Tom Ford: ‘I wouldn’t be caught dead in flip-flops. I hate flip-flops on men’


One of the reasons I’ve been looking forward to the release of Nocturnal Animals is that I enjoy Tom Ford’s interviews so, so much. What surprises me consistently is that Ford is so chatty with everyone. I always thought of him as so aloof, and such an elitist. While he probably is an elitist, he’s also not “above” chatting with New York Magazine or People Magazine or EW or Huffington Post. Some of these artistes, you never know. It’s like they only feel like they should promote their films in Vanity Fair and nothing else. So, Tom spoke to Jess Cagle of People Mag & EW, and some of the quotes are rather good. Some highlights:

His least favorite clothing item: “I wouldn’t be caught dead in flip-flops. I hate flip-flops on men unless you have the world’s most perfect feet, and then only at a beach resort, never in the city. I think this trend for men in sandals in the city drives me crazy, or on a plane. When you’re on a plane and someone gets on in flip-flops, it’s very strange.”

His favorite footwear: “I like a boot. It’s the Texan in me.”

He doesn’t feel sexy: “Rarely do I feel sexy, surprisingly. I think I have this reputation as being somebody who’s so sexual. I think at times in my life perhaps I was. I would like to feel sexy again.”

His favorite film: He cites The Women as the film he’s seen the most. “Every homosexual, everybody knows that film. By the way, homosexual culture as you and I know it is dying out.”

His “last meal”: “It would definitely probably, I don’t know, be something boring like salmon but also have Hostess Donettes around the outside of the plate.”

He was bullied as a kid in Texas: “As a kid in the ’60s, I wasn’t great at football, I was not great at team sports, I wasn’t great with my BB gun, which in Texas soon turns into a .410 shotgun and then turns into something else. I wasn’t interested in those things and so I was teased a lot.”

His early interest in fashion: “As a kid I had a very, I think you’re born the way you’re going to be and I came out dressed in a little blazer and little loafers. When I was in the second grade I didn’t want to carry a book bag, I carried an attaché case. Of course I was tortured. I was absolutely tortured.”

[From People & EW]

A second-grader carrying an attaché case to school? That’s adorable. But I think even if that happened today in Texas, the kid would probably get bullied too. As for the footwear thing… maybe it’s just because I’m so hot-blooded all the time, even in winter, but I cannot imagine NOT wearing sandals or flip-flops when it’s warm. Wearing closed-toe shoes in 70-degree-plus weather is never going to be an option, no matter where I am. I would simply be burning up. It would be like wearing a turtleneck in the desert. And I’ve never felt strongly one way or the other about seeing people’s feet. Who cares that much?

As for “By the way, homosexual culture as you and I know it is dying out” – I disagree! I think “homosexual culture” has been going mainstream for the better part of two decades. So in the sense that gay culture is no longer a marginalized, avant-garde, counterculture thing, sure, maybe that part is “dying out.” But it feels like culture on the whole is getting more and more LGBTQ-friendly.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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67 Responses to “Tom Ford: ‘I wouldn’t be caught dead in flip-flops. I hate flip-flops on men’”

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  1. manda says:

    He should have been born in London! (Ahh, if only we could choose such things…) I saw young private school kids (public school kids? um, they were obviously well-off) carrying little briefcases! And their uniforms included suit vests! So freaking cute

    • Dolkite says:

      In England, private school, especially boarding school, is called public school.

      • lemonbow says:

        genuinely curious: can you please explain the thought process to me of why a private school is referred to as “public”?

    • BW says:

      I went to public school in England in the 1960s. You pay to go to public school in England. I had an attache case, too and I was only 8 or 9. Along with a formal school uniform. It was a like Hogwarts only without the magic. Well, maybe a little magic. It was a cool, old Victorian house with lots of secret passageways.

    • spidey says:

      Waistcoat please! 🙂

  2. huh says:

    Flip flops are awesome. Don’t get the hate. And why would someone be bullied for carrying an attachè case?

    • CornyBlue says:

      Kids are weird man . One guy I met from US said he was bullied cos they found moisturizer in his gym bag.

    • Esmom says:

      Kids tend to bully kids who don’t conform. Carrying an attache case isn’t exactly conforming. Reminds me of a new boy in my son’s class who would always wear a dress shirt and tie to school, in fourth and fifth grade. He wasn’t exactly bullied but he was not embraced at all, I felt for the guy.

    • Alix says:

      It’d be like a girl coming to school with her mom’s purse or something — looks like the kid is playing dress-up. Or, as others have pointed out, simply not conforming. It’s such a cute and clever idea, though, I wish I could hug that second-grader Tom Ford!

    • Lolo86lf says:

      Flips are so comfortable to wear, and they can be so fashionable too. Are flip flops and sandals the same thing?

      • Snowflake says:

        Flip flops are made of rubber, a part goes between your big toe and usually don’t have a back. Sandals are dressier, don’t always have the part between your big toe, and will frequently have a back part that goes around the heel and straps.

  3. respect says:

    my european husband says flip flops are for the beach and sandals are for women

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      This European woman (I’m originally from Italy) never wore flip flops anywhere, I always disliked them. None of my Italian partners wore them either.
      I used to go to the beach wearing sandals and then taking them off before touching the sand. In later years I was wearing swimming pool slippers.

      It makes me laugh when I’m waiting for my mum arriving to any British airport lounge and before her a horde of British tourists in flip flops and straw hats parades in front of me, even if it’s autumn in Italy and all the Italians are wearing shoes already.

      • paolanqar says:

        Italian here and I agree.
        I would never EVER wear flip flops anywhere but the beach. In Florence you can easily spot the american tourist because they all wear flip flops, even in the winter (wtf?) while you see german tourists wearing sandals with white sock (LOL) up to the knee. Chinese women wear thick stockings with open toe sandals.
        So funny.

        But for some reason in Italy 80% of men wear speedos at the beach. My very british boyfriend is horrified every time he sees someone wearing them proudly. I guess it’s a cultural thing.
        I am sorry but flip flops are not fashionable or classy in any way. I really dislike men in flip flops too, especially in the city during the summer months, and at work.

      • izzy says:

        In Paris in the summertime you can spot Americans from the West part of the US a mile away : flip flops and yoga pants (California uniform).
        East Coast dwellers or New Yorkers not so much, they know about long walks in the City and how to put together some items of clothing..

      • TwistBarbie says:

        Ugh I wouldn’t be caught dead in flip flops either except for at the pool. I even wear heels to the beach (or wedges)

    • amilu says:

      I agree with your husband!

    • Ange says:

      Aussie here, we come out wearing flip flops AKA thongs, AKA double pluggers.

      • Lex says:

        Yep I wear thongs everywhere… can swing them year-round in some parts of the country.

        Not a fan of people’s grubby, unkept, scabby footsies but if you keep nails cut, feet clean & moisturised, go for it! Gives me opportunities to show off my pedicures 🙂

    • thaliasghost says:

      European here and the idea that all Europeans abhorr men in flip flops is hilariously wrong. It always makes me feel as if the rest of the world thinks, say, France is the land of Amélie and twee elegance, French Riviera and all that….and then it’s actually Banlieues, Islamism, unemployment and Marine Le Pen.

  4. CornyBlue says:

    Not gonna lie i enjoy his interviews too .. he seems very reactionary.
    Also its surprising how Tom Ford is considered a part of the elite and doing his film is seen as prestigious having released only one film ( A Single Man was stellar but I cannot believe how much blind faith people have in his directorial abilities)

    • LAK says:

      Film is a visual medium which is something Tom Ford excels at. His transition to film was so smooth that you would never realise that was his first film.

      And it only takes one film to be elevated to the elites. There are loads of directors who have made loads of films that are terrible films in every sense. Very few makes good films every single time. There are many who have made one or two films only and those films be perfect gems.

      • CornyBlue says:

        Oh no I get that. I absolutely agree that he is very very good and I have not seen Nocturnal Animals yet but A Single Man is up there as one of the prettiest films I have seen and is definitely the best performance of Colin Firth’s career. It takes a director of huge caliber to get such a performance even from a seasoned actor like Firth. The directorial world is very eilitist and actors and directors generally tend ot look down on fashion people so his rise has been surprising that is all

    • Flora says:

      Nocturnal Animals is siblime! Easily one of the best films of the year so far (in my opion) and I watch a lot of films in the cinema! It is gorgeous and devastating. I watched it twice already and I can’t stop thinking about it.

      • Nik says:

        I got to respectfully disagree. I hated Nocturnal Animals. It’s very style over substance. This was a problem with A Single Man too but at least that movie’s style was its substance. From the opening sequence (wtf was that about?) to its characterization (e.g. Susan’s coworkers, the rednecks), the movie was repulsive and mean spirited.

        Then performance wise Adams is given nothing to do besides brooding in her pretty house, Gyllenhaal is miscast, and ATJ is wildly overacting. The saving grace came by Michael Shannon, he’s almost award worthy, and Laura Linney in her one scene.

        He has talent as a filmmaker, there’s a car chase that’s well directed, but the movie was a huge miss overall.

  5. Esmom says:

    I’m with him on flip flops on men, except for the beach. I had a male co-worker once say that he never wanted to see his male colleagues’ nipples (he played hoops with clients and some took their shirts off, scarring him), knees or toes. I thought that was a good general rule.

    • Abbott says:

      I believe our collective hatred for mandals is what could unify this nation.

      • Birdix says:

        Yes, I had to convert my east coast husband from mandals to flip flops when he moved to CA (shudders). Even then, the idea of flip flops in nyc–yuck, your feet get so dirty. I wear them in San Francisco, but only to the beach.
        But growing up in So Cal, anyone not in flip flops, huaraches, or Keds was a curiosity. Those rainbow heeled flip flops were huge for a while, but mostly it was just the super cheap flip flops that were essentially interchangeable.

      • kri says:

        @Abbott LOL. Finally, a slogan I can get behind. Haven’t seen you in ages. Where have you been, you wit??

      • Esmom says:

        You’d think so yet I am afraid at this point nothing can unify us. Surely there’d be a an outraged faction screaming “Mandals Matter.” Sigh.

    • Lex says:

      I hate men being topless in public. On a basic level, I hate it because the men are usually fairly repulsive and it has a show-off air to it. On a deeper level, it disgusts me that men can be topless wherever they want but females cannot. I see chubster tradies on building sites with bigger t*ts than mine, yet I can’t have my top off? Everyone or noone.

  6. LAK says:

    I adore THE WOMEN. It’s a perfect film. Understandably, i hate every single remake of it especially the Meg Ryan version.

    As for ‘gay culture’, i think he means a very specific stereotype of how gay people conducted or were thought to conduct their lives. You don’t see that in the mainstream anymore because it is seen as offensive to gay people plus gay people aren’t allowing people to impose the stereotype on them anymore.

    • Birdix says:

      Oh me too! And the first time I saw it was years ago at the Castro theater, in a double feature with All About Eve. Found it so funny at the time that it was a theater full of men watching The Women.

  7. Sixer says:

    I agree that he’s talking about a subculture becoming mainstream and also that this is a good thing if we’re looking at a demonised subculture that was previously outside the law in a way totally against natural justice. But I guess if that subculture was an intrinsic part of your life and your identity before things got better, you’re going to look at its passing with nostalgia even if you’re simultaneously celebrating. I kinda get him there.

  8. Dolkite says:

    That coat is too short in the arms and shows too much of the French cuffs.

  9. ichsi says:

    I always forget how old he is. His surgeon is doing a good job! As for the flip-flops, meh. Not all of them are the same, there are some pretty classy models and since I have a light foot fetish I like seeing feet, especially if they’re pretty.

  10. Snowflake says:

    I don’t like flip flops on men, they usually have bad feet. I’m not a big flip flop person in general, there’s no support and I’ve slipped and almost fell wearing them. I’m in FL, everyone wears them.

  11. SusanneToo says:

    70 degrees is warm, Kaiser? At that point I’m wearing closed toed shoes with warm socks and a sweater, if not a jacket. Brrrr!

  12. BJ says:

    I agree with him about flip flops.
    I can just imagine how much he was probably bullied in San Marcos ,Tx in the 1960’s.

  13. nnnn says:

    All men, and young boys, should grow up with an innate sense of shame about their feet.

    Our feet are disgusting. I am ashamed of my feet and I have been told by many people about how attractive my feet are… for a man, that is.

    They are disgusting even if you maintain them to the best of your ability. True; some women also have unfortunate feet, but no man EVER has attractive feet. They are vile through and through. Mothers need to teach their sons about the abomination that is the male feet.

    I would never wear flip flops outside of my pool or garden area. It is a sin and TF is right! How can you get on a plane wearing flip flops? It is so unhygienic. What are you, a monkey?

    Women can wear them casually if their feet are cleaned and nicely manicured and maintained. But again, not on a plane! Wear slippers if you must.

    • Cupcake says:

      You nailed it. Mandals are a crime and sandals should only be worn by women with pedicured feet at the beach, when it’s sizzling (at least 100 F), etc. Unless you live on the equator put those sandals away!

      He seems surprisingly grounded. Refreshing!

      • nnnn says:

        So gross.

        Some loud-colored polo T, A&F cargo pants in some army-friendly color, some awful faded baseball cap worn backward, and those dreaded flipflops on their meaty and stinky feet, complete with toe hair and yellow toenails. So f-ing proud.

        Every douchebag from coast to coast, continent upon continent… Henry Cavill. As gorgeous as his face is, that’s about how disgusting his feet are. And that tool is always in flip flops. ON A PLANE ACROSS THE F-ING ATLANTIC!

        Nothing super about that.

    • Coconut says:

      Thanks for both of your hilarious posts here @NNNN!

    • Esmom says:

      Lol, nnnn, preach. Although I have to say I’ve seen some women’s heels that are so cracked and dry that they no longer resemble anything like human skin. Those should also be covered at all costs, imo.

    • ab says:

      lol. agreed! feet are gross and there’s no need for flip-flops in public. I wear them as house shoes in the spring/summer but that’s as far as I go. my go-to summer sandals are woven huarache-type styles, preferably with a covered toe.

      • MrsBPitt says:

        FEET…ARE…GROSS! They should come with a tattoo, saying,” please keep feet covered at all times, especially when in public…,may cause permanent eye damage and nausea…”

  14. dandan38 says:

    Call it misophonia or simply easily annoyed, but I cannot stand the sound of flipflops “flop flopping” as people walk unless at the beach. (Shudders) They absolutely look horrible-yes, especially on men!

  15. Isabel says:

    Kaiser…I think what he means by homosexual culture maybe is that everyone had seen the same sorts of movies and everyone found their identity in the same way? But I would agree that it’s better now, that people can find their own flavor and identity without suffering prejudice or having a certain path to walk.

  16. Turtle says:

    About gay culture, TF’s use of “as you and I know it” is the operative phrase. There’s a lot of that kind of talk going around now in the community. Gay culture was built around being oppressed and being the outsider and having to band together and form your own language and methods of communication. And the guys who determined all of that stuff were the ones who were going out to clubs and taking the risk of being public. And so that kind of specific cultural language just spread and seeped into the media and that’s how gay culture was defined. But although we are still oppressed (let’s not forget it’s still legal to fire someone for being gay or deny them housing in something like 29 states), gay men are more free now to find their own flavor, as someone upthread says. But for guys within the age range of TF, it’s sad to see that cultural language slowly disintegrating.

    • Dinah says:

      Reminds me of Gullah. How many who sing “Kumbayah” ever realize where the phrase comes from?

      • Turtle says:

        Until your comment, it never occurred to me to look into its origins. (There’s my privilege bubble again. Ugh.) OF COURSE white people appropriated for their own use from African-American culture.

    • emilybyrd says:

      thanks for that explanation of what tom was probably referring to, turtle. really helpful.

  17. Dinah says:

    I agree with Tom Ford and Anderson Cooper. The only man who ever looked great in sandals was Jesus in the Biblical portraits.

  18. kibbles says:

    I’ve enjoyed some of Tom Ford’s recent interviews. To me he comes off as meticulous and a perfectionist, which is probably how he has excelled as both a designer and a director. He seems like someone who has never looked messy a day in his life. It’s funny that he is from Texas of all places. He probably grew up counting down the days until he could travel to NYC, London, and Paris. Yes, he is an elitist, but to me he seems like a nice guy. I liked what he said during the Nocturnal Animals promotional tour about love and not throwing something like love away as many people do so easily these days. Then I learned he has been with his husband for three decades. That made him seem less materialistic to me. It’s amazing anyone in his line of work could stay with one person for that long. I haven’t seen Nocturnal Animals yet, but I like that this movie is his way of acknowledging that he has an extremely privileged life like the main character Susan, but that it doesn’t equate to happiness. What really matters at the end of the day is love and family, and maybe Ford has realized that after a lifelong career in a very superficial world. He seems to have changed now that he has a son and maybe focusing on his family life has changed his perspective on certain things.

  19. nicegirl says:

    I twisted my ankle BIGLY wearing flip flops in the house, I slipped on the carpeted stairs, the flop caught on the bottom step. I am never buying another pair again.

  20. MissMarierose says:

    I could not agree with him more about people wearing flip flops on a plane. Disgusting.

    Especially because you know they’re going to take their nasty feet out of those things and put them on the seat or the bulkhead in front of them. Or walk barefoot to the bathroom. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that happen.

    Those people should be given a Silkwood shower. Heaven only knows what filth they are transferring on and off their soles.

    • jetlagged says:

      I laughed at your Silkwood shower comment, and couldn’t agree more. I get a serious case of the icks seeing what people wear – or don’t wear more like – when on planes. I wish I could travel in a plastic bubble and I’m not even that germaphobic.

      Hygiene aside, what happens if there were an actual emergency? Bare feet are no match for a fire or jagged metal.

  21. jferber says:

    Tom Ford is the man. End of story.

  22. jferber says:

    Nice girl, I’m sorry you bigly hurt your ankle. I’m bigly laughing about your use of this “word.”

  23. Diana B says:

    Me too Tom. Me too 😌

  24. Natasha says:

    He would hate Australia then! Everyone wears flip flops at anytime and anywhere. Climate wise, I can’t see men wearing anything other than flip flops in summer its just too hot to wear shoes and mandels are just a no….

  25. OTHER RENEE says:

    I lived in Israel in the 1980s and was shocked by how many men wore mandals every day. It is a warm to hot climate and so it was the norm. I was from the east coast and don’t think I’d ever seen mandals on any guy. Now I live in southern CA and it’s the norm to wear flip flops–men and women.

  26. Rischa says:

    Becoming part of the mainstream is a death of sorts.

  27. Abby_J says:

    I admit it. I hate flip flops and sandals on men, unless you are at the beach or the pool. That said, I’m a total hypocrite and my small son looks adorable in sandals.

    My husband wears flip flops around the house and sometimes out when he just has to run somewhere quickly. I don’t complain, even though sometimes I want to. 🙂

  28. Janice says:

    Oh my gosh, this is my son! In the first grade he asked for a suit for Christmas and at the start of the second grade he took his father’s briefcase to school instead of his backpack. Instead of being bullied, some of the other boys thought it was cool and one of his buddies asked my son if his dad had any more briefcases that he would let him use. And yes, as it turned out, my son is also gay. lol

  29. Nighthawk says:

    I live on the West Coast and don’t wear flip flops, and I think I’m the only white male out here who doesn’t. I hate them myself.

    And they should be banned on a plane, especially the people who kick them off and curl them under their legs but there’s still part of the feet coming over into the middle seat (I’m talking of times where no one is sitting in the middle.)