Socks are the new tie
BY FEDELL PRICE
Look at you! She’s actually looking at you.
“She” would be the administrative assistant for the guy who you and everyone else in their nicely tailored grey suits sitting in the lobby are nervously waiting to impress in your interview. This interview isn’t like the Hollister interview you had in high school. You are taking this one a bit more seriously because you recently graduated from college and this is the entry job to your career. The admin’s opinion may not be of value to some, but she is the only one who is looking at the young lads dressed like corporate versions of the backup guys in the “Slim Shady” video. That would mean that y’all are all dressed the same and there is no originality. She has the power to plant the seed to her boss that there is something about you that stands out from all of the other cookie-cutter images vying for the same job. “She” is the gate keeper.
Your confidence is on shaky ground, because even though your tailored suit resembles the other gentlemen’s dark suits, your socks are radically different from their generic, standard fare, black dress socks. The truth behind your element of flamboyance is that you couldn’t find the match to your lone black sock. In the back of your mind, you knew that you should have read that article on “Quantum Theory of Laundry” (however, that’s a story for another day), but, at this point, the only available option you had was to check your roommate’s sock drawer. A quick inspection reveals that, besides a dozen pair of athletic socks like your own inventory, his drawer had only one other pair, a pair with every color in a crayon box except black! And at first glance, they were, frankly, hideous! Which is the reason you felt that this interview would be doomed for failure, and you would never forgive your roommate for being, to quote your words, “childish for not having a pair of black socks I could borrow. I’m stuck looking like a politician from my neck to my feet but my socks have more patterns and colors I can handle.”
The other candidates in the lobby snickered and whispered to each other shaking their heads looking down at your socks.
The secretary, oops, administrative assistant, stood up from her desk, as though a bell had rung in her ear, and as her eyes scrolled down the row of applicants, apparently to pick someone to go in for the next interview. “Mr. Beckham has time for one more candidate before his lunch break, so I’ll pick who can go in to speak with him next?”, she said. The attention of her eyes shifted from head to toe of everyone in the lobby and then she says, “OMG I’m in love with your socks!”. At that point, she obviously realized that her demeanor was heading in an unprofessional direction, she winked in your direction, and without referring to you by name, and for a moment, and again, seemingly forgetting to notice that there was anyone else in the room, asked, “Would you like to go in for the interview?”
Yep, that caught you by surprise! You got the opportunity to go in for the last interview because of the SOCKS that you were in desperation!
Whether it’s RGIII on draft day walking with swag sporting his red and gold Washington’s NFL team–yes, that team, but we are more progressive than to continue to perpetuate a wrong, aren’t we?– socks, or George Bush Sr. always making sure he is wearing a pair of socks that stand out from the rest of his conservative attire. It’s clear to see there is a variety of demographics of guys who rock personality socks.
A friend who worked at a clothier place in Houston said that when he first began working there his fellow employees made fun of him for wearing black Nike socks with formal attire. Honestly, who could blame them? As a man it is essential to understand the do’s and don’t’s when dressing like a true gentlemen. Others might not be bold (see also, odd) enough to wear athletic socks with formal apparel. The others who know better probably wear basic white or black socks with whatever suit they are wearing. That’s fine, if normal speaks for your personality. It seems that for ages, women have expressed that they take particular notice of a man’s shoes to determine his character and competence. Now, it seems that a man’s choice of socks is also informative of his personality.
I spoke with a guy who told me he was given a pair of “crazy socks”, as he called them, as a gift and received plenty of compliments from women when he wore them. He admits that he never thought much of the socks prior to when he wore them, but now he builds his sock collection because he sees them as a conversation starter.
I took it upon myself to visit stores in Houston that carry a good selection of personality socks. I wanted to hear what the sales men at these stores had to say about what I believe to be an overlooked piece in men’s attire. They are not crazy socks, wild socks or funky socks, but rather “personality socks”. These days it’s hard to disagree that “Socks Are The New Tie.”
Follow Fedell Price on Twitter @fedellprice