Colourful socks now a gentleman’s ‘accessory’, says Country Life
January 2, 2018
Men’s socks are now officially an accessory thanks to the “uprising” of colourful designs being worn, Country Life has declared two years after branding lilac socks ungentlemanly.
Reversing its 2015 edict against eye-catching socks, the magazine said increasing numbers of country gentlemen are now sporting the brightly coloured garments.
It suggests the proliferation of colourful socks is due in part to their use by high-profile figures such as actor Tom Hiddleston and Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister.
Acknowledging the change in fashion, Country Life has now printed a guide advising men how their choice of vibrant colour may influence the way they will be perceived.
Red socks mark a man out as a “challenger to Casanova” as well as “sharp in the boardroom”, according to the magazine, while mustard identifies wearers as homely types renowned for their “witty one-liners”.
Even the previously much maligned lilac is endorsed as “adventurous and daring”.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar reveals his Canada-themed socks to Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau CREDIT: AFP
Ryan Palmer, from the London Sock Company, said: “There’s something about colourful, stylish socks that puts people at ease. “Customers may start with a traditional black or navy before getting a little more adventurous, perhaps choosing the routemaster red or midnight blue.
“Then the positive comments start flowing in and the next thing you know they’re proudly showing off their East India saffron.”
In 2013 a report by Harvard Business School entitled The Red Sneakers Effect stated that those who wear colourful or eccentric socks are considered non-conformist and therefore more creative and successful.
While a minority of public figures such as the presenter Jon Snow have long been synonymous with colourful socks, it is only recently that top politicians have embraced the look Justin Trudeau’s devotion to loud anklewear promted coinage of the pharse “sock diplomacy”, a tactic which Leo Varadkar, the Irish Prime Minister, appeared to have adopted when he welcomed him to Dublin earlier this year sporting his own pair of Canada-themed socks.
It’s enough to knock your socks off; Country Life magazine has declared that all things bright and beautiful should abound around your ankles, and that colourful socks are the sharpest attire for landed gentry who like to look their best. It’s a particularly strong statement given that their “39 Steps to Being A Modern Gentleman” guide two years ago decreed that no man should be seen in lilac socks. It’s a fickle world, the sock drawer. More politics and maneuvering than Game of Thrones.
The magazine cites Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau as evidence that brightly hued, boldly patterned pairs are on the up; the all-embracing, rainbow-tinted modern man in contrast to Trump’s Quaker-ish black. The writer William Boyd, in one of his novels, advises that black socks are only worn by chauffeurs and drivers, and with the political landscape looking decidedly bleak, I’m tempted to agree that it’s time to lighten the mood.
Claret, apricot, periwinkle, jade, sunflower; there’s a whole spectrum of shades that will bring a blast of exuberance to your daily attire, and it’s a great way to modernise traditional tailoring – a merry pair of socks spliced between your grey flannel and your Oxfords is a way to add a hint of personality in a sea of greys and blacks. It’s wise to err towards one solid colour, instead of clashing prints and patterns or searing acid tones – the result tips towards novelty instead of nuanced. At a time when men’s fashion is becoming more experimental and even the most stuck-in-their-ways are willing to venture into unfamiliar sartorial waters, ditching tried-and-tested black for something with a bit more oomph is a way to shake up your wardrobe in a small, entry level way as you head into a new year.