Socks are perhaps the most banal, yet essential item in the wardrobe. In winter, we cannot live without them – outside, they protect ankles from the icy blast, inside, they are the fleecy backbone of the ideal lounging outfit. And yet, come spring and the merest inkling of sunshine, we turn our backs on these once beloved companions, consigning them to the drawer in favour of flimsy sandals and garish pedicures. Truly, the sock is the forgotten victim of summer. But help is at hand, in the sterling work of designers who are recalibrating the sock for S/S14. Miuccia Prada confirmed the trend, sending models down the runway in knee high rugby socks matched with sturdy sandals, but it is the delicate work of Marchesa which has inspired AnOther’s Lovers this week, in the form of these gauzy lace socks Loved by assistant editor Tish Wrigley.
But let’s go back to the beginning. Worn on the foot either to absorb sweat or protect from frostbite, the sock derived its name from the latin soccus – a loose fitting slipper worn by Roman comic actors. The first models were made from animal skins, gathered up and tied around the ankles for comfort and warmth, but by 1000 AD, socks – closer in form to the modern version – had become a symbol of wealth among the nobility. The invention of a knitting machine in 1589 made socks for everyone and today, the Chinese district of Datang – known as Sock City – produces eight billion socks a year, a third of the world’s sock production and two pairs for every person on earth.
"Truly, the sock is the forgotten victim of summer"
Just as the number of socks has increased over the centuries, so has their place in popular culture. AnOther has considered the history of the white sock – from school girl cliché, via Louis Armstrong and Michael Jackson signature, to Commes des Garçons staple – and the patterned versions too have endless permutations. There's the sporty – pulled up or rolled down with trainers, the festive – Christmas stockings, the nerdy trainspotter – socks with sandals, and the chic – this season, apparently also socks with sandals. Here at AnOther, we’re focusing on the ethereal joy of these wisps of lace, so as we dream of gauzy sock weather, we ask Wrigley where she'd wear them and who her sock icon would be.
Why did you choose to Love these gauzy socks?
I like the idea of the utilitarian made beautifully impractical.
What would you pair them with, and to what event?
I'd sport them under a floor length dress to a hunt ball, occasionally flashing them to cause consternation.
What has been your most daring sock look to date?
I have a tedious affectation of only ever wearing odd socks – daring only because it caused so much maternal irritation.
Do you have any other favourite sock moments from the catwalk?
This patterned Prada situation is excellent.
Who's your sock icon?
My brother. Stealing his is one of the eternal joys of going home.
Socks for comfort or socks for style?
Sadly odd socks never really look stylish.
What are you most looking forward to about summer?
My wonderful sister's wonderful wedding.
What's the last thing you bought?
A bridesmaid dress.