Can we return briefly to the Ankle Socks debate? Although I am not a signed up member of the ‘ankle socks with pointy shoes’ brigade, I am taking my socks much more seriously these days. For winter, my default footwear is either brogues or (mostly) my beloved Grenson Chelsea Boots, often worn with jeans which I’m now in the habit of turning up, as in the right hand image above. Which puts a forensic focus on what to wear around your ankles.
I am a fan of those shoe-liner socks for summer (Muji do the best ones), but these are useless for keeping you warm in the winter where bare legs look nothing short of insane. I just can’t do tights with jeans, it feels wrong and of course there’s always knee high socks in plain colours to keep you warm, but this can be a bit ordinary. So I’ve been researching a more sophisticated ankle sock, one with a bit of grown up pattern detail or fabulous yarn/colour interest to have visible just above the top of my boots.
Jane and I both love COS for socks, they always does something a bit quirky and for the last season or two I’ve been stocking up on these metallic fine knit ones (£5) below, which bring a touch of party sparkle to your feet, even on a cold wet Monday morning. I have a pair in almost every colour now and they are great for a slightly neater, more refined finish, sort of like the picture above – although I’ve never quite achieved this level of neat-ness. The cobalt blue, below left, is a joyous colour to wear.
If I’m walking miles in my Chelsea Boots, pounding pavements in search of a fabulous shop, I prefer a more comfy sock and am very partial to a Fairisle number, such as these gorgeous patterned wool (£18.50) ones from Toast below.
British sock firm Pantherella is the Rolls Royce of socks, and make truly covetable pairs that come in a multitude of colours and patterns, with hand linked toes for comfort. They come in merino wool and also cashmere and I like the look of them, I suspect also that they are horribly addictive, but they are British, so a Good Thing. Choose from many colours and patterns here, prices start at £12.
A random search of Fairisle socks brought up these terrific J.S Homestead ones -part of Journal Standard- from Japan below (£15). The Japanese make the best patterned socks in the world and they could be cheerfully uplifting to gaze down at as we get closer to Christmas madness. The more sophisticated sage and turquoise Toast ones (£22) on the right below are a perfect match with a COS sweater I have and they are super-soft organic….I don’t quite understand what this means and have visions of sheep grazing on organic pastures, but they come in many lovely colour combos.
My favourite socks in the world are a Peruvian alpaca folk pair I bought from the lovely menswear store Anthem in Shoreditch last year but sadly are no longer available. However they do have these cute yellow and salmon pink stripe Hirsch ones (£15) and Anthem also stock the more clean-line Folk waffle socks (£16) which come in the type of colours you can’t decide between.
And finally to Muji, which do the very best edited selection of socks for every occasion, as well as the liner socks I mentioned previously, and thoughtfully knit an L and R into the toe shape of the Heathered wool socks (£7.95) to ensure you don’t muddle up your feet….it makes me smile every time I put a pair on. They are my go-to socks for everyday wear.
The secret to sophisticated sock wearing is in the washing….my Peruvian Alpaca ones need to be hand washed (don’t look at me like that, I know it’s mad but I love them, ok?) but generally I’d make sure you take a bit more care with washing nice socks to make the investment in a good pair last longer. What socks are you wearing?