Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Socks, Underwear, and Other Vital Fashion Tips

The Great Sock Debate of 2009

It all started last week. My girlfriend and I were relaxing in Central Park and discussing pet peeves. To my surprise, she brought up the issue of my socks.

I like long socks. I pull them up toward my knee to start, and then push them down snuggly toward my ankles. I’ve been wearing my socks like this for decades. I’m a lot like Mr. Pitt from Seinfeld. I take time and effort in choosing the right sock for me. And the right sock for me is the long sock. It’s comfortable and reliable. Secure and protective. Sleek and smooth.

My girlfriend declared the long sock as DORKY. She prefers the ankle socks on men; the ones where you can’t tell if the guy is even wearing them. She feels one of the reason it looks better (besides not being dorky) is because it shows the contour of the entire leg.

We posed the question: do more men wear long socks or short socks?

So for the rest of the day, we did a little study. We observed New Yorkers and their socks. (You may be thinking that we have a lot of time on our hands. Well, we did, but it was fun anyways.)

The rules for the study were as follows. We only watched males. They had to be wearing shorts and sneakers (no shoes, sandals, etc.) And we both had to witness the sock in order for it to count.

Here were our results:

Of the 55 males observed, 33 (60%) men wore the short socks. 22 men (40%) wore the long socks. Those wearing the long socks included old men, little kids, men carrying tennis rackets, possibly undocumented citizens, and tourists (especially those from Denmark.) Short socks accounted for everyone else.

(The next day I was in the suburbs; the amount of long socks increased invariably because of the 50+ men. I felt right at home.)

Although most of my peers have agreed with my girlfriend’s assessment, I still like my long socks. NBA players wear them long sometimes (see Jason Terry), Mr. Pitt from Seinfeld wears them long (see “The Chaperone”), and the cool hot dog vendor near me wears them long as well.

Future studies are needed for the great sock debate. The data is inconclusive and the sampling pool needs to be larger. But two things can be concluded from the study:
I like wearing long socks.
And I am probably a dork.

Here are a few other clothing issues worth discussing:

Tighty Whities vs Boxers

Growing up, I was all about the Tighty Whities. They provided comfort. They provided stability. Sometimes, they had cool cartoons on them. And although I received countless wedgies from my big brothers and bullies, I stayed true to the Tighty Whities. In high school, I learned about boxers. I enjoyed them as well. They gave my boys more freedom, but they tended to ride up, and I was not convinced for a full change.

It was in college that I made a complete transition to boxers. I was at a fraternity pledging event, and somehow ended up pants-less. (As I look back, this was strangely common at our events.) Fifteen of us stood awkwardly in a room in just our undergarments. I looked around and almost everyone wore boxers. The only ones in Tighty Whities were me and two others. While the boxer guys looked comfortable, I felt naked and embarrassed. Like a little boy amongst men. I’ll never forget that traumatic night. Afterwards, I vowed never to be seen in Tighty Whities again, and have worn boxers ever since.

The Beret

If you’re a bid dude named Murphy/O’Brien/Sully, a French painter, a Scottish golfer, or a certain military rank, the beret is acceptable. Otherwise, I just don’t get them.

A few years back, a girl that I was dating bought me a beret as a gift. The guys above can pull it off, but definitely not me. I tried it on, and she marveled how nice it looked. I pretended to smile. I looked at myself in the mirror painfully; I looked terrible. The gift, as it turned out, was a symbol of our relationship. She barely knew me. What’s next…a tweed jacket? Actually, she told me that gift was soon to come. The relationship ended not long after the beret incident.

The Vest

Unless it’s bulletproof or comes with your tuxedo, remove it immediately. To quote Michael Cera from Superbad: “Take that vest off, you look like Aladdin.”

The Sport Coat

Maybe I’ll get overruled here, but I can’t stand the guys that wear sport coats over their T-Shirts. There’s something pretentious and stupid about the whole thing. Sure, I’ve flirted with the idea of it. Maybe it’s comfortable. Maybe it’s stylish. Maybe I’d look like a douchebag. I just can’t do it.

Skinny Jeans

Does anyone understand the concept of skinny, tight jeans? They look extremely uncomfortable, and leave nothing to the imagination. This has become cool with the hippie, alternative crowd. I would love to hear an explanation because I have no idea what they’re thinking.

Baggie Jeans

This is another confusing phenomenon. Baggy jeans hang at least six inches below the waist; just enough so you can see the person’s entire butt and underwear. I understand the idea of it; baggie usually coincides with comfortable. But how do people keep their pants up throughout the day? It seems exhausting.

Expensive Sneakers

I work with teenagers and often see them sporting the latest Air Jordans. Some pay up to two hundred dollars for special, limited edition shoes. And although they are basketball sneakers, the kids can’t play basketball in them because they might get dirty. Many adults pour their money into these shoes as well. When wearing them, their energy is either spent cleaning their footwear or carefully avoiding dirt, grime, and dust. Sounds like a lot of work and money just for a pair of sneakers.

My Fashion Sense

I have all these opinions about fashion, but do I have any credibility? Here’s my expertise in the clothing world:

I know next to nothing. My favorite store is The Gap because it’s simple, basic, and conservative. My goal is to look OK and not wear anything that stands out too much. I feel like Homer Simpson when he has to wear a pink shirt to work: “I’m not popular enough to be different.” I just want to blend in with everyone else.

To my defense, I do look presentable, but I just don’t care about clothes very much. I once offended a girl when I asked her if Armani was a reputable clothing line.

As far as shopping goes, I absolutely dread it. I don’t know what I want. I don’t want to get ripped off. I don’t want to be cheap. I don’t want to buy the wrong thing. Meanwhile, the salesman is asking me all these questions, and I don’t have any answers. I hate making decisions about clothes. My brain overloads, and I just wish I was back home.

When I do buy something, there is a moment of pride. The salesman smiles; I smile. I actually made a decision, and this new shirt/hat/sneakers/pants is going to improve my life.

When I return home, I usually evaluate my purchase and get nervous. I start regretting my decision. Sometimes, I make the right one. But, lots of times, when I get home, one of two things usually happen.

#1 I try on the piece of clothing again, and it’s incredibly uncomfortable. It’s as if every clothing item (shirt, pants, sneakers) deceptively feels better in the store. I try to convince myself that it’s fine, but it never is. It’s either too short, too long, too tight, or too loose. It’s just not right. If I feel motivated, I return it. But I’m usually too exhausted to go back to the store and fear the idea of more shopping. The clothing item then sits in my closet until it is donated to charity or thrown away.

#2 I try on the clothing, and it feels fine. I wear my new shirt out with my friends. They tease me just enough where I’m self-conscious about it. Every time I think about wearing it again, I get nervous that there’s something wrong with it, and people will make fun of me. My insecurities take over, and the shirt is thrown into the black hole of my closet and never heard from again.

Thanks for the Clothes

I’ve been able to avoid shopping for most of my life. My Mother still buys me things, and so do girlfriends, female friends, in-laws, brothers, and anyone else who is determined to help me with fashion. Birthday gifts, Chanukah gifts, and pity gifts have helped fill my closet over the years.

Maybe one day, I will become a confident, well educated, hip clothing shopper. Until then, keep the gifts coming. And remember, I prefer long socks.


Mich said...

wow that s alot of fashion talk for one post!


im with your g/f on this... ankle socks (shorts socks) all the way. my grandpa wears long socks... hes alomst 70.

what about boxer breifs? they arent AS bad as the "tighy whities". and if they are in black they look pretty good!

beret??? wtf... no. just no.

man-vests can be worn only on halloween or other cosutme occasions. (only exception is a with a tux)

sport coats can look good it its done right. dont ever EVER wear one over anything Ed Hardy.... that just screams out douchebag!

skinny jeans - barf

baggy jeans... better than skinny jeans but still pukeworthy (i cant get this out of my head now..."i dont like his baggy jeans but i might like whats underneath them")

expensive sneakers are for people who dont have a life. i mean how can you live a fun life when you are so worried about scuffing up your "air force ones".... puh-lease...

(great post!)

Randy said...

In Southern Cali, the long sock is still the norm. All the transplants may wear the short socks, but the homegrown punk, skater, surfer culture(guys and girls) wear the long socks--if not padding around in the often more preferable flip-flop. Although I have seen Stuff sport the long sock WITH flip-flop style.

PetitePralines............................. said...

I wear long socks (sexy, I know) so I can't and won't bitch about guys wearing them:P

Tighty Whities----I think its kinda sad you frat experience was the cause for change...tighty whities = security

Vests and beret = no no no no

Sports coat-Can't agree with you sorry...It looks good.

Expensive sneakers- I agree with you...those people need to get a life.

Interesting Blog you have here :)

Infonut said...

I'll get the kids to do a study here in Toronto, Ontario. I wonder if climate might be a factor?

Short Girl, Short Socks said...

Do away with the long socks. I'm with your girlfriend on this one. Ironically enough, I was making fun of you just last week for wearing long socks :)

Damian said...

I do the long song/pull down to ankle method, but most of the women I know in New York in Florida prefer the short ankle socks or..NO socks at all (sandles).

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