Sock it to Me

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
This time of year, I think of socks. It’s only natural because it’s cold and I can’t get away without wearing them. Sometimes I even have to wear them to the bed. Don’t worry, the cats don’t mind; just an extra layer for them to chew through. As some of you may know though, I have a love/hate relationship with socks. I hate the fact that I have to wear them – almost constantly in the winter and at work during the summer (no sandals except on casual days). In my view, socks are confining, little knitted prisons for my toes. My feet long to run free (ok…more like stroll casually) in the open air, feeling the carpet, tile, or grass beneath them. Unfortunately this is not doable. So, when I MUST wear socks, I like to spice things up.

No plain socks for this Jane. No sirree. I love polka dots and stripes especially followed closely by anything resembling something a pirate might wear – think of the Jolly Roger but on your feet…in bright fluorescent colours. My wardrobe, if you can even call it that, is fairly subdued, lots of red, black and grey/white. Basically, I’m not flashy, but I’ve been known to kick out the jams when it comes to my fabric footwear. My own little act of rebellion in my fairly straight-laced office. I have also owned socks with vampires on them, penguins, kittens, the Cat in the Hat, and other cutesy critters but this is not my preference; gifts from family, friends, and coworkers who think they know me and the love side of my weird sock fetish. I also enjoy a well-made argyle but have a hard time finding ones that don’t have strings for my cute little toes to catch on…

A good pair of socks should be super comfortable, thin without being too thin but thick enough to keep your feet warm without causing you to overheat. I’ve never owned a pair of homemade socks but I’m not sure I want to. Not a big fan of the knee sock but if I found the right pair, I could be converted. Ankle socks? Only for exercising and then those should be white only (I know, I’m weird…get over it). Socks, like underpants, are something I don’t mind spending money on but price isn’t the determiner for a great pair of socks. I’ve found fantastic pairs for 99 cents and crap that cost me $20 (and vice versa – I recently bought a pair of Anne Klein socks. Pure polka dotted heaven). As for those socks with the individual toes? If you value your life, you’ll keep those monstrosities away from me. Those … aren’t … right.

After some informal research on my part, this penchant for pretty pieds covers is almost strictly a girl thing. I hadn’t really put much thought into it when male friends have said they only wear black or white socks exclusively. Sure I figured it was a slightly bland colour choice but not everyone is as adventurous when it comes to these sorts of things. However, over the past few weeks, it’s been increasingly on my mind (thanks, in part, to a Facebook discussion a few of us had on the subject and that I had to throw out two pairs of fun socks in two days…grrrrr!). Why do men feel they have to be so restricted when it comes to their sock choice? Or is my research flawed and there are, in fact, men out there unafraid to wear surfing koala bears on their feet?

Growing up, the answer in our family was easy. My father was in the military and, with the exception of underwear, just about everything else he had to put on daily was mandated by the Air Force. Dear old dad had a drawer full of grey wool socks with the red and white stripes at the top. That’s right, the kind they make sock monkeys out of. Pair after pair after warm wooly pair. Hidden amongst them though were a few pairs of black dress socks for when we went to church on Sundays or any other occasion he didn’t wear his uniform (like the bowling alley). That’s it. Dress blacks or wooly greys.

Perhaps it’s just me. Perhaps I’m merely rebelling in my adulthood against my parents who seemed to only buy me white sport socks when I was younger. There was a brief period in the late 80s where I went completely crazy and bought four pairs of neon socks – green, yellow, orange and pink – which I would double up on and wear in weird combinations (one yellow and green on one foot, an orange and pink combo on the other). I’m sure a therapist would mark this as the turning point for me although I went back to white socks a few months later.

My mother, the Admiral, wears only black sports socks to this day. Part of it is for work – her job requires her to wear black socks, shoes and pants as part of her uniform – but I think it’s a comfort thing for her. No, the socks are comfortable but rather the act of wearing her old standby. Who knows? All I can say for certain is that buys them in bulk and I cringe every time she brings home one of those multipacks of monotone socks.

My question to you, my dear readers, is (1) what type/colour of socks do you wear; and, if you weren’t limited due to workplace and/or safety concerns, (2) what would love to wear?


Wandering Coyote said...

My socks aren't terribly exciting, though I did find some at Mark's that were bright pink and covered with cupcakes! Generally, I like to go barefoot, but at this time of year, socks are a necessary evil.

mister anchovy said...

I like black socks, and I consider black socks with sandals and shorts to be a most excellent fashion statement.

SME said...

I used to love toe socks in funky colours, but getting my freakishly small baby toe into them properly was just too much of a hassle. Now my faves are a polka-dotted pair of Polar Feet.

I wear socks EVERYWHERE. I actually feel kinda nekkid without them.

Heather said...

I wear socks. I like 'em as multicoloured and crazy as I can get them, since the rest of my work wardrobe is usually subdued and according to dress code. People don't tend to see much of my socks, so I figure that I can go a little wild.

sp said...

I love socks! You'll be happy to know that I've spent the last month knitting socks for everybody (shh don't tell since they're Christmas gifts). I went to the site for patterns and went for fun stuff.
I have a crate with just socks in it. Mostly I wear white and blue sport socks for work (I like DeFeet socks for work and cycling). I have socks just for running. Then I have fleece socks with snowflakes on them and some purple ones. I have knee-highs in lots of colours and patterns. Then there's the endless pairs of black socks for everything else.

Pokecheck said...

Socks. Thick, soft, thin, colorful, bland -- just socks. Every day. A day without socks is a day without sunshine.

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