Day 44 of the Shoe Challenge – Let my Open Toes Roam Free

Lipstik Black Wedge Heeled Sandals

Arguably, dress codes should not be necessary. Surely you should not have to tell people not to wear flip flops to the office (Day 22 of the Shoe Challenge – Havaianas to the Office?!) or go into shops barefoot in pyjamas?  Telling people to dress in clothes to go shopping in a supermarket is a bit like telling someone not to fart or pick their nose at the dinner table. There are certain things that personal dignity should prevent you from doing or wearing in public. Apparently, some individuals do need to be reminded of this from time to time.

For example, earlier this week,  a Tesco store in Wales was forced to put up this sign.

The sign says:

To avoid causing embarrassment to others we ask that our customers are appropriately dressed when visiting our store (footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted) (The full story is reported atBBC News.)

Don’t get me wrong, I can be as big a slob and am as fond of dressing down around the house as the next sleep deprived mother. There have been times when I have opened the door to our postman in my knickers and a singlet with crunchy eyes and vertical bed hair. You won’t find me at the shops looking like that, though, probably because I don’t smoke these days.

Mother of two boys, Elaine Carmody, 24 of Cardiff  believes that there is a different dress code for smokers.  She told a Radio 5 reporter that the reason that she was dressed like this in Tesco’s:

Elaine Carmody & her PJs

was because  she “was only popping in  for a pack of fags.

Had she been going in for a full shop, she says, she would have put some clothes on like her trackie bottoms. Ms Carmody believes that tracksuit bottoms are no different to pyjamas.

No doubt, dear lady, you will think that I am a complete snob but I disagree. You will never see me at the supermarket with a face full of make up but I do try to dress in a way that if,  you squint, might be classified as Dégagé-chic (ie clean jeans/t-shirts) as opposed to Schlepp-chic (PJs, slippers, anything with vomit or poo on on it, odd socks, tracksuit bottoms with baggy bums).  Elaine, the moment that you wear something in the outside world that you have slept in earlier is the moment that you have given up.

Here in Sydney, Australia I recently went into Coles in Brighton-Le-Sands where there were men walking about in Speedos with sun-burned shoulders and bare feet, straight off the beach. The beach is only about 500 yards away so although I would rather not have observed so much of their family tackle, it’s unfair to expect someone to get dressed to grab a quick bottle of water.

On the train during the day with the Minx, however, I often see chaps get on wearing Stubbies and no shirts. For the non-Australians among you Stubbies are basically hot pants for men. See below.

When I first arrived in Australia and saw postmen wearing knee length black socks, black shiny leather shoes and navy blue short shorts  I thought that I had wandered into an uncensored episode of The Goodies TV show guest-starring various underdressed elderly Village People. Apparently Stubbies are even more popular in New Zealand as this clip shows. Topless men wearing Stubbies is my least favourite thing to look at on public transport.

That said, I would hate to see narky signs reminding people to put their shirts back on – that is fashion censorship. Strict dress codes are heinous breaches of natural justice as anyone who has every been turned away from a nightclub will tell you. People should be allowed to express themselves in the way that they dress providing that they aren’t breaking any laws.

In the past I have banged on at length about dress codes for lawyers (See Funny, you don’t look like a lawyer… Post October 25, 2009) It is sufficient to say that most law firms ban open toed shoes like the Lipstik brand wedged sandals that I wore today. Thank you, Sara D for upholding my constitutional right to let my toes roam free.

15 thoughts on “Day 44 of the Shoe Challenge – Let my Open Toes Roam Free

  1. i think men can put tops on for the shops, so can women – and both can put something on their feet. Budgie smugglers are vile – i do not want to see any man’s genitalia except as a consenting adult. (Or any woman’s for that matter – lycra can be rather too much information.)

    According to something i read, people going to the shops or walking streets in pyjamas is indeed sign of giving up – commonest in very poor areas and among the severely depressed.

    • That would be a very interesting article to read that one about walking the streets in PJs. If you read the BBC news report you will see that most of the customers banned from the shop defected to Aldi. The whole thing is a bit unpleasant. Genitals are best kept to oneself unless the other person has asked to see them, I agree. In Australia and the UK there are a collection of public order offences such as nuisance stop people flashing and could probably be used to stop people wearing things that are too revealing. Budgie smugglers on Tony Abbott and KRudd in shorts are two things that I wish that I could erase from my visual memory forever.

  2. i love pj’s. But would NOT wear them outside. unless to the letter box to heck the mail or somesuch…but within the bounds of the property…
    In addition I had a strange PJ experience one day last week – got off the train and saw a young girl wearing her pj’s walking with her mum, then about ten minuites later saw a man fully clad in pj’s – top and bottom, matching set, and slippers approaching…needless to say I assumed illness and held my breath till I was about 5m past him – these were full on flannelette PJs on very hot day…weird…
    Oh dear stubbies and no shirt – ick.
    stubbies in general ick…
    stubbies seen from the wrong angle on sydney train with its multi levels ICK!
    On the flip side – very cute shoes 🙂

    • It is probably fair to assume that the chap in the flannelette PJs probably was ill particularly based on the reading that @stinginthetail has done. My problem in a nutshell with codes like dress codes particularly in the manner shown by Tesco is that they are ultimately discriminatory. There are things that I would really really rather that people didn’t wear – those jeans/leggings for example are not much fun to walk behind. My husband wishes that women wearing very short skirts would wear appropriate underwear with them particularly if planning to walk up escalators. Should we have the right to prevent other people from wearing these in our house or in public though?

      • Very, very good point…I don’t think we actually do or should, unless it is causing danger to other people – and I don’t see PJ pants as that different from those light cotton tracksuit pants you can get…
        Slippers – very like Birkenstocks…
        (Oh and whoever came up with those denim look leggings I am very unhappy with – I am fine with leggings underneath clothes, such as dresses, skirts or long t-shirts, or as sporting wear, but people have a very very bad habit of wearing those jean leggings as if they WERE jeans – they are not, and never will be, and give away FAR too much…I never thought about the short skirt/escalator thing…oh that is funny :))

  3. ‘My husband wishes that women wearing very short skirts would wear appropriate underwear with them particularly if planning to walk up escalators’

    I read that as ‘my husband would prefer women in short skirts to wear sexy knickers if they intend to flash them on escalators’ but maybe that’s just transferring my own ‘hubby’s opinions.

    I agree with the first comment – if we can pop on some decent shorts and a top to go down the street, men can stretch to a shirt or singlet. I don’t want to see moobs any more than I want to see a stranger’s genitals.

    • Appropriate Underwear should be taken to read underwear that adequately covers buttocks. In the incident in question the lady concerned may (or may not) have been hiding a G-string in her rather ample backside. The two men behind my husband were quite delighted at the display but he was not. Like you, there are certain parts of a stranger’s anatomy that he would prefer not to encounter. Whether or not attractive lingerie would have made a difference in the current case is a moot point.

  4. Well now. This very issue happened for me this morning and I didn’t quite know where to look! A woman who was rather overweight and possibly mid to late 50s wondering around the supermarket in a pastel coloured nightie! One which I wouldn’t even wear to the letter box. Did not leave much to the imagination. I couldn’t look away! Very sad! 😦 and not particularly what I would like to see when deciding what salad to make for lunch! that being said, I do not even like to wear tacksuit pants in public much less slippers or pjs!!! By the way, love the shoes and nice legs!!! Xxxxxx

  5. “There are certain things that personal dignity should prevent you from doing or wearing in public.”
    This brings to mind the time I saw a sign in the toilet of a doctor’s clinic which said “Out of respect for other patients, please do not urinate on the floor.” And I thought, if this is the kind of place where people have to be told not to urinate on the floor, then I need to find a new doctor. Which I promptly did.
    I’m not sure I could bring myself to return to a store which needs to remind its customers to get dressed before going shopping. Go ahead and call me a snob too.
    The only variation to the no nightwear rule is when you see children who have already been bathed and put in pjs, slippers and dressing gowns, accompany their fully clothed parent on a quick milk run.

  6. Your example of a stubbie wearing individual looks a bit English and awkward. Was that intentional? I think of stubbie wearing Coles shoppers as being tanned, buff and confident…

  7. what an interesting range of comments revealing such a broad range of personal prejudices. a well shaped bottom is quite delightful while an over larded affair is distinctly best kept under loose wraps. come to think of it, extremely loose wraps. the type of underwear used is irrelevant whether it is silky, cottony, frothy, lacy, bridget jones enormous, whatever. now to the real issue, what about scotsmen in kilts are they required to wear little snappy pink/tartan numbers to offset their hairy legs and appendages or what. or is it better that they wear nothing at all under their kilt in true army fashion providing, as it were, a little disingenuous “shock an awe” to every viewer young and old alike. in truth, apparel for the bed, beach, shops, the ballroom, etc., are separate areas of life and activities requiring sensible attire and, as they say, should be “fit for purpose”. the latter is, of course, a truly ghastly phrase which only a politician could have devised and continue to use. a bit like “year on year” another crusting scab on the face of the english language. which brings me to english as used in the land of OZ. at least half of the words used in this land of promise are completely unknown to me and quite likely to the rest of the world as well. well, you simply cannot have everything. long may the wombat and kangaroo keep you all company.

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