Snazzy Socks / by Teal Hall

Sometimes the best parts of our outfits are the small details we put in to pull the whole look together: cute sunglasses, gold hoop earrings, a black velvet choker, a well-worn brown belt, or a patch or two on a denim jacket. Accessories like these top it all off. The list extends well beyond that, and the ways to spruce up an outfit are infinite. However, there’s a new fad to consider when deciding on your look for the day, and it’s one you know oh so well–-socks!

A stroll down a crowded street in a college city or a scroll through Instagram will yield several sightings of people wearing their decorative socks proudly. Girls with their black jeans rolled up to their calves to show off the tall socks they’re wearing that display an imitation of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting, “Starry Night,” bright yellow socks with small bunches of sweet flowers patterned all over them, and socks that have Frida Kahlo’s portrait staring stoically out at you, their background a bright blue that pairs well with the blue converse worn over them. You might even see socks embellished with characters from television shows and movies worn as an integral part of an outfit. More than once I’ve seen the visage of Linda Belcher from “Bob’s Burgers” peeking out from the end of someone’s pants, and every time I’ve been intrigued.

These quirky socks are most commonly worn with cuffed or rolled jeans, but can be worn with a load of other items too, like skirts, shorts, or capris–anything that allows them the leg space to be shown off to the world. They are usually paired with sneakers, as boots are too high and other styles of shoes don’t look their smartest when paired with long, stylized socks. While this accessory does seem to work best with specific styles of outfits, they are certainly a fun way to spruce up casual attire and create a whole, overarching look.

Is your outfit lacking something, but you have to rush to class in ten minutes and don’t have the time to figure out what? Find a pair of socks that match the color of something you’re already wearing–a shirt, jacket, scarf, etc.–and roll those bad boys on. What you’ll end up with is an effortless look that will appear thought out and methodical to everybody else! Like so many accessories, adding socks is a quick and easy way to make yourself look more put together than you might feel on any given day.

Socks like this are popping up all over the place at an increasing speed as the trend takes on a life of its own. Often local museums feature them in gift shops, proudly displaying socks that are designed to show off famous art pieces or artists. Even stores like Forever 21 have tall, quirky socks embellished with red hearts brandished with the words “Not Your Princess.” Right alongside that pair is another that have pastel green succulents patterned all over them.

The beloved Boston store Newbury Comics has a whole load of quirky socks like these for sale. Newbury Comics carries several different brands of stylistic socks, their most distinct being Blue Q. Blue Q is a company that sells socks of various designs and styles as well as other items like reusable bags, pencil pouches, and dish towels among other home goods. One of their pairs of socks is black, orange, and brown and features small, stitched cats roaming around next to words that loudly exclaim, “Cats! Caats!” Most of their socks often contain crude or nihilistic messages, with one of their most iconic pairs featuring a beautifully stitched, vintage-style drawing of a girl shooting an arrow next to the saying, “More feminism, less bullshit.” There are many companies like Blue Q who seek to expand the world’s inventory of artsy socks.

Places like Sock Smith contain a variety of foot fashion. From socks collaged with bright green avocados to socks that show the original logo for Absinthe Robette of a girl in a long, white dress, her red hair flowing wildly as she pours herself a glass of Absinthe. Sock Smith carries such a large collection that just about anybody could find something that suits them. For the people who don’t know exactly what they want out of this accessory, companies like Sock Box or Sock It To Me provide a monthly subscription box that contain stylized socks personalized to every customer’s fashion taste. Sock Box specializes in both “classy” and “crazy” socks, offering their customers a choice to pick just one style or a mix of both. Sock It To Me offers exclusive socks that are specific to that month, a guarantee that you are getting your money’s worth for truly unique designs that none of your other friends will have. This box also offers choices for different cuts including knee length, quarter length, and ankle length among several more. If you wish to delve into this realm of socks, companies like these make sure you will be in no short supply.

This trend of socks is something that’s gained in popularity pretty recently, but that is not to say all socks up until this point have been boring and traditional, with blocks of color only accenting the toes and heel. Funny, quirky socks like these have been made for years, and there has always been an art for beautiful, well-made socks. It’s only now that they’re starting to attract attention and garner a market. People are deciding to make socks distinct focal points of their outfits, rather than just throwing them on and hiding them under shoes all day. It’s a small part of an outfit, sure, but if shown off, socks can be just as cute as any other article of clothing.

Photo by: Rishona Kumar