Month: April 2014

Statement Socks

Hey Gents,

Everyone loves the guy who can successfully pull off a pair of statement socks. Says GQ about the often overlooked accessory: “Statement socks are like a stylish man’s best kept secret; they represent a level of personal care and sartorial interest that deserves nothing but respect. And the other dudes in the know? They’ll notice, and be jealous of your game,” which is absolutely true.

A few choice combos. Mind the break of your pants and don’t be afraid to show off!

This privilege is easy to abuse, so don’t be that oblivious tryhard that contrives ugly, loud patterns and tries to pass it off as being “dapper.” There’s a certain level of tact required when going down this path so just be mindful of where you stand on a scale from Bobo the Clown to Dwayne Wade. If you find yourself thinking twice about any of your choices, go ahead and stop — the choices should come naturally. If you want to go conservatively, stick with Navy — it’s the universally neutral sock color. Avoid black.

An example of a trainwreck. Jesus Christ. I would need a full leap year to sit this guy down and explain everything that's wrong with this sock pairing.

An example of a trainwreck. Jesus Christ. I could dedicate a full leap year to sit this guy down and explain everything that’s wrong with this pairing and still not have enough time.

In case you’re in the market for some sprezza socks but don’t know where to start, keep in mind these few rules-of-thumb for sock buying and care:

-First and foremost: Don’t buy cotton. Either buy wool or a synthetic blend. Cotton is moisture-absorbant, which dampens the socks and increases the rate of wear (Not to mention the inevitable foot odor).

-Wool has the advantage of being moisture-wicking. Also, throw the notion of wool being a “winter-only” material out the window, it’s dated thinking. Modern advances in the textile industry provides us with high-quality, fine/ultrafine wool that won’t choke your feet. Itchy wool is just cheap wool.

-Despite popular belief, socks aren’t actually one size fits all. They are typically 1 or 2 sizes larger than your shoe size. Poor fit will wreck your socks so mind the fit. Additionally, poor shoe fit can actually ruin your socks quicker as well.

-Always hang dry your nicer socks. The heat from the dryer will wreck the elastic and will unravel the knit. For ultimate longevity, hand wash them as well.

Some additional inspiration for awesome pairings. Says Josh Bearman of Rolling Stone, “Socks are like lingerie for men.” #swoon

Recommendations:

Tourist: If you just want to experiment with some patterns and pairings but aren’t sure if statement socks are your speed, try a few pairs from Richer Poorer. Think of these as the H&M of socks– they look neat and are inexpensive, but are of poor construction and may last you very few wears. But they’re a good introductory brand if you’re just a tourist. Try it out, get some feedback from your family and friends and then reevaluate your needs. Alternatively, you can just match your pants or go a shade darker to make you seem taller. Again, Navy rules supreme.

Step Up: Happy Socks are a decent value for the selection and mixed-bag quality. You can also always check out J.Crew Camping socks & Uniqlo, but always mind the materials in the product details. Compliment your pants color and develop an understanding of how colors and patterns work together.

Top-Tier: My pick for the top brand goes to Pantherella. Check out their “trendy” section and you’ll see great patterns that aren’t overdone. Consisting of pure quality, the artisan-level craftsmanship for this brand that’s been around since 1937 is just unbeatable. Splurge on these and you won’t regret it. Match with other pieces of your ‘fit like pocket square, tie, or shirt. At this point, you don’t need me telling you what to do.

Your Style Consultant,

Jack

 

Regarding Over-branding

Hey Gents,

This’ll be a short one: just my thoughts on some problems we can encounter regarding branding.

You can walk through a high school hallway and immediately recognize the kids that can afford nice clothes and make it a point to shop whatever brands are “in” that season. The phenomena of seeing how many types of birds, moose, and other animals you can cram onto your chest is one I’ve always found pretty fascinating. I suppose it’s a pretty regular occurrence for high school kids seeking to build an identity. The problem I’m talking about actually begins when that type of wear bleeds into your post-juvenile life.

For Hollister/A&F logos emblazoned all over your body? You sure are.

I see college-aged kids and real adults out in public acting as walking advertisements for the brands they mistakenly think they never grew out of after high school. And even within those brands, there are probably some clothes they can choose to wear that mitigates the overtly blatant peacock-ism, but they remain blissfully ignorant to the fact that they look like absolute milk-drinking cozy boys. Don’t be a walking billboard.

Destiny’s Child got paid to wear a gaudy getup like this. Remember, you aren’t.

Brands serve several purposes, including the following:

-Consistent assurance of quality for products (Barbour will last forever, whereas H&M might last a few wears)

-Core competencies for specific pieces (I shop at Lucky Brand for their awesome jeans, but not their overpriced garbage T-shirts)

-Personally identifying with and projecting an image in line with the associated brand-lifestyle (Meat brained mouth-breathers wear Tapout shirts to self-affirm their macho-ness, as well as notify everyone in the vicinity that they can and will beat anyone in a fight, right?)

An example of a rad, brand-discrete ‘fit

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not bashing anyone’s brands– just mind the manner in how selectively you wear them outwardly. Also, I’m not saying brand whoring and loyalty aren’t a thing for me. I absolutely swear by J.Crew, Uniqlo, and Clarks and will wear them into the ground. But there is a balancing act between “Wearing a Ralph Lauren polo because they make decent-value tops” and “Wearing a Ralph Lauren baseball cap, T-shirt, jacket, pants, and sneakers all at once because ‘it’s so me.'”

Your Style Consultant,

Jack