Hanes Crew Socks
As I’ve gotten older and my style has matured, I’ve found that my choices in socks have become really basic. For dress trousers and chinos, I usually wear solid navy over-the-calf socks made from either cotton or wool blends (cotton if it’s hot; wool otherwise). I really like the ones from Marcoliani and Dapper Classics, but Bresciani is also nice (though, from my experience, some of their patterned socks are a bit more delicate than other brands’). For something more affordable, you can get Pantherellas at 35-40% off using one of Sierra Trading Post’s DealFlyer coupons, or just pick up some basic Gold Toes.
Dress socks are a bit strange to wear with jeans though, so for those times, I wear simple, grey, cotton crew socks. In the past, I’ve bought mine from Uniqlo and Land’s End. I like Uniqlo’s slightly more “retro” designs, but like Jesse, have found Land’s End to hold up a bit better (Uniqlo’s are cheaper, but they tend to fuzz up in the wash).
On a whim earlier this year, I picked up some of these basic grey crew socks from Hanes. They often run 25%-off promotional specials if you buy over a certain amount, which made these socks, coupled with some much needed white Beefy Tees, cheap enough to try.
I’ve been wearing them pretty hard and consistently this past summer, and I’m really impressed with how well they’ve held up. No fuzzing, no loss in elasticity, and they stay up on my leg for the most part throughout the day. Best of all, they cost less than $2 a pair. These are nice affordable basics in the most reasonable definition of affordable. That’s much appreciated given how expensive other “affordable basics” are nowadays.

Hanes Crew Socks

As I’ve gotten older and my style has matured, I’ve found that my choices in socks have become really basic. For dress trousers and chinos, I usually wear solid navy over-the-calf socks made from either cotton or wool blends (cotton if it’s hot; wool otherwise). I really like the ones from Marcoliani and Dapper Classics, but Bresciani is also nice (though, from my experience, some of their patterned socks are a bit more delicate than other brands’). For something more affordable, you can get Pantherellas at 35-40% off using one of Sierra Trading Post’s DealFlyer coupons, or just pick up some basic Gold Toes.

Dress socks are a bit strange to wear with jeans though, so for those times, I wear simple, grey, cotton crew socks. In the past, I’ve bought mine from Uniqlo and Land’s End. I like Uniqlo’s slightly more “retro” designs, but like Jesse, have found Land’s End to hold up a bit better (Uniqlo’s are cheaper, but they tend to fuzz up in the wash).

On a whim earlier this year, I picked up some of these basic grey crew socks from Hanes. They often run 25%-off promotional specials if you buy over a certain amount, which made these socks, coupled with some much needed white Beefy Tees, cheap enough to try.

I’ve been wearing them pretty hard and consistently this past summer, and I’m really impressed with how well they’ve held up. No fuzzing, no loss in elasticity, and they stay up on my leg for the most part throughout the day. Best of all, they cost less than $2 a pair. These are nice affordable basics in the most reasonable definition of affordable. That’s much appreciated given how expensive other “affordable basics” are nowadays.

Sierra Trading Post: What To Buy

The online discounter Sierra Trading Post mostly sells outdoor gear. If you need a sleeping bag or a performance fleece at a discounted price, they’re your #1 source. Oddly, though, they also care a smattering of high-end menswear items. They’re not in the catalogs they send out, and they don’t have a special section on the website. You have to know what to look for. If you do know, though, you can find some great stuff.

What can you buy at Sierra Trading Post?

  • Isaia suits & sportcoats. One of the best Italian ready-to-wear brands often closes out stock at STP. Find suits and sportcoats for about $1000, and sometimes as little as $500.
  • Bill’s Khakis. The trads love Bill’s because their quality is consistently superb, but at retail, they’re expensive. Stack a few discounts at STP, and you can get their M3 fit (which is their slimmest, but isn’t that slim) for as little as $50-75.
  • Johnston’s of Elgin cashmere. One of the few reputable cashmere-goods makers left clears out tons of sweaters and accessories at significant discounts. Use coupons judiciously and sweaters will end up under $200. Scarves, gloves and other accessories sometimes dip as low as $20 or $30.
  • Pantherella socks. Want to buy fancy socks but don’t want to pay fancy prices? Play your cards right, and you can get these English-made socks for about $8 a pair. Sometimes even less.
  • Derek Rose pajamas. It’s tough to find good pajamas. These guys retail for about $200-250 a set, but with some couponing, you can get them for under a hundred at STP.
  • Tricker’s shoes and boots. Tricker’s might be the world’s top brand of country footwear, but they’re expensive. With coupons, you can grab a pair for about $300.

One note: using Sierra Trading Post to the fullest can be a bit tricky. Sales at STP stack with coupons, which are sent out daily if you sign up for their DealFlyer service. Coupons typically range from 10-15% off to as much as 35% off with free shipping. Sign up for DealFlyer, and your patience will be rewarded.

We Got It For Free: Dapper Classics Socks

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that one of our readers founded Dapper Classics, a company dedicated to supplying men with high-quality over-the-calf socks. Over-the-calfs, as you may know, have the advantage of not slipping down your leg over the course of a day, so your pale, bare calves won’t be exposed when you sit down. That’s one of the quickest ways to ruin a well-tailored look, in my opinion. Mid-calf socks are acceptable with jeans, and no-show socks are fine with shorts, but with anything like a coat and tie, there should be no other option but over-the-calf.

Harry, the company’s founder, sent me a few of their solid navy socks and one pin dot. All were made in North Carolina by a third-generation, family owned mill. A nice distinction for those who care about American made goods, but I was mostly concerned about their products’ construction. On the one hand, 65% of their socks’ fabric is made from mercerized cotton; which is good. Mercerization is a chemical process that increases cotton’s luster, strength, affinity to dye, and resistance to mildew. On the other, the rest of the materials are synthetic – mostly spandex, but also a little bit of nylon. Some synthetic material is necessary for socks to retain their shape, but over a certain point, they can become less durable. Not so, at least for the time being, with Dapper Classics. I’ve worn and put these through the wash about ten times, which is more than the number of times in took for my Gold Toes to start breaking around the cuffs. These Dapper Classics, however, look as good as the day they arrived. 

The real advantage, however, is in how cool they wear. Dapper Classic’s socks are made on a 188-needle machine, which makes them nicely thin and smooth. The weave also feels quite open, so much so that if you spread your toes and wiggle your feet, you can feel the air whiffing through. These seem to be more breathable than the cotton socks I’ve worn from current leading brands, such as Marcoliani, Bresciani, and Pantherella. They’re also quite comfortable around the calves, which is the main reason why I’ve avoided Gold Toe. Those come in at about $5 a pair, which is considerably less than the ~$25 that Marcoliani and Bresciani charge, but they put a deathly grip on my legs and leave them itchy at the end of the day. 

My only gripe with Dapper Classics that their pin dots aren’t as well made as they could be. After a few washes, the dots started to fuzz. I’ve found this to happen on some of my other pin dots as well, namely those from Pantherella. In fact, Marcoliani’s pin dots are the only ones I’ve found to hold up well over time. For what it’s worth, however, Harry at Dapper Classics tells me they’re aware of this problem and are working with the manufacturer to fix it. This is a young company, after all, just two months old, so a few bumps on the road are to be expected.

Dapper Classics sells their socks for an even $20, with free shipping included. That’s a few bucks less than the current leading brands, and are seemingly just as respectable in quality. As I said, they also have the advantage of wearing cooler, which can be a blessing for men who are prone to getting sweaty feet on hot days. Harry says they’re also working on a 80/20 merino wool range that will retail around $22. It’s nice when I’m able to recommend something on its quality, and not just price, but it’s best when I can recommend something because of both. I’m rather pleased to say that I’m able to do that here. 

Over-the-Calf Socks
A reader emailed us yesterday about a new over-the-calf socks company he’s starting, and his message reminded me of this photo of Yale’s swim team in 1941. Of the four students pictured, two are shown wearing what seems to be over-the-calf socks, and one is clearly not. 
Over-the-calf socks are superior in that they stay up on your leg. Mid-calfs or anything shorter, on the other hand, get pushed down throughout the day as you walk, sit down, or otherwise move around. With dress trousers or even chinos, I recommend over-the-calfs for precisely the reason you see above. Even if you’re not sitting on the grass as this Yale student is doing, your pale, hairy legs can be exposed when you simply cross your legs or sit down on a chair. It really ruins an otherwise sharp look, in my opinion. 
For the moment, I recommend Marcoliani and Bresciani over-the-calfs, which you can buy though Kabbaz-Kelly, Howard Yount, and A Suitable Wardrobe. If you’re in San Francisco, I also recommend The Hound, who sell them for a couple dollars less than what you can find online. At $22-35 a pair or so, however, they’re pretty expensive. I’ve mostly phased my purchases over time - purchasing them whenever I get the urge to buy something, but not wanting to waste money on impulse buys. 
Less expensive are Pantherella and Gold Toe. The first is decent, but the second less so. I’ve found my Gold Toes to be considerably less comfortable and durable, but at least they’re priced accordingly. 
Anyway, the reader said his new company aims at making something that competes with Pantherella in terms of price, but exceeds them in terms of quality. He’s sending me a few pairs to check out, so I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Over-the-Calf Socks

A reader emailed us yesterday about a new over-the-calf socks company he’s starting, and his message reminded me of this photo of Yale’s swim team in 1941. Of the four students pictured, two are shown wearing what seems to be over-the-calf socks, and one is clearly not. 

Over-the-calf socks are superior in that they stay up on your leg. Mid-calfs or anything shorter, on the other hand, get pushed down throughout the day as you walk, sit down, or otherwise move around. With dress trousers or even chinos, I recommend over-the-calfs for precisely the reason you see above. Even if you’re not sitting on the grass as this Yale student is doing, your pale, hairy legs can be exposed when you simply cross your legs or sit down on a chair. It really ruins an otherwise sharp look, in my opinion. 

For the moment, I recommend Marcoliani and Bresciani over-the-calfs, which you can buy though Kabbaz-Kelly, Howard Yount, and A Suitable Wardrobe. If you’re in San Francisco, I also recommend The Hound, who sell them for a couple dollars less than what you can find online. At $22-35 a pair or so, however, they’re pretty expensive. I’ve mostly phased my purchases over time - purchasing them whenever I get the urge to buy something, but not wanting to waste money on impulse buys. 

Less expensive are Pantherella and Gold Toe. The first is decent, but the second less so. I’ve found my Gold Toes to be considerably less comfortable and durable, but at least they’re priced accordingly. 

Anyway, the reader said his new company aims at making something that competes with Pantherella in terms of price, but exceeds them in terms of quality. He’s sending me a few pairs to check out, so I’ll let you know how it goes. 

(via menoftheivyleague-deactivated20)

Some New Navy Socks

I recently picked up some over-the-calf navy socks from Kabbaz-Kelly & Sons and The Hound Clothiers. Navy, as you’ve read a dozen times by now, is the easiest color to wear, and that holds equally true for socks as it does for sport coats. You can wear these with almost any color of trousers and not give the matter too much thought in the morning.

I can only think of a few exceptions. Sometimes, lighter colored trousers, such as tan or light grey, seem to pair better with similarly colored socks or at least something that matches the day’s shoes. For example, last week I wore a navy wool sport coat, light blue shirt made from an end-on-end cloth, sand linen trousers, and a pair of dark brown derbies. Navy socks here made the trousers look a little lost for some reason, so I put on a pair of dark brown socks and things looked a bit more balanced. 

For some bit of a visual interest, a few of my socks feature subtle, conservative patterns. Above are pin dots and herringbones by Marcoliani, and a pair of “slash fashion herringbone” by Bresciani. Marcoliani’s herringbone borders on slightly too bright, but I think they still work with slightly more casual ensembles. The others are dark and subtle enough that they could work with almost anything except a business suit. I wear these under dark olive glen plaid, charcoal windowpane, and plain mid-grey flannel trousers. I think they’re a nice way to have fun with your socks without crossing over into wacky.

If you’re on the market for such dress socks, I highly recommend Marcoliani and Bresciani. They’re a bit expensive, but from my experience, also the best made anywhere. A more affordable alternative is Pantherella, which comes up on Gilt and Sierra Trading Post for about $7-12 a pair every so often. Just make sure you get over-the-calf versions. They don’t slip down, so they’ll never expose your bare, pale calves when you sit down or cross your legs. That, in my opinion, should always be a requirement of dress socks. 

Sierra Trading Post
There are some really good sales right now at Sierra Trading Post. Once you sign up for their DealFlyer newsletter, you’ll be notified of their daily coupons. Lately, they’ve been offering 35% off your whole order, as well as free shipping if you spend more than $100. That gives the following deals:
Derek Rose pajamas: Excellent pajamas available in multiple designs and colors. Starting price is $78. A bit expensive, to be sure, but Derek Rose is one of the better makers out there. 
Falke and Pantherella socks: Two top-tier hosiery manufacturers, though Pantherella’s quality has taken a dive in recent years. Still, you can get over-the-calf wool socks for about $5 right now, which makes this one of the best deals I’ve seen on socks. 
Johnstons of Elgin scarves and throws: Johnstons of Elgin is a 200+ year old manufacturer of woolen and cashmere goods. They’re not as nice as Colombo or Begg, but they’re very good and much more affordable. Johnstons’ cashmere scarves can be had right now for $39, while their lambswool scarves are $13. At those prices, these are a real steal. 
Tretorn sneakers: These aren’t the Nylites that the menswear bloggerotti have been wearing, but I could see this model still working very well for fall. For $45, it’s not bad. They also have other styles for as little as $26. 
Smartwool baselayers: Smartwool makes some of the best garments for cold weather. If you live in a cold climate, it may be wise to get a few of their baselayers and socks before winter arrives. They’re not the most stylish, but since they’re worn under your garments, they’re also not seen. I even recommend wearing them at home to save money on your heating bill. 
Trickers shoes: Trickers are a bit too rounded for my taste, but they’re quite popular among men’s style enthusiasts. Of the ones available at Sierra Trading Post right now, I like this boot the most, and the extra discount brings it down to $316. 
Bill’s Khakis M3 pants: Bill’s Khakis look a bit frumpy online, but I assure you they’re excellent. The M3 is their slimmest model, but it may need some tapering once you get them. That job should run you about $20, but when the chinos themselves cost $52, these are still a great deal.

Sierra Trading Post

There are some really good sales right now at Sierra Trading Post. Once you sign up for their DealFlyer newsletter, you’ll be notified of their daily coupons. Lately, they’ve been offering 35% off your whole order, as well as free shipping if you spend more than $100. That gives the following deals:

  • Derek Rose pajamas: Excellent pajamas available in multiple designs and colors. Starting price is $78. A bit expensive, to be sure, but Derek Rose is one of the better makers out there.
  • Falke and Pantherella socks: Two top-tier hosiery manufacturers, though Pantherella’s quality has taken a dive in recent years. Still, you can get over-the-calf wool socks for about $5 right now, which makes this one of the best deals I’ve seen on socks.
  • Johnstons of Elgin scarves and throws: Johnstons of Elgin is a 200+ year old manufacturer of woolen and cashmere goods. They’re not as nice as Colombo or Begg, but they’re very good and much more affordable. Johnstons’ cashmere scarves can be had right now for $39, while their lambswool scarves are $13. At those prices, these are a real steal.
  • Tretorn sneakers: These aren’t the Nylites that the menswear bloggerotti have been wearing, but I could see this model still working very well for fall. For $45, it’s not bad. They also have other styles for as little as $26.
  • Smartwool baselayers: Smartwool makes some of the best garments for cold weather. If you live in a cold climate, it may be wise to get a few of their baselayers and socks before winter arrives. They’re not the most stylish, but since they’re worn under your garments, they’re also not seen. I even recommend wearing them at home to save money on your heating bill.
  • Trickers shoes: Trickers are a bit too rounded for my taste, but they’re quite popular among men’s style enthusiasts. Of the ones available at Sierra Trading Post right now, I like this boot the most, and the extra discount brings it down to $316. 
  • Bill’s Khakis M3 pants: Bill’s Khakis look a bit frumpy online, but I assure you they’re excellent. The M3 is their slimmest model, but it may need some tapering once you get them. That job should run you about $20, but when the chinos themselves cost $52, these are still a great deal.

Pantherella socks have been restocked at Sierra Trading Post. Add a DealFlyer coupon, and the price ends up at about $7.50 a pair. Mostly size “Regular” (fits up to size 11 feet).