For this blog post, I’d love to do an in depth post on keeping a sock collection. It’s large task, and I will probably need your help. If you see anything that I need to add (especially on different mall stores, I know I'm missing some), shoot me a message at my twitter - http://twitter.com/luggjk - or leave a comment. I was gonna’ hang onto this post until I got some pics, but alas, the camera bummed out on me. I should look into getting real gear.
Socks in the summer are usually cast away, as many guys opt to go sockless with the sneakers, loafer, or sandal. This is not bad by any means, as it’s a great look most of the time. However, I love socks. I personally have at least 20 different dress socks (I don’t count athletic socks and basic black - they’re boring), the brighter, the better. A lot of people overlook the power of socks and choose not to expand their collection while they invest in things like chambray and selvedge. These things are great, have a lot of character, but don’t portray it in such a bold way as a pair of socks. Many a dull outfit can be brightened up with a pair of wacky, bright, and textured socks. Take this image from Sanforized.
The guy in the front is wearing the basics, but with the argyle socks he’s got just a little more character. Having a sock collection can really brighten up any outfit and add a little extra eye-catcher to the way you dress.
Caption: Accenting the tie, in this pic from The Sartorialist, might be a little much. I am of the opinion that socks are like a pocket square. They should make it look like you did not think about how you dressed, so avoid matching colors and patterns. Personally, I would have gone with a navy blue tie, but what do I know? Scotty hasn’t taken my picture.
Purchasing socks is easy. However, I think there is definitely a way not to buy socks. I do not buy socks on the internet. To many a blogger that may seem odd. Why not buy them off the internet? Who wants to subject themselves to a mall? However, I think that there are very good reasons why you should purchase socks in person.
1. Socks at the mall are often in sale bins. Places like Gap, Old Navy, and Urban Outfitters always seem to have socks on the cheap from last season. Those same places tend not to have such a selection at such a price on the internet or they don’t have them on their website anymore.
2. You can feel the socks. You can tell if the sock will wear out quickly (lookout for thin, soft socks - they wear out first) and you can tell if the sock is better for winter or spring and fall.
3. Colors on the internet are bad. You can tell if the sock is too bright or too boring in real life.
4. You can pick up some new underwear while you’re at it. There’s a good chance that yours are worn out.
5. Just because they’re the same price on the internet, it doesn’t mean that they’re cheaper. Shipping can add a couple bucks and if you’re getting socks from a couple different places, it adds up. Sidenote: when purchasing socks, vary your shops. Stores tend to work with the same palette for each collection. You don’t wear the same palette every day, do you?
I’d like to give a quick run down of the shops that make good, cheap socks, that I personally know.
Gap: They make the best mid-weight socks for their price at the typical mall. The colors tend to be bland, which isn’t a bad thing. Adding a slightly detailed sock, that isn’t an eye-catcher, is like having a monogram only you know about. They make the best argyles as argyles look cheap when they’re bright. Also, if you're brighter than your date, consider toning it down. Gap socks are perfect for adding detail without letting everyone know about it.
Old Navy: They make really bad thin socks. They’re cheap, but they’ll last maybe a year. And they colors tend to look cheap. I can’t put my finger on why. However, this winter they offered some cheap thick socks. I grabbed a navy blue pair that was flecked with a lighter blue and topped with two yellow bands. It’s a very cool cheap sock that has worn well. I’ll even throw ‘em on with Authentics and shorts. It’s a cheesy look, I know. Old Navy is definitely worth looking into for socks but make sure you check them out before you throw a bunch into your bag.
Urban Outfitters: They make a decent lightweight sock. Not amazing quality, but they suffice. Urban Outfitters probably specializes in the sham-wow socks. The colors will knock your socks off... Ew... Another example of literary tastelessness. They’ll look good with a suit, chinos, or jeans. I own a few pair and they’re a bit loud, but they’ve worn well and don’t show their wear like Old Navy socks.
J.Crew: They’re a bit pricey as $8.50 is the lowest I’ve found them. But they have some socks that are worth looking at. My favorite are their stripes. Of course, they look good with anything. Make sure to stop here for a pair or two, just to diversify your palette.
Ralph Lauren @ Macy’s or the like: They’re boring, except for the argyles but those are everywhere, and are never on sale. Avoid the pony socks.
Top Man: Ok, they’re not a mall store, but let’s just say you happen upon NYC once or twice a year, you could pick a pair or two up here. They have lots of colorful thinner socks that are of slightly better quality than Old Navy. The colors and designs sometimes come off as faddy and contrived, but over all, the socks do well with a pair of bucks or sneakers.
Caption: Aristotle V. from the Esquire Best Dressed Real Man competition understands socks.
Taking care of your socks is easy. Just don’t throw ‘em in the dryer. Hang ‘em up and they’ll last longer. Will at ASW knows what he’s talking about. Listen to him. However, if you do choose to throw them in the dryer, no harm done. If you shop like I do, you’ve accelerated the wear on a $5-$8 sock.
Finally, organize your sock drawer so your significant other thinks you’re weird and finds a new significant other. And then you can be left all alone, looking at your socks... Or you could just wear your socks and keep your significant other.