What Your Socks Say about You; FASHION; the Gap between Shoe and Trouser Reveals the Real Inner Man, Says Richard Godwin

The Evening Standard (London, England), December 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

What Your Socks Say about You; FASHION; the Gap between Shoe and Trouser Reveals the Real Inner Man, Says Richard Godwin


Byline: Richard Godwin

IT IS common knowledge that you can tell a lot about a man by their shoes -- especially if they are fleshcoloured nine-inch Louboutin heels. In the bend of the leather, the gleam of the polish, the fray of the laces, you will find the rough cut of a man. But you must look to the socks if you want to fill in the details.

In astrological terms, the shoe is the sun sign -- providing you with the basic contours of a personality -- and the sock is the moon sign, revealing the inner life. For there is a world of difference between a pair of lovely old brogues matched with a subtle Paul Smith stripe and a pair worn with a sinister pair of white sports socks, jaundiced with sweat, slumping around the ankles because the elastic is spent.

According to a recent survey (actually, a piece of propaganda from Mark Hall, the "gentleman founder" of Socked.co.uk, which delivers black socks by post) the colour is all-important.

Red socks are apparently worn by "would-be Casanovas and politicians". Actually, I tend to see red socks as the trainer-bra version of wearing red trousers -- the mark of a junior posho. Yellow socks? "Attention-seekers and office jokers." Day-Glo? "Cyclists, and nobody over the age of 11."

Personally, I favour a blue cotton sock, which means I am just about trustworthy: "You can certainly trust a blue sock-wearer with your life but with the nagging doubt that they don't quite have the confidence to wear black," says Hall. Clearly nonsense -- it takes no imagination to wear black.

Navy blue is the colour for Peter York, the noted style conservative. "I've been thinking about socks very deeply, oddly enough," he says. He only buys one kind of sock: ribbed, full-length, in either cotton or wool, according to season, "without any pattern or emblazonment at all. …

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