Walking around the markets one is awe-struck to see the vast variety of shoes in various shapes and colours that are on sale these days to take on the wet, slushy streets of Mumbai during the rainy season. Gone are those days when the only ‘rainy’ or waterproof shoes available were the ugly, black plastic formal-lookalikes, or near knee-high gumboots, that one felt embarrassed to be seen in, and, given a choice, would not touch with even a barge pole. But today, these are comfortable, functional, and stylish to boot (pun intended). Seeing them, one imagines that most people who are forced to walk in the rain would be making good use of these.
However, a quick look around soon shatters this illusion.
Wherever I glance, I see people wearing Flip-Flops! Be it men, women, boys, or girls, all are wearing them, irrespective of the place or occasion. Hey, I have nothing against Flip-Flops, but only when not worn in the right place, when it’s not appropriate.
What is it that attracts people to don this strappy, multi-coloured footwear? Flip-Flops not just get your feet dirty, they also tend to give a bad body posture and gait – not to mention, flat feet and tendonitis over long periods of use. To my mind, it’s not just this about Flip-Flops; it is also about the casualness they impart to our attitude. While Gen Y or Gen Z feel that Flip-Flops are dressy and can be worn in a variety of social contexts, wearing them at formal occasions only signifies laziness.
It’s a known fact that the way you look directly affects the way you think, feel, and act: when we dress casually, our approach slackens, our attitude becomes lax, and our efficiency reduces. Though there is no proven research on the same, a lot of studies show that our efficiencies do get affected by our attitude, and dressing casually is one aspect that contributes greatly towards it. Likewise, when we dress ‘sharp’, we give out signals that we are ready; we can take on any task given to us; that we are confident about ourselves.
Similarly, how others treat us often depends upon the image we portray. When people in the hospitality industry were surveyed, they said that they tend to first serve those who are dressed formally, as they seem like they have to “get to places and conduct business” vis-à-vis those who dressed casually, as they appeared to have “time on hand”.
I am not saying don’t dress casual, I do understand that the Work-Play balance is important. There is a time and place for everything and the same holds true for Flip-Flops. In that, we need to be mindful of the place, occasion and most importantly, our objectives and dress appropriately to play the part, such that we create a lasting impression on all those whom we interact and connect with. See the picture below and judge for yourself.
(Writer Nidhi Sharma is a Life Coach, Image Consultant & Hypnotherapist and practices in Mumbai, India. To consult or for a complimentary coaching session, please fill in the inquiry form and send us)