Work Your Socks Off

I was once conned at the South Bank by a man wearing grey socks and sandals. He stung me for twenty quid for his “train fare home”. It still hurts. How could I have been taken in by nerd socks?

I’ve been fascinated always by colour. During the summer I went to the Bauhaus exhibition at the Barby. One of my favourite exhibits was a Bauhaus entrance exam paper with a blank circle, square and triangle. The question, set by Kandinsky, was: fill these in in the right colours. If you didn’t make the circle blue, the triangle yellow and the square red, nul points – your modernist art education died on the start line.

What do your socks say about you?


Worn by: Gentlemen, Well-dressed villains

The classic black speaks authority, power, sophistication and mystery. Stylish and timeless, black socks remain the first and only choice for the gentleman around town.


Worn by: Eighties throwbacks, Commercial radio DJs

While white usually indicates innocence and purity, in a sock it can easily be a mortal sin, especially when worn with open-toed sandals. White socks are also the tell-tale sign of the gym-goer too lazy to get changed after a work-out. White-sockers are usually up to no good.


Worn by: Bankers, Vicars, Con-men

Neither black nor white, neither here nor there, grey socks betray a dull life built on compromise, boredom and poor laundry skills. You may put your trust in a man in grey socks, but could live to regret it. With sandals, even worse than white – immediate arrest and beating in cell by the Fashion Police.


Worn by: Would-be Casanovas, Politicians.

Confrontational, emotionally intense, and quick to anger. Red is the popular choice of stolen car, but red socks deserve no such favour.


Worn by: Attention-seekers, The office joker

When he’s not wearing his Homer Simpson socks, the joker thinks yellow socks are cool. The most difficult colour for the eye to take in, people in yellow socks get inadvertently kicked in the shins more than any other social group.


Worn by: Gardeners, Librarians (male and female)

Good, solid and reliable – brown betrays a serious, down-to-earth personality that is quite happy to be in the background like a wallflower. There is probably a brown-socker within ten feet of you now, and you haven’t noticed.


Worn by: Traffic wardens, Doctors

Blue projects an image of success and security. High street store signs are often blue, as this tells the consumer they are a dynamic, growing brand. You can trust a blue sock wearer with your life (but with the nagging doubt that they don’t quite have the confidence to wear black).


Worn by: Lottery winners, Premier League footballers

Gold signifies success, achievement and extravagant triumph, yet is entirely impractical in everyday footwear. A sign of conspicuous consumption, no true gentleman – whatever his wealth – would flaunt his bank balance with so little class.


Worn by: Cyclists, Nobody over the age of eleven

‘See and be seen’ they say, and we are all for cyclists wearing fluorescent colours as part of their everyday bike kit, providing they change into something less eye-catching the moment they reach their destination.

Odd socks

Worn by: People who dress in the dark; Derelicts, curs and ruffians; Would-be wacky

The odd sock wearer is more than likely emotionally unstable.

Adapted lightly from  a missive (a monthly black sock subscription service for discerning gentlemen).

Agree with these? Anything to add from your experience?

9 comments so far

  1. Mark Hall on

    Hi Mark from HQ here, thanks for the mention glad you found our colour psychology interesting. Interesting test re the triangle, square and circle, I’ve never heard of that before.


    Ps sorry to hear about the grey sock confidence trickster.

    • ArkAngel on

      My pleasure – it’s a critical area of modern living and may mean the difference between success and failure. PS love your job title: Gentleman Creation Officer, best I’ve come across in a good while

      • Mark Hall on

        In addition to my GCO role I’m also the official ‘socksperson’

      • ArkAngel on

        any advice regarding stripes?

  2. theluckhabit on

    I always go for the Paul Smith stripe socks. Enough there in the words of the psychiatrists in Fawlty Towers for a ‘whole conference’.

  3. ArkAngel on

    Yes, stripes – you’ve opened a whole can of worms there

  4. ArkAngel on

    @MarkHall – any advice regarding stripes?

    • Mark Hall on

      Seek medical help 😉

  5. padraigoconnor on

    I also wanted to ask about stripey socks. Can stripey socked people be trusted? Are they attention seeking or hiding something (their stripey nature)? Does it depend on the colour combination? Is it a camouflage thing? And what about polkadot socks? Is that a stitch too far? Christmas socks? Apart from symbolising Christmas is there any other significance? I await your reply One Who Knows About Socks… 🙂

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