Saturday, February 19, 2011

Socks and Boat Shoes in the Winter

This past week was sunny in the lower 50s and 60s and everyone on campus was excited with spring time knocking at the door. But with that came the sudden appearance of tees and shorts as if it'll miraculously warm up to the mid 90s by the afternoon. Guys, let's not jump the gun! You're not fooling anyone next time that chilly gust blows between the science building walkthrough, causing you to have goosebumps and forcing you to shove your blue hands in your Nantucket Red Short pockets. Alas, it is still winter in many parts of the country and days of warmth are just as teasing as that tri-delta girl bending over in her spring dress.

I may be going against the frat bible here, but I am not a fan of the hardcore going barefoot in boat shoes when it's snowing outside rule. Some firmly disagree and I have no ill feeling toward them, but to me it is just as dumb as when guys wear their Croakies and Del Mars at night (can't you just leave them hanging off your dashboard mirror after hours?) or wearing shorts so short that their boxers creep out when they sit. I am all for being preppy, but these examples that push the boundaries to the extreme just for the sake of staying true to the preppy lifestyle are kind of ridiculous, and as a trad man at heart, I'd much rather fulfill these codes of valor in a utilitarian, common sense kind of way and to avoid the WTF? stares (for the wrong reasons anyway).

So boat shoes and socks. Are they polar opposites? Boat shoes are inherently a warm weather shoe and I rotate them with my L.L. Bean Blucher Mocs in the colder months, but when I do wear my Sperrys I always pair them with socks. If it is of season or it is less than brisk degrees (below 60 in my book) outside then you should adorn socks, unless you live in a tropical climate and therefore free of a lot of worries we northern people deal with.

But because boat shoes are a casual shoe I tend to pair them with atypical or 'fun' socks. Argyle, wool or hiking, and fair isle socks can be both under-stated and appropriate for daily seasonal wear while GTH patterns like multi-striped, rugby, and bright colored socks for preppier occasions.

Depending on how dandy you want to appear, socks can be used to add personality to your wardrobe and can make as loud as a statement as going sockless in below-freezing temperature. I normally reserve my 'louder' socks for casual events or when I am feeling ironic. Below are examples of boat shoes and socks, however you can adapt this to any other shoe you wear regardless of season. Just be mindful of what you wear your GTH socks stuff to....class is ok to illicit those WTF? stares (for the right reasons), but probably not at funerals.

Gap wool socks
J. Crew yellow socks

Old Navy multi striped socks

J. Crew red striped socks

Brooks Brothers argyle socks

J. Press rugby striped socks

J. Press fair isle socks (been meaning to get a pair of these)

D.S. Dundee fair isle socks
Wallows Fair Isle Socks with Clarks Wallabees. Taken from The Bengal Stripe.


Update May, 2012
Mr. OCBD has posted a very nice writeup on socks that I also suggest reading.


  1. *shudders* Blasphemy.... I love boat shoes, however I refuse to wear them with socks even if due to where I live and attend school in the North East gives me only 5 months of the year to wear them.

    I say stick to those bulcher mocs in the winter.

    Maybe I am in the minority though, I recently called out the guy from Kyoto Maiko for the same thing and he defends it.

    I just feel like it wouldn't even feel right on my feet, let alone look right.

    I am in the process however of scouting out southern universities for my next degree so I can spend some more time in sperrys than in peacoats and Bean boots.

  2. Knew I'd get some backlash! But no rules to style, each to his own.

  3. HA!

    I (Kyoto Maiko), am not alone!

  4. Stealing this little tidbit from the AskAndy forum.... "that's why they make chocolate and vanilla" - DocD. Great article BTW!