Socks – Necessity or Accessory?

Sonya Glyn NICHOLSON

Socks – Necessity or Accessory?

Marcoliani Milano

A small joy in life — matching socks with no holes.

A bigger joy in life — the above, but with socks made from quality materials, design and fit.

Socks have come to be seen as much as an accessory as a functional piece. Not so long ago, a man attempted to make his sock color blend with his suit and shoes with either blue, black or gray shades. But that’s the past. Socks today are seen as an accessory instead of a necessity–and a shift has occurred to attempt to make the socks (even if subconsciously) noticeable.

Many men are welcoming this style advantage of elevating the sock to a higher place of sartorial importance. And put simply: socks can serve to make an aesthetic transition between the trousers and the shoes, including pulling together other coordinates like the tie, the pocketsquare and the boutonniere.

AHH…THOSE SOCK RULES

1. Match your socks with your trousers, not your shoes (numerous sources). Disagree

2. Match your socks with your shoes, not your trousers (numerous sources). Disagree

3. Wear over-the-calf stretch socks so the leg will not ever show (AskMen). Agree.

4. Match one’s socks with one’s tie (Suit Society). Neutral

5. Wear black socks with black suits and navy socks with navy suits (GQ) Disagree

6. It’s OK to have “No Socks” with a suit during the summer months (Men’s Health) Agree if Seersucker

7. Wear solid socks with patterned suits (Fashion Design Scope) Agree

8. When wearing patterned socks, wear solid suits (Fashion Design Scope) OK

9. Socks can be matched to something worn above the waist such as a man’s shirt, tie, pocket square or suspenders (The Fine Young Gentleman, Rule #6 ) Agree

10. Dress socks should be a shade darker than your suit pants (Socksoutlet.com) Neutral

11. Socks one shade lighter than the suit is a nice vintage touch (ASuitableWardrobe) Agree

I have been in meetings where people look down and notice my socks, and there is this universal sign, almost like a gang sign, where they nod and pull up their pant leg a little to show off their socks,” said Hunter Walk, 38, a director of product management at YouTube, whose favorite pair is yellow, aqua and orange striped. NY Times, February, 2012

CONQUER YOUR SOCK STOCK — A TWO-STEP APPROACH

1.  Choose Your Sock Fabric

First, rank the following in order of importance: LOOK – FEEL – DURABILITY – ELASTICITY.

Next, examine each of the four fabric groups and discover your primary fabric of choice based on the above ranking.

Here are the main four sock fiber choices available:

Wool – Early yarns were almost always wool, which is considered luxurious today, and a necessity for the more active man in a suit to wick tomoisture from the skin and release it outside the sock, with the added benefit of keep feet warm in winter and cool in summer.

Cotton – An inexpensive and durable fabric. that may be blended with lycra or man-made fibers. Holds shape well and is easy to launder.

Lisle : A fabric made from fine, smooth, tightly twisted threads spun from long-stapled quality cotton. A luxury choice.

Silk & Cashmere – A luxury blend that goes well with textured suits.  Lighter than wool with less bulk.

Note: other fibers include nylon, acrylic, olefins, spandex, linen, bamboo, cashmere, mohair.

2. Go Shopping

Avoid short socks like the devil and choose high-knee ones making sure that when crossing your legs, the bare leg will never show. And stock up on these five sock groups:

1. Solid color socks — including red and pink.

2. Socks with deep shades of burgundy, dark green, purple-black, deep burnt orange, and rich cornflower blue (to replace your boring blacks, navy, and grays)

3. Socks one shade lighter than your suits like ash gray and a muted blue (the Astaire / Grant approach)

4. Socks with appealing plaid, subtle dots, and vintage patterns

5. A few pairs of solid “ribbed” socks, that give the appearance of having tone-on-tone vertical stripes.

Caution:

* Avoid looking like a circus attendant with neon and psychedelic fare.

* Avoid looking like an elementary school teacher, with dolphins and christmas trees and such on socks (although we like the idea of an umbrella pattern)

* Noticing the socks before noticing the man (except for parties and casual wear) is a symbol of questionable judgement.

* Don’t have “secret holes” in your socks — you’ll know the holes are there, even if no one else does.

* Discreet Contrast is the gold standard

* Still, don’t be too cautious : The greater the risk, the greater the potential reward.

OUR FAVORITES:

Solid Socks

For solids, we recommend Mes Chaussettes Rouges, a very dynamic e-store with a nice selection from high end makers like Gallo, Doré-Doré, Mazarin, Bresciani and, of course, Gammarelli, official supplier of the Pope and the Vatican’s dignitaries. The quality and value of these straight-forward products are hard to beat.

Patterned Socks

Keep a strong eye on Pantherella Fine English Socks. Their website will soon be open. Wonderful high end products.

SOCKS PORN  (all pictures from Style Forum Rock your Socks) :

Sonya Glyn Nicholson.