There was a time, not so long ago when socks were seen as purely a utility item, very much the unsung hero of any outfit. The fact, if you wore camel coloured socks, you were seen as being daring. They were the MOST conservative item of mens apparel within the gambit of gentleman’s wardrobe. Even in the hazy, tie dyed, hippy-trippy 1970’s socks still reminded untouched by what was going on around them, in fact that during this time one of the biggest crimes against style was at its most savage and rampage, the SANDAL AND SOCK COMBO. It was simply socks came in black, navy and grey and then sports socks were white and never the twain shall meet.
THEN CAME THE 80’s ! A decade of high power dressing, over indulgence, decadence and Cartoon Character socks were everywhere, whether it be Fred Flintstone, Garfield or Mickey Mouse, if you were alive during this time, the chances are you had at least a pair. YES maybe you didn’t buy them, but you had some and mores to the point you wore them ! Even to this very day these heinous creations can be purchased in numerous incarnations.
Today though, socks are a very different entity, thanks to the return of the turn up and the Thom Browne trouser length, socks have had a real renaissance and a true return to their former glory. When it comes to socks we men as consumers are spoilt for choice within every section of market certain brands are doing great things for socks from Marks & Spencer to Lyle & Scott through to Paul Smith and Corgi are producing well made, bright, without being garish and comfortable socks. But, for today’s post we’re highlighting a brand or two who are doing exceptional work within the field.
Firstly, Panterella, a brand with genuine sock history having just celebrated their 75th Anniversary. Family owned, Founded in Leicestershire, UK, Pantherella takes pride in its long-established heritage of designing and producing great men’s socks. Authentically ‘Made in England,’ the quality of Pantherella socks is distinguished by a hand-linked toe seam. This traditional method leaves an exceptionally, almost invisibly smooth, secret join.
This trademark attention to detail marks Pantherella socks as some of the very best in Britain; combining traditional methods with modern technology makes the brand hard to beat for craftsmanship, colour and choice and with fact like,
One sock takes 15 minutes to make
1.1 million socks are produced a year
There are 1373 options per season
72 socks are hand linked a day, you can see why.
Next up we have, Falke, a brand that can boast they produce 6,700.ooo men’s socks annually. 4 generations of the Falke family manage the company and still do today. The brand was borne in Schmallenberg, Germany in 1895. Their most expensive sock is a mind boggling €860. Plus, shhhhhh 13 heads of state wear their socks, but lips are sealed as to who. They offer such foot delights as fine cashmere and climate-regulating merino wool to provide you with incomparable wear comfort -whether you’re looking for business or leisure socks. They even offer a Sock Subscription option, a practical feature that gives you peace of mind as you’ll always have enough of your favourite socks in your closet.
Last, but certainly by no means least and definitely a sign of the times is Richmond Socks an on line web emporium dedicated to sock par excellence. We caught up with Simon Bullmore Founder of this sock lovers utopia who gave us his expert opinion on why wearing quality socks is so important –
1) Great socks get you noticed. Men used to be able to add some colour to outfits with a tie. But the move from suits to smart casual at work has taken this away. Socks are a great way to add back a touch of flair and class.
Step out in a pair of stylish socks and you’ll stand out against the sea of socks in boring blacks and greys. A pair with a decent design, interesting colour or beautiful texture will get you noticed – for the right reasons.
What to choose? This season’s favourites at Richmond Socks are vintage designs in modern colours for work wear. At the weekends bolder designs in stripes or candy colours like raspberry and orange are getting really popular.
2) Socks are an easy way to wear a bit of heritage and support British business. Sock making is a British success story right now. Firms like Pantherella, Corgi and Wolsey are true icons. The attention to detail and quality finishing that goes into their socks make them stand out. You’ll know the difference when you pull on their socks. And so will other people.
3) Hand linked details. At Richmond Socks all the socks we sell are handlinked. It’s a small detail. But one we insist on. Why? Well, you know that ridge under your toes on most socks? The bit that rubs? You won’t find it on decent socks. A quality pair of socks is hand linked – a fiendishly difficult manual process. The result is a smooth seam, which means the socks won’t rub you up the wrong way, and will last longer.
Stylish men are now aware that hand linking is important. So when you want to buy your next pair make sure they are handlinked. It’s makes a real difference and in the long run will protect your feet as well as your pocket.
4) Socks are now as good for the planet as they are for your feet. Our customers want to know that their socks don’t cost the earth. So we’re seeing increasing interest in socks made in renewable materials such as bamboo. Wool is still a firm favourite too. In many ways it’s the ultimate renewable resource!
These materials have the added benefit of making socks longer lasting and more comfortable. Take merino wool. It’s far better than nylon at wicking away the pint of sweat your feet release each day. It’s also naturally anti-microbial which stops feet from smelling. A bonus for you, and of course for anyone who’s around when you take your shoes off….
5) Keeping your legs undercover. Most men now know that showing off a swathe of hairy skin when they cross their legs is not appealing. It’s a definite style faux pas. Worse, in many Muslim countries, that bit of leg can cause offence.
So, stylish men, and those that do business abroad, are increasingly adding a few pairs of over the calf socks to their wardrobe. Over the calf socks have always been de rigeur in Italy, but are now catching on elsewhere. The added bonus is that they’ll stay fitted to your leg all day, and won’t sag around the ankles.
Oh and one last thing, good reader, please remember –