The flip-flop has come a long way from being the post-pedicure footwear of nail salons and the lazy shoe of beach boardwalks. This past week, outside of the men’s shows in Milan, French journalist turned Instagram sensation Sophie Fontanel, known for her quirky mirror selfies, put her flops to the pavement. While en route to the Fendi show in a quintessential French look that included an Yves Saint Laurent vintage shirt, Céline skirt, Louis Vuitton sunglasses, and Dior tote bag, she sported an incongruous pair of Brazilian-made Havaianas. “I used to wear [them] when I was a child, and I kept this habit,” she explained in an email. “Ava Gardner, Ali MacGraw, Carolyn Bessette used to wear them, and nowadays Sofia Coppola wears them. Since it’s the simplest shoe ever, it enters into the category of a white T-shirt and a pair of jeans. I like it.” Her pair had personality too: They were white with a sky blue strap. (To make the look all the more French, Fontanel opted to go laissez-faire with unpolished toes.) Even resident Vogue street-style photographer Phil Oh noticed the down-to-earth pair and Insta Storied Fontanel’s look with the note ”best shoes” in all caps. Bien s?r.
It’s not only the streets where modest flip-flops have been having a rubbery resurgence. Look to the Spring 2019 runways: Acne Studios showed an array of neutral-colored pairs, while Etro added a creative twist, churning their incarnations out with a decorated thong strap. The sandals have made their way into the Vogue offices as well. Market editor Anny Choi swears by a pair of plain black flip-flops. “I wear them with loose jeans and a vintage blouse for a night out in Montauk or dress them up in my tailored mom shorts and a button-down,” says Choi. “They aren’t so bratty. They make you look cool without actually trying.” Her sole qualm? “I do worry that bouncers might not ‘get’ the look.”
The best way to balance the flip-flop’s inherent casualness is to make sure the rest of the outfit is dressed up. Take a note from Fontanel: “It is fantastic with a long dress,” she writes. “The more elegant you are dressed, the more efficient it is.” Better yet? A pair of her Havaianas will only set you back $18.
Here, shop the best pairs to wear everywhere from the pavement to the playa.