It’s on Sale: Bresciani Over-the-Calf Socks at Mr. Porter

Nothing gets holiday shoppers revved up like HOT SOCK DEALS. Over the calf socks from Bresciani are among the many items on sale at Mr. Porter right now. I enjoy browsing the big ticket items during Porter’s seasonal sales (act fast: only a couple Brioni shearling fishtail parkas left) but the stuff that ends up in my cart tends to be smaller bore but not regularly discounted—good socks and underwear; belts and basic sweaters. Over the calf socks are not as easy to find as you might think, and they do indeed stay up, so even with a Thom Browne trouser break you won’t be exposing wrinkled socks or your unsightly calves. No sock garters required. I have a few pairs of Bresciani socks, which are made in Bergamo in Northern Italy, and they are at least on par with makers like Pantherella. You can also find a nice selection of Bresciani socks at A Suitable Wardrobe.

-Pete

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.

Four Socks for Summer

For much of the year, I rely on navy wool over-the-calf socks. As many readers will know, I favor over-the-calfs because they stay up on your leg, thus ensuring your bare calves won’t be exposed when you sit down. I also find navy is a slightly more interesting color than black, and can be successfully paired with almost any kind of trouser.

In the summer months, however, long wool socks can wear a bit too warm, so I turn to other options. The first are still navy over-the-calfs, but instead of wool, I’ve come to really appreciate the highly breathable cotton ones sold by Dapper Classics. They sent me a few pairs for free last year and I’m really pleased with how well they’ve held up. Like with many high-end socks, however, I’ve found that solid colors hold up much better than patterns. For whatever reason, high end patterned socks seem to fuzz up and fall apart more easily in the wash. Still, their solid navy is made with a very durable, breathable weave, and you can feel the air whiff by when you put these on and wiggle your feet.

Another popular option is no-show socks, which Jesse has written about before. They’re essentially a short cotton sock that allows you get the look of being sockless without actually having to be so. In addition to the ones Jesse named, 2(x)ist also just released a collection of no-show socks. I have no experience with them, though I’m told they have a rubber grip at the heel that helps prevent slippage. Jesse also reviewed the Mocc Socks he named in his original article, and liked them.

I tried no-show socks a couple of years ago and sadly found they just didn’t work for me. Mine had rubber grips as well, but they still kept slipping off. So I’ve turned to terry cloth insoles from Aldos, which you can slip into your shoes whenever you want to go sockless. If your feet get sweaty easily, sprinkle in a little Gold Bond powder to keep them cool and dry. 

Finally, summer being what it is, I like to wear sneakers a bit more often on the weekends. Dress socks are a bit weird with sneakers, so I pair mine with more casual cotton socks. Like Jesse, mine are from Lands’ End and Uniqlo. I’ve found the ones from Lands’ End hold up a bit better, though I like Uniqlo’s designs (mine are these in grey). Get whichever ones you like best, though I recommend staying away from the white ones. Those just look too much like athletic tube socks, which in my opinion, should be worn only when you’re exercising.  

Unsolicited Endorsement: Lands’ End Crew Socks
When I’m wearing sneakers, I prefer not to wear white socks. Sure, I’ll wear Costco Champion athletic socks for actual athletics (even I exercise sometimes), but when I’m wearing jeans, I prefer something with some color. I haven’t found a better ratio of price to quality in that department than Lands’ End.
Lands’ End crew socks are thick enough to feel right with my trainers. They’re reasonably priced ($13.30 for two pair, currently). They come in a bunch of colors (I favor burgundy, navy and red). They’re mostly cotton, with enough synthetic to help them hold their color, shape and comfort after many washes. They’re just a solid performer. I’ve got a few pairs of similar socks from Uniqlo, and the Lands’ End model puts them to shame.
So: consider the Lands’ End cotton crew sock ENDORSED.

Unsolicited Endorsement: Lands’ End Crew Socks

When I’m wearing sneakers, I prefer not to wear white socks. Sure, I’ll wear Costco Champion athletic socks for actual athletics (even I exercise sometimes), but when I’m wearing jeans, I prefer something with some color. I haven’t found a better ratio of price to quality in that department than Lands’ End.

Lands’ End crew socks are thick enough to feel right with my trainers. They’re reasonably priced ($13.30 for two pair, currently). They come in a bunch of colors (I favor burgundy, navy and red). They’re mostly cotton, with enough synthetic to help them hold their color, shape and comfort after many washes. They’re just a solid performer. I’ve got a few pairs of similar socks from Uniqlo, and the Lands’ End model puts them to shame.

So: consider the Lands’ End cotton crew sock ENDORSED.

…You don’t need recursive partitioning if you can find a distribution key (hash key) that provides enough buckets that each bucket is small enough to be processed very quickly. Unfortunately, I don’t think socks have such a property…

Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget: A Black Tie Guide
This portion of our Black Tie Guide dabbles in some luxurious indulgences that some would consider optional. You might not necessarily need them immediately, but consider them things to upgrade as you build your tuxedo ensemble.
Part 5: Hosiery, Sock Garters & Braces
Black tie might be the only time wearing black socks can be considered acceptable. Formal hose should be over-the-calf, as mid-calf socks tend to slouch and expose your bare skin, which looks bad. 
In terms of material, the preference is for silk, which has a sense of refinement and sheen that compliments the silk piping of the trouser and shine of the shoes. 
Socks made of 100% silk do have trouble staying up on their own and can require the use of sock garters. If you’d rather dispense with having to wear those, then you’ll probably opt for the also-cheaper silk socks blended with nylon, which are more common to find.
The cheapest silk socks I’ve found come from Brooks Brothers, for around $40. You can also get pairs from Kabbaz-Kelly & Sons made by Marcoliani and Bresciani, who also have pure 100% silk hose. A Suitable Wardrobe’s Store also has pure silk hose for $55. 
If you need sock garters, then you can either search eBay U.K. or go with Brooks Brothers or Cable Car Clothiers, which has them for $38 and $45, respectively.
In regards to braces (commonly called “suspenders”), these are a great way to keep your trousers up and any pair of pants can have buttons added to the waistband to attach the braces. Remember: proper braces fasten using buttons, not alligator-clips.
Braces should be kept simple and discrete, avoiding the temptation of being flashy with bright colors or patterns (you shouldn’t be removing your jacket anyway). Go for solid black or white. I prefer white as it blends together better with the white shirt, but some might like the contrast of black. 
Braces should also be sized properly so the metal adjusters are on the bottom toward the waist, not high on the chest. 
As for where to buy, braces made by Albert Thurston come highly regarded and they actually seem to be very competitively priced at $75 at A Suitable Wardrobe’s Store in ivory barathea and both black and white moiré. 
The one thing I want to point out about the items mentioned in this part is that they’re probably not necessary for the most basic of tuxedo ensembles. If you pants are sized correctly to your waist, you can forgo braces. Cheaper socks can be found by going with cotton or wool options from the same high-end makers. For instance, Howard Yount carries several black over-the-calf options from their own private-label and from Marcoliani. 
-Kiyoshi

Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget: A Black Tie Guide

This portion of our Black Tie Guide dabbles in some luxurious indulgences that some would consider optional. You might not necessarily need them immediately, but consider them things to upgrade as you build your tuxedo ensemble.

Part 5: Hosiery, Sock Garters & Braces

Black tie might be the only time wearing black socks can be considered acceptable. Formal hose should be over-the-calf, as mid-calf socks tend to slouch and expose your bare skin, which looks bad. 

In terms of material, the preference is for silk, which has a sense of refinement and sheen that compliments the silk piping of the trouser and shine of the shoes. 

Socks made of 100% silk do have trouble staying up on their own and can require the use of sock garters. If you’d rather dispense with having to wear those, then you’ll probably opt for the also-cheaper silk socks blended with nylon, which are more common to find.

The cheapest silk socks I’ve found come from Brooks Brothers, for around $40. You can also get pairs from Kabbaz-Kelly & Sons made by Marcoliani and Bresciani, who also have pure 100% silk hose. A Suitable Wardrobe’s Store also has pure silk hose for $55. 

If you need sock garters, then you can either search eBay U.K. or go with Brooks Brothers or Cable Car Clothiers, which has them for $38 and $45, respectively.

In regards to braces (commonly called “suspenders”), these are a great way to keep your trousers up and any pair of pants can have buttons added to the waistband to attach the braces. Remember: proper braces fasten using buttons, not alligator-clips.

Braces should be kept simple and discrete, avoiding the temptation of being flashy with bright colors or patterns (you shouldn’t be removing your jacket anyway). Go for solid black or white. I prefer white as it blends together better with the white shirt, but some might like the contrast of black. 

Braces should also be sized properly so the metal adjusters are on the bottom toward the waist, not high on the chest. 

As for where to buy, braces made by Albert Thurston come highly regarded and they actually seem to be very competitively priced at $75 at A Suitable Wardrobe’s Store in ivory barathea and both black and white moiré. 

The one thing I want to point out about the items mentioned in this part is that they’re probably not necessary for the most basic of tuxedo ensembles. If you pants are sized correctly to your waist, you can forgo braces. Cheaper socks can be found by going with cotton or wool options from the same high-end makers. For instance, Howard Yount carries several black over-the-calf options from their own private-label and from Marcoliani. 

-Kiyoshi

Ancient Egyptian socks, circa 250-420 AD.

The Romano-Egyptian socks were excavated in the burial grounds of ancient Oxyrhynchus, a Greek colony on the Nile in central Egypt at the end of the 19th century. They were given to the Museum in 1900 by Robert Taylor Esq., ‘Kytes,’ Watford. He was executor of the estate of the late Major Myers and these items were selected among others from a list of textiles as ‘a large number of very useful examples.’

Single-needle knit. Bright red. Amazing. Via The Smithsonian’s Threaded blog.

Ancient Egyptian socks, circa 250-420 AD.

The Romano-Egyptian socks were excavated in the burial grounds of ancient Oxyrhynchus, a Greek colony on the Nile in central Egypt at the end of the 19th century. They were given to the Museum in 1900 by Robert Taylor Esq., ‘Kytes,’ Watford. He was executor of the estate of the late Major Myers and these items were selected among others from a list of textiles as ‘a large number of very useful examples.’

Single-needle knit. Bright red. Amazing. Via The Smithsonian’s Threaded blog.

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. 

(Source: menoftheivyleague)

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.