The vast majority of people in the UK wear socks, especially in the cooler months. From being a luxury for only the wealthiest people in the Middle Ages, men’s socks and ladies’ socks can be a fashion statement or provide an insight to one’s personality today.
Here are some light-hearted pointers about socks and their wearers:
Famous people and their socks
- Whilst some famous people, including singer Michael Jackson and astronaut Neil Armstrong, had a preference for wearing white socks, others, such as Michael Gambon and Daniel Radcliffe, have always preferred brightly coloured, psychedelic socks.
- Queen Elizabeth 1st always took great care of her appearance and could take up to four hours to prepare for important occasions. Brightly coloured silk knee length stockings figured in her wardrobe from when she was given her first pair in 1560.
- Joe P. Kennedy (father of President J.F. Kennedy) apparently revealed that President or not, JFK was prone to “borrowing” his father’s socks.
- Groucho Marx wore sock suspenders to ensure wrinkle-free socks.
It is thought that the word “sock” comes from the Latin “soccus” which was a loose-fitting foot covering.
There are around 250,000 sweat glands in a person’s feet, which can produce close on 30 gallons of sweat in a single year! Socks help to absorb sweat, making feet (and shoes) more comfortable (and less smelly)!
Was Albert Einstein, who famously did not wear socks, unaware of the sweat absorbing qualities of socks? Or perhaps the psychologist’s couch would have revealed a childhood sock trauma. A brilliant man, but he must have had smelly feet!
Socks (called hose) were worn by men from the 12th Century, well before they were worn by women. As men’s fashions changed around the 16th Century, these hose evolved into a garment combining breeches and stockings, not unlike today’s ladies’ tights.
The invention of the knitting machine in 1590 enabled socks to become much more widely available – and to fit better.
Men’s socks in Regency times often had extravagant patterns (called clocks) on the sides, with originality being something of a status symbol.
Whilst natural fibres, such as cotton, wool and cashmere, are the most popular materials for socks, a slight mix of nylon can help retain the sock’s shape and stretch and make them a little more durable.
Cashmere socks are synonymous with luxury. Their wearers obviously enjoy the good things in life.
It isn’t just children’s socks that have funky patterns; men’s socks with cartoon characters such as Homer Simpson, or a variety of super heroes, are also very popular. Wearing a pair of these socks could be a talking point in a board meeting or job interview!
Vogue Magazine has stated that quirky, novelty socks are the must-have fashion accessory for 2016.
Whilst plain grey or black men’s socks are still the accepted style to wear with business suits, a move towards “smart casual” for many modern professionals has meant more freedom in the sock drawer as well.
Socks are definitely here to stay and can serve many more purposes than simply keeping feet warm and comfortable.
Provided by Corgi Hosiery