinestones, which are not visible in the picture that ran on the front page of the Chicago Tribune that sparked the shoe debate, are worse, right? Not necessarily.

“I think that their wearing flip-flops to the White House shows that they are strong, independent women who aren’t obsessed with keeping up with the vagaries of fashion. Maybe instead of maxing out their parents’ credit cards on Jimmy Choos or some other overpriced designer shoes just to meet the president, they’re focused on more important things,” Jenice Armstrong writes in her online column for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It’s hard to argue with financial responsibility and a healthy respect for credit. And with these now famous flip flops being auctioned off through Northwestern’s web site with proceeds going to benefit 10-year-old Jaclyn Murphy who has brain cancer and is one of the team’s biggest fans according to CBS2 in Chicago, perhaps altruistic can be added to the list of positive characteristics assigned to these young women.

So does it really matter what shoes these excellent examples of young American women wore to the White House? President Bush, with two college-age daughters, probably didn’t notice, so why should anyone else, beside the young women themselves, care what shoes they wore?

“I tried to think of something that would go well with my outfit and at the same time not be that uncomfortable. But at the same time not disrespect the White House,” Kate Darmody is quoted as saying in the Mercury News.

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