Socks are a medium of expression for some of us in the technology business, writes The New York Times. I am one of the few people they have included in the article by Claire Cane Miller and Nick Bilton.
FOR barristers in 18th-century London, it was shoulder-grazing wigs. For the Mad men of 1950s New York, it was briefcases and fedoras. For the glass-ceiling-shattering women of the 1980s, it was shoulder pads. And for today’s tech entrepreneurs in high-flying Silicon Valley, it is flamboyantly colored, audaciously patterned socks. [A foot in the door in Silicon Valley]
And while the article might give the impression that it is a few of us who are experimenting with the socks, the trend is pretty widespread. I remember being one of the few people who would wear bold socks, but lately I have seen more people. Phil Black, my partner at True Ventures has one of the most eclectic sock collections.
Lee Sylvia, a sock buyer at Sockshop and Shoe Company, which has stores in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, Calif., said that sales of wild socks were up, an observation echoed by other local sock specialists. Selling particularly well: geometric patterns, pink and purple, orange and black for the San Francisco Giants, socks with words like “bacon” and “beer,” and “anything with ninjas,” she said.
Why the socks?
Silicon Valley, despite thinking of itself as a casual place is very staid in its ways. One of the main reasons why people in Silicon Valley love experimenting with socks is because most people in the Valley are sticking to a basic uniform – Jeans, Hoodie, T-Shirt. Lately I have seen folks like Yuri Milner wear a hoodie – ala Mark Zuckerberg – with what is clearly a a suit-sans-the-jacket. The fact is that being different or too well dressed is frowned upon in the valley.
When viewed from that lens, socks are safe – they don’t scream attention but they allow people to actually stand out. Socks are a good way to bring a touch of whimsy and color into a pretty limited wardrobe. Personally, I love color and I like wearing colorful shirts. Socks are just part of my love for color and whimsy. They are a way for me to brighten a day. They also are great triggers for conversation and also indicate to the world that you are not all work and no play.
Socks are not all show for me. I have a high arch and a flatfoot and as a result I like to wear boots and in order to wear them for extended periods of time, I like good, well made socks that feel nice on the feet and are snug. As a result, I ended up spending more money on socks that I do on anything else.
My favorite socks come from Pantherala, Paul Smith, Corgi and Ozone socks. I actually think Banana Republic has a lot of interesting socks and so does Nordstrom, though I never pay much attention to them mostly because they don’t last very long. For plain grey or black socks, I always opt for Falke, the Mercedes of socks as far as I am concerned.