White Socks & The Gentleman

Posted on October 20, 2011 by forgetfulgentleman | 1 Comment

by Teah Strandjord

I know many of you manly men hope that I am about to discuss the baseball team. But to be honest, I don’t know anything about baseball (although, I did win the World Series pool in my office by going with the Red Sox in 2007). Anyway, instead of talking about the classic American sport, today I want to discuss the fabric things you put on your feet. Socks.

The most serious offender in this sartorial category are your white socks. They may seem harmless, but learn to be skeptical – these unassuming colorless tubes may be destroying any chance you had at gentlemanly handsomeness. Harmful: wearing white socks with loafers or dress shoes. Even worse: wearing white socks with sandals. And I cringe each time I see an unknowing fellow wearing jeans with sneakers and a dingy pair of white Hanes (statement inspired by many true stories). These offenses thrust an otherwise charming man immediately into the categories of unattractive, unstylish, unaware, and frumpy. I don’t want this for you, so let’s help you put your best foot forward and dress to impress. Note: wear white socks if and only if you are either going to the gym or performing manual labor. Period.

(Well... I guess there is one exception to the white sock rule, which is when attending an event along the lines of a movie premiere sporting a showbizzy all-white ensemble, in which case your white socks will match your white shoes, pants, shirt and jacket. And your name will be something like Brad Pitt.)

Moving on. Haberdasheries around the country sell socks in more colors and patterns than one could count. And while no sock offense is as base as the glaring white sock mishap, some points can be earned in the chic category should you choose your socks wisely.

As an elementary note, the experts say this: when in doubt, match your socks to your trousers, not to your shoes (there is some “bootie effect” that will stop onlookers in their tracks to point and gawk). From there, you should take time to invest in both dress socks and casual (non-white) socks, as the latter can be a nice-looking option with jeans and loafers. Finally, your feet can make a bigger statement than you think (especially if you are a size 14 or larger), and if you feel confident, this area can be jazzed up from time to time. Match your socks to your shirt, to your pocket square, or to nothing at all. The Style Guy at GQ says, “Some days, when I’m feeling angry, I wear socks that don’t match anything.”

Still pining for panache? Then feel free to practice socklessness. This can be a very handsome look, loafers and bare ankles. But never skip the socks when wearing a suit (even though the super models are doing it), and in certain situations going sans socks can appear like you don't care. Also, be sure to think ahead about the adventures that lay before you, and the possibility that you might need to remove your shoes. For example, I’ve seen some gents caught sockless in the security check at the airport, and that’s a little uncomfortable.

Socklessness, conservative slack-matching, or adventuresome color statements, welcome to the world of eye-catching and handsome. If you’re new to this terrain and turned on to consider this top drawer fashion accessory further, think about looking into socks from either Corgi (the preferred sock maker of the Prince of Wales, and a company that actually does bespoke socks), or Pantherella. And if you’re feeling dizzy from the realization that your sock drawer is full of white Hanes alone (which if that's the case I feel dizzy for you), visit mrporter.com or the GQ Style Guy for some guidance. It would be a tragedy to let your image down by what resides as underwear on your feet.

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The Mannerly Traveller

1 Response

Forgetful Gentleman
Forgetful Gentleman

October 25, 2011

So we just met with the guys over at Hook + Albert and we were blown away! Not only are their socks bright and colorful, they've introduced technology and innovation never before seen in a dress sock: elasticized arch support, Y-stitched heels, hand linked toes, double layered calf bands, all done in the softest cotton imaginable!Check them out at http://www.hookandalbert.com

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