“It knocks my socks off.” When I’m really impressed with something, that’s my go-to phrase. The idiom is quite peculiar, because socks and stockings have nothing to do with feelings of astonishment.
Supposedly, the idiom began in the 1940s in the US South as a variant of “knock your block off” as in a fist-fight. The phrase’s meaning became more positive in the 1960s with the product launch of Mountain Dew soda. The Pepsi Cola company ad campaign played on stereotypes of barefoot hillbillies, because the southern euphemism for moonshine whiskey is mountain dew. The first series of advertisements said consumers could experience the barefoot feeling by using their product, the soda would “knock your socks off” and “It’ll tickle yer innards”.
That said, I do not drink moonshine whiskey, but I’m curious about it. Furthermore, I do not drink “Mountain Dew” nor any other sugary fizzy drinks. I only habitually use an outdated advertising catch phrase when feeling impressed.
I enjoy socks and stockings and have never literally had any of them knocked off of my feet. Improper socks have worked their way down and off when worn with my cowboy boots. So compression-type knee-length socks are required for cowboy and Wellington boot wearing because I don’t want to use garters.
Garters were commonly used by men and women to hold up their stockings before the invention of elastic and elastic blend fabrics. The invention of elastic has been a boon for the sock and underwear industry.
I scrutinized my socks drawer this morning in order to find a pair of socks to match my mood. The drawer is crammed so full of socks that I have to push them down in order to slide the drawer closed. It’s seriously time to downsize my socks wardrobe.
What has held me back on the socks downsizing is that area thrift stores do not accept used socks and underwear. This is understandable. Whenever people have placed socks in with other donated items, the thrift stores immediately discard them to the trash. All of my socks are in excellent condition–I don’t want to just throw them away or have someone else throw them out.
One fashion trend that makes my flesh crawl is the wearing of dress shoes and loafers without socks or with no-show socks. A man dressed to the nines with a nice pair of slacks and a sport-coat looks unkempt when I can see his bare, bony ankles peeking out from his trouser legs. I know this opinion makes me seem like a fuddy-duddy. In an attempt to be fair, I’ve tried this “look” and didn’t like it one bit. Shoes don’t feel comfortable without conventional socks on my feet.
There’s a sock fashion trend that is tempting. The wearing of colorful, outrageously patterned socks with business suits. I’m tempted to purchase a few pairs of these crazy socks. Although I really wouldn’t wear them to a semi-formal event, I can imagine wearing the flashy socks with khakis and a casual blazer to a party or a night out.
I like what Daniel Radcliffe had to say about colorful socks. “I always saw Michael Gambon wearing madly psychedelic socks, and I always thought that it is one of the few areas where men can really express colour and have a bit of a dandyish quality to their outfit.”
One combination that is universally taboo in men’s fashion is the wearing of socks with sandals. The first time I ever saw socks with sandals worn together, I was a pre-schooler. The boy next door, who was my age, wore white or grey socks and sandals every day. I don’t remember his name, but the memory of those socks and sandals has never gone away.
I do regularly commit one fashion taboo. I prefer white socks with sneakers when walking or going to the gym. The no-show and sockless men may look askance at my feet, but I don’t care. When exercising, I go for comfort over style. Almost one-third of my socks are white athletic type. White socks and work oxfords are default footwear for those times when I’m doing outdoor chores.
Now that I’m getting older, friends are advising me to wear a pair of socks to bed. This is not an appealing idea. Wearing socks when underneath sheets and blankets feels like too much fabric to fabric friction. I think it’s healthy to allow my toes to breath a little during the night.
This little ditty about socks is finished. The socks drawer culling chore still remains.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes a quip from actor/filmmaker Gary Oldman. “You choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color.”