One sock, two sock, red sock, blue sock

This, That And Then Some By Dorothy Rosby
Sunday, March 22, 2020
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I have blue socks to wear with blue pants, gray socks to wear with gray pants and black socks to wear with red pants. Kidding. I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.

I was content with my dull sock wardrobe until I heard that lately socks have gotten quite a toehold in the fashion industry. It’s true. I did an internet search of “sock fashion” and came up with 383,000,000 results. There’s definitely something afoot in the fashion world.

It makes sense that socks would be a fashion statement. Whenever we sit down, they peek out beneath our pant legs, subtle but expressive, like diamond earrings peeking out from under a fancy hairdo. Well, maybe not.

Designers saw an opportunity and they took it. There are sock subscription services and sock-of-the-month clubs. The faces of famous people are emblazoned on socks, Albert Einstein, the Beatles and Ruth Bader Ginsberg to name a few. It’s not quite Mt. Rushmore, but still, what an honor.

There are even studies showing that people who wear interesting socks appear more creative, intelligent and successful than those of us who stick to the basics. Maybe it’s time I sock it to my sock drawer.

Some celebrities have been making statements with their socks for years. The singer Rihanna, who is well-heeled in more ways than one, wore a pair of white mid-calf socks with a black mini dress at an event in 2018. But these weren’t just any socks. These were decorated in crystals, which I think would be hard to walk on. Also they cost $1,340. You wouldn’t want to lose one of those in the dryer.

President George H.W. Bush was known for wearing colorful socks. According to one fashion historian, Bush’s socks were reminiscent of a time in fashion history when accessories were the only acceptable place for color in a “serious” man’s wardrobe. I’m embarrassed that my sock drawer is less interesting than a serious man’s.

A few years ago, I thought I saw a not-so-serious man, humorist Garrison Keillor, in an airport. I wasn’t sure it was him until I saw his red socks. You may think a lot of men wear red socks. I say, name them. It was Keillor all right. I read that he always wears red socks because people send them to him after reading that he always wears red socks. With that in mind, I always wear Peruvian sweaters, hand-knitted from alpaca hair.

There are advantages of buying your socks in one color. It’s one less decision to make every day. Plus there’s a good chance you can come up with a match if one goes missing. Socks are notorious for that. And that’s why I’m not excited about buying fancy socks. In no time I’d be stuck with a bunch of stylish but useless socks. As it is, I’m stuck with a bunch of unstylish but useless socks. That’s because I save all my abandoned socks in the hopes that someday their sole mates will return.

If socks are going to be a fashion accessory, and if missing socks continue to be the problem they’ve always been, why not start seeing socks as fashionable whether they’re playing single or double. If wearing two colorful socks makes people think you’re creative and successful, wouldn’t wearing two different colorful socks really knock their socks off?

Turns out somebody already thought of that. At least a dozen companies sell mismatched socks in all sorts of patterns and colors. I’m all for it, but I don’t understand why anyone would need to buy them. Doesn’t everybody have a drawer full like I do? If you didn’t have the fashion foresight to save your mismatched socks, I’d be happy to give you some of mine. They come in pairs of black and gray, black and blue and blue and gray.

Dorothy Rosby is the author of several humor books including Alexa’s a Spy and Other Things to Worry About, Humorous Essays on the Hazards of Our Time available May 1. Contact