Regular readers of my blog are probably familiar with my adventures in shopping that involve a lot of research, testing, comparison and disappointment that often sound like a story about Goldilocks.
When some products are too big, others are too small, and over the course of multiple shopping trips, I hope to find the one that is just right.
One such situation these days is my hunt for white socks. All I am looking for is plain, white, mostly cotton, athletic-style socks for very casual situations. Sounds simple, right?
For some reason, manufacturers and buyers for stores don’t seem to be on the same wave length. Plain white socks are hard to find.
For years I was able to find them here in Canada at a well-known store (that shall remain nameless). One day, I bought a pack of three pairs that left me with the impression that they had changed. The answer came a few washings later when the elastics completely gave out and the socks were falling repeatedly. This didn’t happen before. Someone must have changed the “recipe”.
I switched to another brand that was available at that time, which lasted a few years until they discontinued the men’s small size and carried only “one size fits all”.
Whether you wear a large shoe size or a small shoe size (as I do), you know that one-size-fits-all is bull and does not truly fit “all”. When the heel part of the sock is half way up to your calf, or sticking out of your shoe, it’s not fitting “all”.
That is when the real hunt began. What sounded like a simple mission, was not so simple at all.
I don’t know what designers are thinking, but you would think that plain white socks should be simpler to manufacture than the fancy schmancy ones with logos or horizontal stripes around the calf, or colour blocking through the foot of the sock.
When it comes to logos, who cares what brand I am wearing? It’s not like it’s a red carpet moment. If it was a small, discreet, barely visible logo at the top of the sock, it may pass in the absence of other available alternatives, but when logos are on the foot, on the toes or all over the sock, I’m not interested unless someone wants to pay me for being their walking billboard.
Horizontal stripes at the calf remind me of the tube socks I wore in the 1970s. While I don’t judge anyone who chooses to wear them, as a 50-year-old man, I don’t feel comfortable wearing the same styles I wore when I was 10.
Then there was the time I found what I thought were the perfect pairs of plain white socks that met my criteria… until I put them on. The elastic was so tight, it left marks on my calves and shins, plus I got a headache whenever I wore them. I tried washing them with different products hoping that the elastic would eventually loosen up, but these pairs were relentless.
And what’s with this colour blocking thing in recent years? I’ve always been a fan of geometric design, and I often think that geometrics look fresh and modern. But when the bottom half of white socks is grey, or the heel and toe parts are grey, they’re not plain white socks anymore. I admit to buying some, grudgingly, when I wasn’t able to find what I was looking for.
And when I do succeed in finding some that are plain, either they are as long as a pair of pants and marked “one size fits all”, have massive seams in the toe area that will make wearing socks a painful ordeal or contain a high content of synthetic fibres. It’s a personal choice, but I prefer to avoid synthetics when I can, in the interest of keeping man-made fibres out of the eco-system.
Am I a tough customer? Perhaps. But when you can buy a pair of socks pretty much anywhere, isn’t the marketplace large enough to have room for all types of socks, including plain ones?
It’s sad that plain white socks are perpetually on my shopping list, simply because they are so hard to find.
Even though I have fully embraced the trend of colourful, patterned dress socks, I do like to balance it out with plain ones, for the times when I don’t need my socks to scream “look at me!”
I hope that designers, manufacturers and store buyers will come to realize that that there is a market for plain white cotton socks in a range of sizes, and I hope that stores will start carrying them again very soon.
In the meantime, it will be the same Goldilocks routine for me as I peruse the sock section, looking for the ones that are “just right”.
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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
3 responses to “Goldilocks and the White Socks”
Now that you mention it, finding plain white socks is tough these days! I’ve basically given up on this and just buy whatever coloured socks work for my budget/style.
It sure would be nice to have more white socks out there, though. I wonder why they fell out of fashion?
Thanks very much reading and for your comment!
It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who wonders what happened to white socks.
I hope it’s just a trend and the pendulum will eventually swing back for stores to offer them again.
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