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Style Guide for the Modern Cad

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by Emerson O'Sullivan III aka FancyLad, for outsideleft.com
originally published: February, 2004
Are rubber sandals fashionable... Old Navy would like you to think so
by Emerson O'Sullivan III aka FancyLad, for outsideleft.com
originally published: February, 2004
Are rubber sandals fashionable... Old Navy would like you to think so

Fancy Lad, outsideleft's own in-house self-appointed style expert answers all your nagging questions on fads, fashion, vanity, style and the gentleman's code of conduct.

I just graduated law school this spring and whenever I bring it up at social events such as parties or get-togethers, everyone always hits me up for free legal advice. What are the best ways to handle these situations?
Eric Zarumba, Dallas, Texas

Fancylad gets this all the time—there's nothing more annoying then going for another handful of crepes D'endive a L'espagnole at the buffet table and getting some uncouth frat boy asking you if it's acceptable to wear white sweat socks with his suit for his rape hearing. It's unacceptable, not to mention a buzz killer.

What you could do is give them your card or work number and tell them you'd love to help them and if they could give you a call at the office the following day. If they're not completely uncivilized, they should get the message that business is conducted during business hours and business conducted at the office gets billed. Or you can always give them an abbreviated answer, then ask them their name and address so you know where to send their bill for your counsel. Either way, they'll get the idea.

I've been to quite a few restaurants lately that mention the term "corkage fee" on their menus and stuff. What the hell?
Sarah Weller, Boston, Mass.

A corkage fee is the amount that a restaurant is going to charge you when you bring in your own bottle of wine. You bring it in, they'll open it for you, give you glassware, and let you drink it there. It's as pretentious as it sounds, but if you're an oenophile—a snobby wino with expensive taste—this can be a blessing in disguise. See, most restaurants are going to charge you at least a 100 per-cent markup over retail on their wines and champagnes. Ten bucks at Jimbo's Liquor and Deli, twenty at the restaurant. So if a restaurant charges—let's say $10 for their corkage fee—you're going to save the extra amount of cash on any bottle you spent more than $10 on at Jimbo's. The only problem is that you can't send it back if it stinks.

What's the deal with those cheap rubbers sandals making a comeback? My boyfriend owns three pairs and he even wears them to work and when we go out at night. Is this trend fashionable or even acceptable?
Ann Hallett, San Diego, California

Like it or not, those cheap (and cheaply made) sandals one once found in the 99-cent bin at grocery stores and swap meets have made a comeback of proportions I haven't seen since the great Capri pant resurgence of '98. Are they fashionable? The Gap and Old Navy would like you to think so. Are they acceptable? I don't think they'll get past any maitre d I know îor ever want to know for that matter. But for a beach excursion, midnight trips for Taco Bell Chalupas and taking out the trash, I think they work perfectly providing that the wearer's toenails are clean and properly trimmed. As eveningwear, I'm also going to have to give this trend a big fat no unless the two of you have invitations to a luau. As for footwear at the office, if he has a whistle around his neck, zinc on his nose, or works at an Internet startup, they seem to hand sandals out at their new-employee orientations, go figure.

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