I’m talking about your socks. Even if you can’t see your socks under your trousers, we can. What you must realize is that when you move, walk, and sit, your trousers move up an down your leg and show your ankle, calf, and sock. This means that if you chose to wear ratty, holed, and/or mismatched socks, your damning secret could be exposed at any moment.
Allow me to illustrate with the following personal examples:
1. At a recent business event, I noticed a man who had obviously put some thought into that day’s outfit and succeeded in dressing in articles of the same colour group (this is known as monochromatic). Unfortunately, the worn, pilled, formerly white tube socks under his khakis completely did him in.
2. From about 20′ away, I walked toward a business man sitting on a bench. With his knees bent and trousers drawn up, I could see the neon green bands at the top of his black sock from the angle of my approach.
3. I once watched a man dressed in a suit step off of the curb and walk into the street. As his back foot lifted, I watched his bare heel pull up from his shoe, exposing the 3″ gaping hole in his white tube sock.
Though you may think of socks as a necessary but unimportant detail, I’ll tell you, a bad sock has the power to destroy your image and your credibility.
If you choose an ill-paired, worn, or dirty sock, you may as well walk around with your fly open.
Now I hope that it doesn’t sound like I’m scolding you guys because I’m not. In fact, I empathize with you. I remember my father’s sock drawer that held scores of nylon dress socks, threadbare at the heels and holes in the toes, and white sport socks with missing heels. Somehow I followed suit as a teenager, wearing cheap black tube socks that I rapidly wore the heels out of and continued to wear. I understood why he wouldn’t let my mum throw them away, seeing that there was nothing really wrong with the sock – it was still cushy and covered most of the foot, and it would be a waste to throw it out.
I’m all for practicality and I see the “logic” here, but now as an adult, I understand the flaw in this mode of thinking. Yes, there are still good parts to the sock, but once a hole develops, the thing is tainted, unpure, it no longer serves the purpose, and casts a shadow on your image. Not only this, but wearing a holey sock doesn’t feel very good either, so I would think that would compromise a man’s confidence level.
If you purchase cheap socks like I used to, they’ll look like rags after a few washes and they wear faster. If you can, make a point of investing a little in your socks, so instead of buying 3 for $10, buy 1 for $10. Chances are, the $10 pair will outlast the $3.33 pair, you’ll look more respectable, feel more comfortable, and you’ve cut down your landfill contribution.
Sock as a palette
“I love cool socks even more than cool ties,” my friend Jim says, “they’re one of the few safe ways a guy can set himself apart.”
Jim is absolutely right. Socks can indeed be the site of your self expression, but know when and where your black and white ska-influenced checkerboard socks and the navy pair with small, subtle squares will be appreciated – normally, thin, dark, quiet socks belong in daytime business wear, while thicker socks in brighter colours and bolder patterns are for casual and after 5 pm @ the rock show, the house party, the bar and night club scenarios, etc., unless you’re a visual artist or musician, in which case you have a special license to wear pretty much wear what you like.
Random sock facts and tips
–> Say it with me: socks to match your trouser. And: socks to match the weight and fabric type of the pant.
–> Socks with coloured bands around the top and stretchy white tube socks are athletic socks, NOT DRESS SOCKS – avoid wearing them with dress clothes (please).
–> If you’re in business clothes and not wearing an “executive length” (over the calf) sock, when you sit, your trouser leg will rise and everyone will see your hairy leg. Men’s legs, hairy or not, are generally not considered appropriate in business.
–> Shoes are meant to be worn with socks – socks absorb the moisture from the foot which keeps the inside of your shoe from being destroyed by the bacterial rot that a bare sweaty foot brings. Natural fibers like wool and cotton absorb and wick the moisture away from the body best.
–> My friend David would like you all to know that keeping your toenails trimmed and your heels sanded can extend the life of your socks, and adding ammonia or vinegar to the wash can de-stink and freshen your socks and the rest of your laundry!
Next time you reach into your sock drawer, ask yourselves, how seriously will I be taken if anyone sees the state of these socks?