Sock it to me!
November 23, 2016 10:21 AM   Subscribe

I'm tired of sorting all black socks. My default outfit (NYC) includes black slacks and some sort of solid or multicolored top, and black shoes/boots. But the socks are black, right? Maybe a subtle pattern, barely discernible? Impossible to sort after doing laundry. Help me rock my socks.

I saw an actor on a late night show who wears mix-matched socks in honor of his brother. That's cool, and maybe I might want to do something like that at a later date, but right now I'm thinking: would it be too weird -- at the age of 63 -- to start wearing brightly colored, patterned socks that have nothing to do with the outfit I'm wearing for fun, and also because ... I am so damn tired of trying to match socks after doing the laundry?

I have ... WAY too many pairs of socks. How many pairs of socks do I need if the laundry is done every two weeks?

And do you have suggestions of where to buy distinctly patterned socks?

I was looking at these but they seem rather expensive.

Another snowflake: I am diabetic so the socks need to be comfortable and not too tight.

Oh, yeah, and I am female.

So ...
*not too costly,
*how many to purchase that will last for two weeks (laundry time)
*where to purchase,
*comfy for diabetes (not too tight at the ankle or toes),
*and do I go flash or muted? Or both!

Thanks you guys. :)
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I love Smartwool socks. They are expensive, but they last, and you don't have to change them everyday(at least I don't) because it's wool and they don't hold on to sweat and stink the same way cotton does. They also come in cool colorful stripes that are not too obnoxious. You could sign up at zappos to get a coupon and order a pair to try. Rei also sell them if you want to check them out in store.
posted by monologish at 10:27 AM on November 23, 2016

would it be too weird -- at the age of 63 -- to start wearing brightly colored, patterned socks that have nothing to do with the outfit I'm wearing for fun

NO, not too weird -- you have my vote for going for it!
posted by suedehead at 10:36 AM on November 23, 2016 [6 favorites]

How do other folks in your profession and social circles dress? Would you really stand out that much with fun socks? And how much ankle do you really see between the black slacks and black shoes? WSJ said crazy/ colorful socks are a fad for dudes that have passed their time, but I say bah to them (as a dude with a drawer full of old, dull black and brown socks, who hasn't bought any new socks because he has too many socks already - but when some wear out, I'll replace them with fun colors, WSJ be darned).

And I'd like to say that women can have more fun with flash and flair in colors, but maybe that's different for your cohorts. And matching your socks to your colorful tops would make your socks an additional pop of color, instead of crazy Hawaiian shirts for your feet, as mentioned in the WSJ article.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:37 AM on November 23, 2016

"would it be too weird -- at the age of 63 -- to start wearing brightly colored, patterned socks that have nothing to do with the outfit I'm wearing for fun"

Life is too short to not wear awesome socks if that's what you want to do. Alternately, you could do what my husband does and buy 15 pairs of the exact same [black] socks and this would also get rid of pairing issues; you could even buy a week of black socks and 8 pairs of fun socks and they'd still be really easy to pair because all the black socks would go together and the fun socks would be obvious for pairing.

I don't know about the tightness-diabetes aspect of my socks, but I second Smartwool, though I feel like the quality is going downhill lately; socks I bought from them five years ago are wearing out at the heel at the same time socks I bought from them last year are. :( Still, wool for comfort and anti-stinky feet. REI also makes decent, slightly cheaper wool socks [actual fabric for all the socks I reference is like 75-80% wool, 20-25% nylon]; I've also heard Bombas and Darn Toughs are good, though fewer fun patterns than Smartwool.

One more thought: given NYC, I'm assuming a mix of boots and flats are in your wardrobe; you may want to get two weeks of knee-height winter socks now, and two weeks of calf or ankle socks later on when it starts warming up again for other seasons where you're not wearing sandals.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 10:46 AM on November 23, 2016

I thought one of the benefits of making it to age 63 was you got to stop worrying about stuff being too weird.
posted by COD at 10:47 AM on November 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

I don't have a professional circle any longer, I am a volunteer.
I don't care what my social circle thinks.
My family will think what they've always thought: Crazy Aunt.
Yeah, you're right I don't know why I threw the "weird" bit in there.
Must be feeling fragile this morning. lol Weird has never worried me before!
Liking Pandora_Koouti's idea - keep easily sorted black socks, buy awesome socks = 2 weeks. :)
Interesting article in the WSJ filthy_light_thief. I didn't have argyles in mind,
I was thinking dots and geometrics. You are thrifty -- I am willing to chuck most of the
maddening black socks, and go for broke on socks that my eyes can easily sort. :)
Thanks to all for positive feedback so far.
Will bow out so as not to threadsit.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 10:56 AM on November 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Check out Marshall's and Ross and the like - discount socks.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 10:57 AM on November 23, 2016

Having fun socks is one of my great pleasures. When you're getting dressed in the morning, and you're not particularly looking forward to the day, it's nice to pick out a pair of colorful socks and smile. Do it.

If you're concerned about making the leap from black to colorful, maybe take an intermediate step with more muted colors. Things like navy blue, forest green, maroon, deep purple, etc. Or maybe black with more colorful stripes. See how you feel with those, and if you like it, you can go further. The upcoming Christmas holiday is also a great excuse for experimenting with socks. Buy a pair of red and green ones, and if you don't like them, you can just say "eh, it was the holiday" and move on without consequence.

I'm a guy, so I don't have many recommendations, but Happy Socks might be something for you to look into.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:00 AM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

You could use David Tennant's solution: black socks with colored heels and toes.

You could also look at socks that are patterned but in subdued colors.

Or you could get packs of argyle socks.

But I think you are also well within your rights as a 63 year-old woman to just say, "Heck with it!" and start wearing striped socks or whatever sorts of socks you want.

I can't speak for any of those brands, by the way. I'm just offering them as ideas.

As for your other questions: I would have 21 pairs of socks if you want to do laundry every two weeks. This gives you a bit of wiggle room if you don't do laundry exactly every 14 days. I buy most of my socks at Target, because they're cheap but the cotton is usually decent quality. Because of Black Friday, this weekend won't be a good time for shopping, but you could go another weekend and just look around at their sock selection and see if anything catches your eye.
posted by colfax at 11:09 AM on November 23, 2016

Amazon has a lot of socks that are pretty and reasonably-priced. A basic search for "women socks multi" provides gems like these many assorted 6-packs of stripes, or these cats, and this woolier stripe option.
posted by aimedwander at 11:11 AM on November 23, 2016

The title of your post, is exactly the name of the company I recommend for fun socks. Amazon stocks them so if you just search "Sock It To Me Women's Socks" you will find all manner of fun, colorful socks with sloths, unicorns, octopus etc. They have various styles from ankle socks to knee socks. I find them very comfortable, but you should, of course, probably try one first to make sure it works for you.

When I was a lighting technician we wore lots and lots of black. Black shirts, black pants, etc. Fun and colorful socks were a wonderful way to be an individual in a colorless crowd, even if no one but me saw them. My favorite pair currently, are my Grackle Pattern socks that I received as a thank you gift for donating to Austin's public radio station ( if you've ever been to Austin and seen the overpopulation of the Grackles there, you'll understand the humor of grackle socks).
posted by WalkerWestridge at 11:38 AM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

not really what you're looking for, i guess, but one solution to the mess of black socks is to throw everything away and buy a pile of new, identical black socks. you don't need to sort them because they're all the same. this is what i do - i keep wearing the same batch until i have to throw a bunch away, and then i start anew. the only problem is if people buy you socks as a present. but socks as a present suck anyway.

(sure, you can wear brightly coloured socks at 64, but i'd rather have my bright colours visible and i don't want to be all bright colours).
posted by andrewcooke at 11:45 AM on November 23, 2016

I buy fun, cheap socks at Target -- they sell fun patterned "knee socks" that would probably pull up to the knees on a very slender-legged person, but on me they end up being crew length (between ankle and mid-shin), slightly cuffed so the top doesn't cut into my leg. They run about $2.50 per pair, and some of the ones I've had the longest (5-6 years) and loved the hardest are just now starting to grow holes in the heels. They also carry socks in colorful patterns and designs in crew length, slightly more expensive, often sold in packages of 3 for like $10 or so. They're soft, they last a pretty decent length of time for the price, and sometimes they're pretty whimsical, like the gray socks I just bought recently that had a honey bear and the word "hi" written in cursive honey along the ankle area. Or the socks that had fencing foxes on them.

And I say go for whatever feels comfortable and makes you smile when you wear them. Who gives a sweet rat's patoot if anyone else likes them? These are for you. Go nuts!
posted by palomar at 11:46 AM on November 23, 2016

Sock Dreams ! They tend to have good descriptions of their products (including stretch and measurements), plus helpful staff, and they accept returns (with caveats).
posted by esoterrica at 12:04 PM on November 23, 2016

I just put a bunch of socks from the Sock Drawer in the cart (have not committed to purchase yet) they have a pretty great collection!
posted by supermedusa at 12:24 PM on November 23, 2016

I have been known for my crazy sock patterns. I love colorful socks!! I easily had 100+ pairs. But then i finally got to the end of my patience with sorting them all. So i found 3 sock patterns i loved and bought them in bulk from Aliexpress because i'm cheap, any place that you can buy pairs of identical socks in bulk (10+ identical pairs at a time is what i get ) will work. So now i effectively only have 3 crazy designs i rotate through, and sorting is a breeze.
posted by cgg at 12:32 PM on November 23, 2016

Consider buying multiple pairs of the same pattern (or a related series). (Or am I the only one with a sock gremlin in the house who keep stealing exactly one sock from each pair of socks)?

When I can find them small enough, I find that men's socks tend to be cut more generously in the calf than women's socks.
posted by oceano at 12:52 PM on November 23, 2016

Maybe I'm missing something, but...If you're willing to wear obviously mismatched socks...and you don't have anybody to impress like a fancy office job...and all of your current socks are BASICALLY identical with only subtle distinctions...why the hell are you sorting them to begin with?????? Just put them in a basket and pick two every morning. No one will notice or care if they are two slightly different shades or one has a pattern and one doesn't. I mean get some fun socks for sure if you want but you don't have to sort socks if you don't want to. Eff the man.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:09 PM on November 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

I absolutely love love love it when men wear bright socks. Highly support this plan. A person at my old work did this and every single day people got excited to see what socks they had on, it was sweet.
Agree that buying 2 sets of each pair will make your life easier. And having a designated place to keep clean socks that got separated in the wash (mine live with my neckties). I always pull them out when I sort socks, and if any specific sock has been alone in there too long and I can't create a good mismatched pair with it, I turn the loner into a dust rag.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:27 PM on November 23, 2016

I am a huge fan of brightly colored, patterned socks (female, early 40's). It is one of my small pleasures. Honestly, I find them easier to sort then 20 pairs of the same white or black, because I don't own more than one pair in each bright pattern. I found that pairing same color socks was harder for me, as I obsessed over the wear and whether the threads in the toe box were the same color.

So i say go for it. I order most of my socks from Foot Traffic and I've been happy with the quality of the knee length trouser style socks. (Mobile device is refusing to allow me to link to the site).
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 4:09 PM on November 23, 2016

Colorful and/or patterned socks are delightful--wearing a good paisley, argyle, or fairisle pair always cheers me up. Target, Old Navy, and H&M usually have fun, cheap cotton-mix ones, and Smartwool and b.ella are nice brands for higher-quality wool and/or cashmere socks. Sierra Trading Post is a good place to get the nicer stuff on clearance (more limited selection than Sock Dreams etc. though), and I've also found Smartwools for a good price at Nordstrom Rack.
posted by karayel at 5:16 PM on November 23, 2016

TJ Maxx has some great socks- they're inexpensive as well!
posted by Kobayashi Maru at 1:29 PM on December 1, 2016

Truly these were all great, positive and helpful answers!
I am the proud owner of some cool, striped and geometric
socks, and have kept some plain black socks that don't have to be
"matched" -- so I now have a goodly number of socks,
but I'm not on overload.

Thanks to all who answered for ideas, links, much needed
math (lol) and enthusiastic "go for it" responses.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 8:13 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

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