Mandals should not be part of a business casual wardrobe

Mandals Mandals should not be part of a business casual wardrobe

I am trying my best to keep today's breakfast where it belongs: slowly winding its way through my large and small intestines. I say 'trying' because the man sitting next to me on the good ol' NJ Transit 7:28 to midtown is sporting mandals. And, it's grossing me out.

Men's feet are disgusting. Period. They do not deserve to see the light of day in a work setting. And, yes, the 7:28 to New York is a work setting.

This commuter is otherwise beautifully attired, though. He's sporting a mauve polo shirt. (I love the word 'mauve.' Who comes up with a word like mauve in the first place?)

“Hey Isaiah, that's not purple. But, it's not red either. What the hell?”
“Easy, Esau. I know. We'll call it mauve!”

Anyway, back to mandals. The guy's mauve shirt is beautifully accented by sharply-pressed khaki pants and an obviously well-cared for Coach leather briefcase. So, why mar an otherwise natty ensemble by putting the dogs on display? Why are this obviously well-heeled guy's ragged toenails and hairy toes front and center? Sorry. But, it's beyond being just wrong. It's heinous.

During the dotcom days, Peppercom's workplace was befouled by not one, but two, mandal-wearing employees. We mercilessly pilloried the more senior of the two at our regular management meetings and he sheepishly discarded what I called his Yasser Arafat-branded mandals. (They had a certain Palestine Liberation Organization look to them.)

But, the other offender reveled in his flip-flops and wore them rain or shine. They beautifully accented his laid-back, tropic shirts, torn blue jeans, and overall Jimmy Buffet approach to life, ladies and work. I did everything I could to raise the inappropriate dress code awareness level, even awarding him 'Best Male Feet of the Month' at a regular staff meeting. But, nothing worked, save winter weather.

Happily, the mandal-sporting staffer solved the problem for us by deciding to pack up and head South (presumably for year-round mandal wearing weather conditions.) With his departure, life returned to normal. Male toes were tucked back inside shoes and regular business could be transacted without nausea or vomiting.

I'd really hoped mandals had become a vestige of the dotcom era and, like mullets, jump suits and suspenders before them, had been placed on the 'men should not be caught dead wearing these things in the office' fashion scrap pile. But, apparently not.

As a result, I'm thinking of bribing one of the brain-dead train conductors and asking him to make the following announcement:

“NJ Transit apologizes for yet another interminable delay this morning. We do appreciate your patience but, hey, after so many of these delays, you should be used to it. We'd also like to remind passengers not to place their feet on the seats. This applies in particular to those moronic male passengers who are grossing out their fellow travelers by sporting mandals. Get those dogs off my seats now! Thank you once again for riding New Jersey Transit. Have a pleasant day and be sure to bring shoes and socks if you'd like to ride with us in the future."

Guys: do us all a favor. Save the mandals for the beach.

10 thoughts on “Mandals should not be part of a business casual wardrobe

  1. The picture showing feet in sandals was stolen!!!
    I didn’t give you any permission to use it! And you used it to show ugly male feet. Thank you.

    Please, delete it.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. Thanks a good deal! I truly enjoyed reading this.Looking through these posts and the information you’ve provided I can appreciate that I still have a lot of things to learn. I will keep reading and keep re-visiting.

  3. Lunch: Was traveling and missed this post. You did indeed score mega hits while sporting those mandals. I loved your pitching, but hated your dogs.

  4. I find it ironic that this post took place while I was in the OBX – wearing my flip-flops for a full week. I even brought loafers (Prada – believe it, Ed!) and a pair of sneakers for running. Flip-flops were the choice of the week, however.
    I’ll admit that my dress code deference was a tad overboard, and you’d be happy to know that I no longer wear them to the office. That aside, a few points:
    Summers are hot and having to wear to shoes and socks when the females at the office get to wear skirts, shorts, SANDALS and FLIP FLOPS, seems to me a bit one-sided and sexist. If you’re going to impose the rule for one, it should be for all.
    I’m still laid back – who would want to be a ball of stress anyway? More on this below…
    I still fancy a tropical shirt here and there and own some jeans that have holes or frays and some that do not. I will keep away from the Jordache, Gucci and Zenga apparel – thanks very much!
    I also take offense to the Jimmy Buffett (two Ts in his last name, FYI)-like work ethic, Rep. Perhaps we didn’t work together enough, but I clearly recall being able to score placement after placement, partnerships and other meaningful opportunities for clients big and small…all while wearing those damned Reefs! Would you rather a worker dress like a MSE and under perform? Methinks that a happy employee will be a productive employee.
    From the song ‘Changes in latitudes, Changes in Attitudes’
    It’s these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
    Nothing remains quite the same
    With all of our running and all of our cunning
    If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane
    Rep, I am granting you a “License to Chill!”

  5. I’m with you, Steve, though higher education in the U.S. would collapse overnight if Birkenstocks were taken away from certain male faculty members.