Two weeks ago I had two pairs of trousers made: navy blue wool trousers as a second pair for my suit and grey wool trousers with 1⅝ cuffs. It dawned on me that I needed new dress socks to compliment my trousers. This time around I would not be picking up ordinary socks.
Socks are probably the articles of clothing given the least attention in a man’s wardrobe. The average man simply picks out the cheapest, decent ones at the nearby department store without much thought of its materials, construction and fit. But if we look beyond what’s available one can discover that there are much better options for the discerning man.
I did my research, visited different stores and picked up a set of four pairs of cotton socks from Marks & Spencer. The set has two pairs in navy blue and two pairs in grey — perfect companions for my two new pairs of trousers. At PHP 1,150 for four pairs (PHP 287.50 per pair) it certainly does not break the bank. Now let me tell you why I chose them.
The Philippines is a tropical country and that means cotton is pretty much the only choice of natural fiber for socks. Although cotton does not feel nice when your feet sweat a lot you can’t really choose other natural fibers such as wool as they would make your feet warm.
Choosing what kind of cotton socks are made from matters. The socks I bought are made from extra long staple cotton and are mercerized. Long staple cotton is prized for its strength, ability to absorb color vibrantly and result in a finer thread. Mercerization is a process that strengthens the fabric, makes it easier to dye and gives it a lustrous appearance.
Socks are mass-produced and constructed pretty much the same way. However, some manufacturers take additional steps to improve them. The first to wear out are usually the toes and heels because of the stretching and impact applied to these areas. Good quality socks reinforce these areas increasing their durability.
Ribbing is often added to socks in order to increase ventilation and cushion but the socks I purchased are thin and seem to have them only for aesthetic purposes. The ribbing on these socks flatten out as they are stretched thus providing neither cushion nor ventilation.
Ordinary socks are one size fits all. While convenient, it does not account for the many different sizes of feet out there. Choosing socks with different sizes allow the socks to conform better to your feet. You will notice this when the heel fits properly. A good fit also means socks will sit properly on your calves. The socks I chose sit mid-calf which is perfect for tropical weather. My only quibble is that the elastic band at the top does not grip my calves well causing it to slide down a few times throughout the day.
Luxury socks should be thought of as an investment. You don’t need to buy the most expensive ones out there. Find those that will fit your budget and start building a good collection. If good shoes are the foundation of any wardrobe, then luxury socks complement that foundation.