Safe or smokin': Stockings to socks

Smokin': Seamed stockings

I was leaving my building this morning; the elevators opened and on stepped a young woman leaving for work: a black turtleneck tucked into a short black and white print miniskirt in wooly/nubbly fabric (we still have snow here, after all), a trim black wool coat, knee-high black leather boots and sheer nude stockings with black seams. 

"Seams!" I said, smiling, "I haven't seen those for a very long time." She smiled back and said, "Everything old is new again."

I pondered the thirty-five or so years between us. No one I knew when I was her age wore nude seamed stockings, except to Tarts and Vicars parties.

Last week, I wouldn't have known where to get them. Well, now I do, and also tights. Apparently they're a (solidly smokin') Thing.

If you are going to, say, a graduation ceremony, and know you have to wear hosiery, why not have a bit of fun with these, or a pair of fine nude fishnets?

I have friends worried about veins and spots so was fascinated to see Moonlight Pants, tulle hosiery by Wolford. They would certainly update a simple black dress and provide coverage without the tourniquet effect of tights.

Safe: Spring socks

But I am a sock woman, and as if programmed by Daylight Savings to Spring Forward, I'm looking for some new ones. Spring is not sandal time in MontrĂ©al, so when you can flash a cool pair of socks, it's a distinct  pleasure.

A trip to the Westmount boutique Soxbox is always tantalizing (Japanese screen-prints; art prints, solids, stripes) but I've filled today's windows with socks accessible to all readers. Yes, these are safe, but sprightly safe.

Posh socks

Haut de gamme socks are a special treat (and also make a terrific gift). In past decades, desperate for good colours, I sometimes bought men's (especially Japanese ones), but lately, women's socks have caught up.

I would like these:

Top row, left to right, two patterns:
Hansel From Basel Yin-Yang Crew, $US 14;
Hansel from Basel Breakfast Crew, $US 14.
Bottom row: From Pantherella, who make sublime women's socks, two in Egyptian cotton:
ankle socks in Crocus; and the same style in grey and pink stripe; each £11.

Seasonal winks

I'll budget for at least one pair of this-could-only-be-spring socks, like wearing a garden on your feet!

J. Crew pink butterflies on blue; cotton/nylon. Price, $US 12.
Simons green insects; cotton/nylon. Price, $CDN 5.
Bombas Tropical Floral, pima cotton; calf height. Price, $US 14.
Bjorn Borg French Flower socks; cotton jersey. Price, $US 8.

Budget charmers
The Bizou boutiques throughout Canada (with mail order to other locations) have good quality socks for the price, usually four pairs for $12; knock yourself out. They are cut a little shorter, ideal if you wear socks in hot weather. They are 70% cotton/15% poly/15% spandex.

Left to right: Grey and white stripes with watermelons; navy with toucans, and a pair I have re-stocked many times, navy with an anchor, a great sock with jeans.

Spring socks have a magnificent but short bloom, like tulips. Pick them up over the next month, and spare yourself from wondering where they went, right when you want to wear them.


Laura J said…
We crazy sock knitters start cranking out socks in outrageously bright colours !!! Some even with lacey bits—
Leslie said…
I’m a sock girl now, but not that long ago I was crazy for stockings. Usually sourced them from, in case you are interested. 😉
LauraH said…
Socks for me too! I'll be checking out several of your sources.

Real fibre socks are getting harder to find, especially wool for winter. I had luck at Winners last fall, some lovely pairs of wool mix with a touch of cashmere, made in Italy. And not tight or binding around the ankle either...perfect. Don't enjoy having my circulation cut off. I've also found socks knit in wonderful self-striping wool - offered at the Birkenstock outlet on Yonge Street for fellow Torontonians. And I still have some super thick, all cotton, colourful socks from the now-defunct McGregor outlet shop. Love a good pair of socks!
Duchesse said…
Laura Jantek: Hand knit socks are one of my fetish objects. I, a long-lapsed knitter, determined to learn how but was intimidated: What needles? (Even if I cast my fate with a Magic Circle, what length?) Top down or toe up?

Leslie: Thanks from me and behalf of other readers. When you need stockings or tights it's good to have a source.

LauraH: I love natural fibres but also find a touch of nylon makes them more durable. I bought those Winners socks too. Problem with Winners is the supply... have to grab them as good stuff often a one-off.
JohnInWI said…
Your neighbor sounds very chic! You Montrealers know how to dress! Do you think I would run into your Prime Minister in SoxBox? I never considered clever socks before. Warm, blue and comfortable is what you find in my sock drawer. You are right about socks being a nice gift. Nice souvenir too. -Lily
Ms. Liz said…
Love those fishnet tights! I think a pair in nude would transition nicely into spring. I don't wear dresses too often because of the hosiery decisions to be made (I live in Ontario - too cold for bare legs and black tights sometimes look "heavy').

I am off to Simons to have a look! Thank you.
Duchesse said…
Lily: You can have your very own Justin Trudeau socks:

Ms. Liz: I began my sock life in ON, buying men’s at The Brick Shirt House! But I have big enough feet to wear those.
Laura J said…
For socks I use 2.25or 2.75 mm; top down from an old paton’s pattern with variations of course! Unfortunately once I started wearing them a lot it is hard to wear anything else. Worth trying again to learn to make; they are my go to travel and podcast listening knitting projects.
Duchesse said…
Laura Jantek: So, dpns... I hear so often that Magic Circle is the best way to prevent hand fatigue and is efficient. Anyway am having fun reading knitting blogs. Yarns, needles, patterns... a whole world.
Duchesse said…
Laura Jantek: I am sure you know that is Magic Loop.
...or you could try the new very small circular needles, designed for sock knitting! Smile.

Simple pattern, interesting sock yarn, top down construction, is a very rewarding project. I’m talking myself into knitting more socks. Ha!

Beverley in Canada (MsGigetty on Ravelry)
Duchesse said…
Beverley in Canada: Yet another option! I have to reacquaint myself with the basics and am looking at classes at Espace Tricot and also You Tube videos. It is important that a beginning project go right. May I ask why top down?
I'm a sock girl these days and since I dress in a rather conservative "uniform" much of the time I find having a fun pair of socks just lifts an outfit and makes me happy!
I definitely wear more socks than tights. I'm always tempted by an interesting pair of socks. It seems that socks disappear so you can never have too many.
Kim said…
Duchesse - sock knitting is taking over the world! DPNs, Magic Loop, the new bendy style needles, so many options. Bottom up lets you use all your sock yarn but requires a different type of cast on. Bottom down is perhaps more traditional but you have to learn the Kitchener stitch. Different heels. Sock knitting is very portable which is a plus. Even knitting a plain sock with the vast array of patterned wool - the results are amazing!
materfamilias said…
I'm another who always has a sock on my needles (double points, this old dog doesn't need a new trick ;-) -- and as for Kitchener stitch, if the Earl could teach it to the soldiers in his command, I doubt it would daunt you. . .
At this point, I'm mending socks as well as making them, resurrecting old darning skills. . .

But your survey of the socks available in stores now inspires an urge to put some Spring in my step, and I think I need a pair to go with my pale pink Oxfords, no?
Susan B said…
I've been getting back into fun socks lately. Mostly sparkly, but some patterns have caught my eye recently. Love those toucans!
Top-down sock knitting just goes faster for me, and I don’t find Kitchener stitch to be daunting (YouTube!). But try everything! There have been so many new tools and techniques developed over the past decade or so...really the right way is the one that makes you happy.

And with knitting, you can always pull the stitches out, and try again. So forgiving!

Sock knitting is a creative, portable adventure, with a practical result.

Beverley in Canada
Materfamilias, your comment reminds us how much men knitted; sailors obviously but also soldiers. Doubtless also men on jobsites, such as loggers.

I have some cat socks from Winners but there are none right now from Simons. Will look at other fauna and flora. I picked up red textile Winona Doc Martens Mary Janes at 70% off, and have already offered them some Simons socks.
Duchesse said…
Beverley: Knitters are magpies ;)

To "try everything" requires an investment in various needles. I am not going to knit a sweater again (don't ask). For a minimalist/non-consumer like me, any craft is fraught because there is such a tendency to build a stash and collect various implements. It is one of the reasons I stopped sewing. Yet I adore knittters' handicrafts and I can easily recall the pleasure of it.

Kim said…
Duchesse: I agree with you about the tendency to build a stash and collect tools. I certainly did that when I got into quilting many years ago and my output definitely didn't justify the money spent. I've always knit, but when I became more serious about it, I purposely guarded against the thrill of acquiring both tools and yarn. On the other hand, I'm really enjoying knitting and also like the fact that I have to keep learning in order to advance my skills (such as they are). (I agree with Beverley, Youtube is awesome - and free!)
Duchesse said…
Kim: I have found needles (but not the Magic Loop or other specialty ones) and yarn for practice at thrifts. But I know my tendencies. When I sewed, I had mounds of fabric, and I still have the thread and some findings over 25 years later!
Kim said…
Well Duchesse, we all have our weaknesses! ;) And we certainly know what our own interests are too! And may I add that Costco has a 6 pack of mostly wool socks - about $17.00. They're great!!
Laura J said…
Building a cache of tools yarns and patterns is always a temptation. In the past years I try to focus on small(socks gloves scarves small hats shawls) that are interesting and use up as much yarn I already have. Portable and useful also figure into my planning. In chilly NS a one skein shawl can be fun to knit (lace?!) use luxury yarn and make great gifts. If you use knitting to beat cabin fever in the winter there are usually local outlets to donate mitts and hats. Btw don’t forget a local yarn store or knitters group for learning. And often keen knitters are happy to sit down with a learner or refresher! I certainly enjoy it
Laura, some knitters work up snoods and hats for people undergoing chemo and other situations (alopecia, burns etc) that cause dramatic hair loss). Even in soft cotton to wear indoors without getting a chill. Obviously also for itinerants; in my neigbhourhood restauranteurs organise a sock drive for homeless people, and soft hats are welcome too.

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