Whilst socks will always be a fashion footnote *cough* we are surprised how little we have read about this important sartorial highlight. My own father, according to family history, once stunned to silence a pub bar in the late 1950’s by wearing emerald green socks when black or beige were the only colours worn by manly men. They came from Cecil Gee apparently on the Charing Cross Road when the shop was one of the few sources of Italian menswear in London.
The Joy of Socks
So black and beige socks for 50’s austerity man but by the 1960’s we have the introduction of pattern – muted plaid, stripes which set of a winklepicker toe to perfection. There is a wonderfully evocative picture of Cliff Richard exposing a tantalising glimpse of 60’s sock which I can’t find anywhere on the internet but is required viewing for those interested in historicising 20th century men’s hosiery. A link to this image will have to do X.
The Seventies will always be associated with man-made fibres and the nylon sock. I won’t explore why a nylon sock isn’t the greatest idea and we will rush headlong on to the 80’s and the white nappy sock. I didn’t really understand it at the time and I certainly don’t understand it now, particularly as white sports socks (apparently these are called tube socks in the US) worn with a shiny suit in a club must be the worst look ever? But no, for on the horizon bounding towards us is a smug man in 90’s cartoon socks. I seem to recall I had some with Mickey Mouse woven on the side. Why? Because I, dear reader, was a Disney fashion victim.
The 2000’s introduce to what academics refer to as the millennial sock. The narrative is not so much constructed within the individual or pair of socks but spread across the multi pack bought from Marks and Spencer. Woven days of the week feature here and also the ‘closet fun lover’ – five socks which have a black body but a brightly coloured toe and heel which NO ONE WILL EVER SEE. The internal message is ‘I’m hip, I’m wild…..…but only when I’m away from work’.
This brings us to the sock that operates coolly and without fuss outside fashion. Timeless. Here we have a perfect example of these rough socks, hand knitted, oiled wool, rugged, for the booted foot. Just perfect.