When I’m not working for the man, or on the blog, I occasionally find the time to read real life proper physical publications. My literature of choice tends to be centred around the common themes of menswear and music, preferably written in a style that I find to be both informative and mildly amusing. This book by Mitchel Beazley entitled ‘Socks – The Rule Book’ is certainly not the latter. However, any blokes who appreciate well-made hosiery (which is most these days) will find this book contains some useful tips on how to care for them as if they were your first born.
Brought to you by the guys behind the Sock Club London collective, the tagline tells you what you can expect in no un-certain terms; ‘1O essential rules for the wearing and appreciation of men’s hosiery’, with each rule representing following chapter titles:
- Rule 1 – Socks Must Be Worn
- Rule 2 – Care For Your Socks
- Rule 3 – Use Your Socks To Blend In Or Stand Out
- Rule 4 – Sock Coverage: How Much To Expose or to Hide
- Rule 5 – Plain, Patterned and Printed Sock Wearing
- Rule 6 – White Socks
- Rule 7 – Socks and Sandals
- Rule 8 – Socks for all Seasons
- Rule 9 – Socks, Travel with Care
- Rule 10 – Sock Game
The books bold, structured layout is custom-made for my sporadic half-asleep reading habits and each chapter is broken down into modest sections of easy to read copy, featuring a plentiful supply of colourful sock-style photography. Also, at mere 112 pages in length it’s well suited to those who share my capacity for taking ages to finish reading anything.
The introduction offers a brief foray into the history of the sock, its anatomy and also sets the tone of the book whereby the author repeatedly attempts to crowbar in playful humour at what seems like every opportunity. Now if you’re a regular reader of this blog you will be aware I’m not adverse this (there’s an example), but this does become increasingly tiresome after a few chapters. Nevertheless, look beyond this and you will find some interesting content, such as why Bamboo fibre is used during the manufacturing of certain socks (something I was completely unaware of):
”When cared for properly, Bamboo is a vert soft and breathable fabric, with the added advantage of being naturally odour repellant and antibacterial. Bamboo also has thermal regulating properties, thus helping to keep your feet warm in the colder seasons and cool in the warmer seasons.”
You will find number of practical step-by-step guides detailed in the book, such as ‘how to hand-wash your wool or cashmere socks’ and ‘how to darn (the posh word for repair) your socks using an everyday light bulb’. Although a diagram of the later would have been useful as I struggled to follow the stitching instructions provided. What’s more, there’s a smart little feature on how to expertly pin-roll your denim (something I repeatedly fail at) to best exhibit your snazzy sock game.
Despite much of the books content comprising of information most sock connoisseurs will probably already know, there remains some worthwhile points; such as a comprehensive round-up of the varying types of patterned socks (fairisle or herringbone etc) and what footwear, trouser or denim choice best compliments them.
As previously touched upon, the book is loaded with great pictures and whilst flicking through I found myself asking myself which brands corresponded with the images. Thankfully, the author thought likewise and has included a fantastic glossary entitled ‘The Sock List’, which provides details of every sock featured, including the page number it can be found on, the manufacturers name and the country where it was produced. In my opinion, this information alone is worth the very reasonable £10.00 price tag.
On the whole if you are considering buying this then you probably already know a thing or two about well-made men’s socks, and I would take a stab in the dark that you’re relatively comfortable with your own sense of style. If that’s the case, then a large proportion of the content may end up informing you of rules you’re already aware of, but probably do not abide by. Therefore, I would suggest this book as a handy companion to pick-up and put down as and when you need a memory jog on the whys and wherefores of sock etiquette.
Alternatively, you could disregard all of the above and just look at the pictures. Either way, there are worse things you could spend a tenner on.