Actually, Men Can Wear Sandals at the Office

This article was published on Bloomberg by Rebecca Greenfield and Francesca Levy.

Each week on Game Plan, Francesca and Rebecca close out the show with their half-baked takes, which are not super-well-thought-out ideas and opinions, on work and work-related activities. In the spirit of the summer slackoff, this week they outsourced that task to their colleagues to present the very first half-baked-take marathon. In it, they talk about important workplace topics such as the case for drinking coffee in the afternoon and an innovative idea to make open offices more habitable.

One of the more controversial takes focuses on summer male office dress code and etiquette. Every summer we hear the case for and against shorts in the office for men. The official Bloomberg stance, as of 2013, was that men still have to cover up at work.

But maybe there’s another way men can get a reprieve from the summer heat: sandals. While women can ventilate their feet with fashionable and office appropriate open-toed shoes, men sweat in their “sock prison,” as our guest, Bloomberg editor Josh Petri, put it. He wants to know: Can men wear sandals to work?

“Basically, in very few offices is it all right to wear sandals if you are a guy,” said Chris Rovzar, a fashion and luxury editor at Bloomberg. “A good rule of thumb is that if you work in an office where you’d raise your eyebrows at a man wearing shorts, it is not acceptable to wear sandals.”

More offices are getting more casual. Almost half of organizations surveyed by the Society of Human Resource Management this year allow casual dress ever day. In 2013, only about a third of companies had such loose dress codes. In those workplaces, “mandals” might fly, said Rovzar. “If you work in a startup, a fashion company, or any other kind of low-key operation where almost no one is in a suit, and people wear T-shirts on a regular basis, then it’s fine.”

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