Knock your socks off
They’re just something you put on so that your shoes don’t rub, right? Not any more, says writer and stylist Lucy Walker.
who would pay R900 for socks? Nine. Hundred. Rand. For a pair of socks? Well, the answer is 500 people in just one week, according to the luxury shopping website NetA-porter. (In case you’re wondering, the socks in question were by cult French brand Vetements). Of course, this is a crazy sum to spend on a functional accessory, but statement socks are having a big moment – and for many of us, they can be an affordable entry point into the world of designer brands, giving us a little hit of Vetements, Gucci or Miu Miu, even if the rest of the outfit is H&M, Zara or Mr Price.
When it comes to making fashion statements, I generally prefer quiet luxury to loud logos, quirky bags and attention-grabbing heels. Nevertheless, I dipped a toe into the statement sock trend via coloured fishnets (a big trend), and I liked how they made me feel a bit edgier.
Encouraged by that small step, I decided to go big with a Gucci pair in sporty white cotton. (If you don’t want to go designer, there are plenty of options at Topshop, Cotton On and Woolworths among others).
What initially struck me was the need to flip the way I thought about socks. Instead of putting them on as an afterthought, they suddenly became the starting point for my entire outfit. And that often involved a process of trial and error. I had planned to wear them with cropped trousers, for example, but I soon discovered that the combination of socks and cropped trousers made for a seriously leg-shortening effect.
Eventually, I settled on a smart shirt, which kept the look from venturing too far into athleisure; a denim skirt, to show off the socks; heels, to elongate my legs; and a luxe bag in a bright colour, to tie the look together. As I discovered, statement socks really are transformative. Without them, my outfit would have been fairly conventional.
Similarly, you could team socks with a form-fitting dress, retro skirt and blouse or even a suit, which would instantly take a two-piece from the office into cooler territory.
All in all, that’s a pretty small investment for a whole new attitude. Unless, of course, you were one of those 500 people who spent R900 on the Vetements version!
“Statement socks really are truly transformative. Without them, my outfit would have been fairly conventional.”