Socks Are The New Ties

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Socks Are The New Ties


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May 04, 2016

In 1991, I distinctly remember shopping for my very first real suit purchase in Filene's Basement in downtown Boston. How I longed to start my career a la the Alex Keaton days of Family Ties and come dressed up to work in my spiffy brand new suit. Of all the major accessories that come with a suit, you could easily turn an average suit into a great look with a spectacular tie. The tie is what really brought everything together. You could turn a plain old gray or blue suit with a white shirt into some eye popping candy with a tie that jumps out off of the dull canvas of the plain old suit.

I was never one for spending tons of money on clothes, but when I hit my first stride of success, I knew that one stop in the Ermenegildo Zegna store would truly show the level of success I was having. It wouldn't seem like prudent financial advice to tell someone to spend $100 or even $200 on a tie, but the Zegna ties were made of magic. It yielded the sweet sound of success and few knew the brand but they knew what they liked when they saw it tucked neatly inside of the power suit.

Fast forward to today's work environment and outside of a few bankers, investment brokers, and attorneys, the suit and tie garb has all but gone down the drain. Generation Y (and now some Generation X and Boomers) are moving more and more to a complete business casual clothing environment and away from the Friday only business casual at work setting. The new business casual might as well be called 'casual' because for most places you can wear jeans, some shoes, and in many cases even a t-shirt to work. A t-shirt to work? Yes, the more the technology revolution hits the workplace, the more you will see Gen Y's running around as Mark Zuckerberg wannabees donning jeans, a t-shirt, and a hoodie in the wintertime.

So, if ties are out and pocket squares are the fashion statement for the true business casual, how will Generation Y make a fashion statement? Socks! Socks are the new ties! There's nothing hotter right now than wearing a really cool pair of socks. Socks are being embraced from Wall Street to Main Street with a virtual cornucopia of choices. According to Jason Grill, here are five tips for buying socks.

  1. Find a high quality cotton sock that is affordably priced. Not to light and not to heavy.
  2. Start with simple stripe and dot patterns that show your style, but don't overcompensate.
  3. Consider a sock of the month club or sock subscription based plan to try new styles and colors.
  4. Stay away from novelty socks.
  5. Don't be afraid to wear socks that colors don't match your pants or shoe colors.

If you are still wearing that plain old pair of brown or black socks, well Sgt. Friday it's time to spend some money and pick up a few pairs of cool socks. This way you can hop aboard the new train of style and won't be left out in the cold. Socks are truly becoming the new ties!

Written by:
Ted Jenkin

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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

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