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Feature: Socks: A Riposte

Tuesday 13 November 2012
Words Spindle

Thomas Spooner gives an editorial riposte to Amy Lavelle’s words on socks.

The world is not monotone. There is colour everywhere and colour is good. In nature, in art, in every thing we see, it bursts asunder. And as a part of this world, a living, breathing entity within it, it is our right and our duty to be colourful too. Not multi-coloured, nor clownish, but to express our personality through the occasional splash of colour. Or so you would think.

First of all, it was ties. Businesses across the country began to discourage the wearing of ties in the workplace, some even outlawed them altogether. Ties suddenly became old-fashioned, outmoded. Now this saddened me because I love ties. Ties divide the design of a shirt, add character to an outfit, provide little wedges of wonder in a pastel passé. And now it seems the fashion establishment are moving onto socks.

The current campaign from those trend-setting folk at Socked systematically critiques the wearing of any sock that is not black. Now, I take issue with this for a number of reasons. For starters, the campaign evokes a discerning gentleman dressed oh so debonair in black socks and positions him as a desirable counterpoint to the garishly besocked simpleton. I would like to point out that this self same Victorian gent would no doubt get a stiffy if he saw a table leg uncovered and beat his wife merrily with a stick as long as it did not exceed the girth of his thumb. But that is perhaps beside the point – the real issue here is the postulation that a patterned or coloured sock is a sign of an unsavoury character.

I am proud to say that the intersecting diamonds of the classic Argyle, the stripy, the bright, and even the brown socks with Cubist patterns like foot-shaped pieces of 1970’s wallpaper that my granddad gave me only bring joy into my life.

Admittedly, some people will say I only wear brightly coloured, extravagantly and occasionally ridiculously patterned very cheap viagra socks to stamp a personality onto the monotones of my character, pinning a big fun badge to the beige of my existence. But I am proud ? I take colour, pattern and kitsch and roll with it. And believe it or not, people compliment me. It may be in the same way they would a child that has just written their own name in excrement on the bathroom wall, but it’s still a compliment.

Also, I’m not denying that men’s feet are disgusting, because they are. And mine chief amongst them. Whether thin and bony like some bottom-feeding marine creature or wide, meaty, and sprouting like a hobbit’s, they should be covered. But why cover up the horrible with something as plain as a pair of black socks. We are not repressed: when it comes to fashion, we are not about shame… “Oooohhh, my feet are hideous, let me obscure them with sombre black fabric so I can mourn the death of beauty like a pediatrician Queen Victoria.”

I’m all for covering feet, but adorn them with colours and patterns, shapes and swirls. Don’t be a dick about it – don’t go Timmy Mallett whacky. In the current climate, the last thing you want is to look like a 1980’s kids’ TV presenter, but there are ways to express individuality with taste and panache. Don’t mask your personality like it is something to be ashamed of, celebrate it because the consequences are grave:

‘Excuse me madame, your eyes are too blue – they make your face look tacky? Mr Pollack, now let’s try that painting again but this time using a Bic biro. Trees, we like what you do with the whole autumn thing but how about just dropping the damn leaves, less of this changing hues nonsense.”

Don’t let them banish colour. Wear non-black socks with pride. And if any discerning gentleman takes issue with what I say and wants a duel, I’ll be the twat in the zany socks, standing alone. Always alone.

Words: Thomas Spooner