Stylin’ Socks

The Washington Post noted recently that the once-humble sock is “becoming an alternative to the power tie as the man’s point of distinction.” We too have heeded a trend towards colourful heels. It’s all part of the New Dapper, and since we are above all fun-loving types, we are not opposed to it. But how much must one spend on sophisticated ankles?

In our quest for the flashiest socks in town, we spoke to a couple of unashamed sock experts.

Ed Liston, manager of designer collections for Harry Rosen, agrees that men are, “paying more attention to socks, taking more time choosing them.” Their best line of hosiery: the English-import Pantherella, whose cashmere and merino wool blends retail at $100 a pair. (Yes. Even we are a little daunted by this idea.) Available in wine, brown, navy and black, we can imagine they feel as fine on the foot as they do between the fingers.

At Holt Renfrew, salesman Joey Hupka’s eyes light up, then lead down – to the colourfully socked ankle he’s just revealed by tugging on his trousers. Hupka’s socks, all fine lines of lime, emerald and sea greens, are a perfect complement to the lines in his shirt and tie. “We started with maybe twenty pair of Paul Smith socks, two years ago,” Hupka says. “Now we have a whole wall of socks.”

The wall itself could be a pop art mural — dozens on dozens of stripes and argyles and dots and hearts and zigs and zags, in colours ranging from earth tones to otherworldly fluorescents. The $40 Duchamps are a little loud even for us, but we can recommend a very tasteful pair of Paul Smiths – fine, light pink argyle lines on brown. Or any of the many pairs by Richard James, striped in surprising combinations of six or so shades that are bound to match more than a few ties in your closet.

Both those lines retail at $35, and certain Italian lines at Holts run to $60. To get a similar look for $5 a pair, cross the street to H&M. They have an impressive collection of fashionably loud socks. And be sure you have a mighty fine art collection before spending $100 on socks.

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