Socks are one of the ubiquitous staples of a man’s wardrobe. They’re also perhaps the one clothing item to which we give the least thought in terms of how to wear, when to wear or what to wear. And yet they play a key role in keeping us comfortable while allowing a certain latitude to express our individuality. It’s also true that high quality, traditionally made socks from quality manufacturers such as Corgi Hosiery are as different from cheap 100% nylon high street multipack offerings as it’s possible to get.
So here’s a few ways to avoid some of the pitfalls of wearing this most basic, yet still vital component of our everyday attire.
Do think about colour co-ordination when choosing which socks to wear. You don’t have to be constrained to monotonous charcoal grey with business suits or wholly restrict your socks featuring brighter primary colours to leisure wear but your expression of individuality will have much more impact if it’s done in a subtle and thoughtful way.
Do take care of your socks. This is especially important for woollen socks or cashmere socks which need careful handling to keep them looking their best. While some wool or cashmere needs dry cleaning, at the very least hand washing in luke-warm water is recommended and allow the socks to dry naturally or on a short spin cycle in the washing machine at most. Avoid tumble drying pure wool or cashmere socks at all costs!
Do pay attention to quality. Not all socks are created equal and paying a little more for a high quality garment will reap dividends. Given the key role that socks play in keeping our feet comfortable throughout the day suggests that paying attention to quality is even more important for socks than for almost any other component of our wardrobe.
Do be ruthless. Like any other item of favourite clothing, socks have a finite lifespan. Darning socks to extend their life may still be considered prudent by some, but since socks inevitably wear at the greatest point of contact with the inside of the shoe, darning them will do little for your foot’s comfort. Better to replace when it becomes necessary.
Don’t overdo the statement of individuality just because you can. Nothing looks more naff than smart business attire sported with cartoon character socks.
Don’t wear socks to which you’re not entitled. Regimental socks or socks in school colours can look superb and adding them to the wardrobe is a great temptation but can also lead to social embarrassment. I’d suggest that it’s better to consider alternatives, perhaps such as individually monogrammed socks or simply looking for socks featuring similarly attractive colours.
Don’t bother with sock suspenders. They look awful, it’s not cool and it’s not necessary. Choose your socks in the right size and the right quality and they’ll stay up perfectly well without them.
Don’t wear socks with open sandals. Yes, I know it’s a cliché but it’s no less true for all that. It’s one of fashion’s enduring cardinal sins and we English have previous form on this one. Just don’t do it!
About the author
Having started his career as an assistant in a well-known London gentleman’s tailor, Geoffrey Phillips is a now designer and fashion commentator in his own right. He still enjoys living in London with two Persian cats for company.