The joys of summer are behind us. Winter draws near. Now’s the time that many of you will be regretfully relegating your linen jackets to the back of the wardrobe. And selecting something sturdier for the trials of the season ahead.
I believe that men often relish this transition. For all it’s hedonistic pleasures, summer can be a tricky time wardrobe wise for a stylish gent. Sockless shoe wearing and baring our knees may make us physically more comfortable, but instinctively feel a little wrong. Autumn heralds a welcome return to more traditional and perhaps easier to wear standards. Out with speedos and sunglasses, in with the socks and ties!
But for all your gentlemanly demeanour you’re not going to look and feel the part if you’re literally shivering in your boots or brogues. Which is why judicious sock selection is essential. To help you step out in style (and comfort) over the colder months ahead, here is the Perfect Gentleman’s three step guide to Winter Sock Selection
1) Keep it natural for cold weather comfort
Forgive me for reminding you that even in winter your feet release almost a pint of sweat each day. Man made fibres do a poor job of drawing this moisture away, leaving your feet coated in a cold, damp layer of sock. Not pleasant.
As ever nature provides the solution. Woolen socks naturally wick away the wetness, and offer better insulation too. Merino wool is the pick of the bunch. In addition to better wet weather performance its anti microbial, which keeps your feet smelling sweet. If you’re looking for the ultimate in cosy class, cashmere is an excellent if more expensive option. And for those of you looking for something extra special try tracking down socks in Escorial – a rare type of merino wool that has the softness of cashmere with the durability of natural wool.
A final word on this topic. I recommend buying socks that blend a high quality wool with a tougher fibre such as nylon. The man made fibres help with the durability and fit of the sock. A 65/35 natural vs man made fibre split is ideal.
2) The thick and thin of it
Whilst wool is warmer I’d advise against wearing thick knitted socks in formal situations. The general rule is to go for thick knit socks for casual wear only. Woolen socks are available in more compact styles that are suitable for suits.
3) Winter colours
Gentleman should follow a few simple rules when it comes to selecting the right styles and colours for socks in winter. The first is avoid matching your socks to your shoes. It risks making you look like you’re wearing booties. If you remember nothing else from this article remember that!
From there it’s a question of common sense and personal style.
In more formal situations the easiest option is to match your socks to your trousers. This works particularly well for shorter men as it has the visual effect of lengthening your legs. To add a bit of colour try socks in a traditional base colour that matches your trousers, but with a design or pattern in a contrasting tone.
In less formal work and casual situations it really comes down to taste. Striped socks in striking colours remain very popular. As do traditional argyle patterns. A more recent trend has been the use of bold block colours. For many Gentleman this has become a great way of adding a colour accent to an outfit. For those of you with a slightly dandyish tendency you might perhaps match a bold sock with a tie, pocket square or button hole. But not all of them please. A splash of colour is better than an explosion.
Simon Bullmore is Head of Socks at Richmond Socks, the specialist online store for quality men’s socks.
Through his blog, on twitter and in regular articles Simon aims to help gentleman step out in style. When he’s not doing that he can be found walking his dog in Richmond Park, London. Or perfecting the art of cocktail making for a demanding audience at home.
Find him @RichmondSocks and at http://www.richmondsocks.com/blogs/news