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When you search “fleece” on our site, mostly you see variations of polar fleece and fleece-lined, but there are two outliers that are actually informative.
The fiber content for the Nuova Ribbed Wool Midcalf explains that they’re made from “one of the rarest and finest grades of Alpaca fleece.” And the New Zealand Sleepy Sheep Bedsock mentions the fleece-y coats of sheep. See, polar fleece was designed to mimic the insulating properties of natural fleece (the wooly coat of sheep and other fiber animals), which it does—right down to retaining its insulating (read: warm-making) powers when wet.
Similar to Dupont’s choice to not trademark the word “nylons”, the inventor of polar fleece declined to patent it, an action that encouraged the proliferation and acceptance of this new fabric. I’m sure the totally snuggly aspects of polar fleece helped too.
I mean, just look at how snuggly the Jellybean Fleece Slipper Socks are!
Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more “fleece” styles pop up. Most are polar fleece (or have the same qualities), but some aren’t quite. One of the definitive aspects of fleece (animal, polar or colloquial), is a woolly nap or pile. And both those words are just fancy fabric terms for a raised surface. Corduroy, velvet terry, all those touchable textures involve a distinctive fuzzy finish. Which, all of our “fleece” styles have.
Now, if that fuzzy finish is actually fleece-y or something else is another thing. Like a lot of accessory and clothing descriptors, like “crochet”, “fleece” can be used a little willy-nilly but is internally consistent in definition. So let’s look at what we mean when we say “fleece.”
You had to know it was coming. I rarely let a year end without mentioning sparkles or sparkly metallics or any other excuse for shiny things. My reasoning here is super legitimate, though. We spent all of last year focusing on a colour a month, to add some reference points for our Color Search. This year we’ll be finishing off those colours and also delving into the details I couldn’t pack into previous posts.
This post we’re going to look at Bronze, Gold and Silver. Roughly, they fall under “Metallic” in our Pattern/Texture search as well. I think they’re the colour facets we’re most profligate with, because it only takes a little bit of metallic for us to tag something one of those metal colours.
We do try to be careful though. Sure, “Gold” is a regularly used word for a rich yellow, but that’s a horse of a different colour, same as “Silver” can mean “light grey” but not be truly silvery (you can read more about yellow and grey on the Sock Journal). Bronze is where things get messy, but we’ll get there in a moment.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define Bronze, Gold or Silver. If you want some poem-like lists of names for these shades, both Wikipedia (Bronze, Gold and Silver) and the Color Sorting Wiki are kind of amazing resources. I’ve done my best to accurately represent these tones in relation to each other, so you can gather a good idea of what matches and what doesn’t.
So, let’s get sparkling!
We do use “Bronze” to describe the Floral Printed styles, because there is just no other word for it. It does bother me a bit, but I try to calm myself by thinking that the microfiber nylon does impart a bit of shimmer . . . though not as much as the liquid metal that are the Metallic Leggings.
Using gold and silver for a hint of shimmer more often than not, Gumball Poodle has a pretty basic use of silver and gold lurex spun with cotton for a softer shine.
They’re not traditionally metallic in a lurex way, but I’m in love with the soft pearlescent yarn K Bell uses. I haven’t seen it’s like from any other brand!
Probably some of the most stunning use of metal-toned colours that we carry. All of the Polonova styles are hand-screen printed right here in Portland, Oregon! We talk more about the lovely Polonova styles in an older Sock Journal post here.
Yes, it’s a bit of a cheat, since the “silver” and “gold” components are actual metal (and actually nickel and brass, respectively), but they’re so pretty.
So, they only have one metal toned style available right now and I should have thrown them into the “assorted” pile below, but I felt like their sheerness would make them a little hard to see next to everyone else.
Lotta little metal hints, every supplier tries a metallic tone at least once!
Now, let’s figure out what these tones tend to be!
As I was shooting pictures for this post, other Dreamers would walk by and ask “Is the colour for December white?” And before I could fully huff about “off-white” they’d correct themselves with “I mean Ivory!” or “Ecru!” or “Natural!”
Our colour search calls it “Off White – Natural”, because that’s the best general term for a colour that isn’t really a colour at all! Too pale to be “Beige – Tan” and too much colour to be “White”, off-white things can’t really even be called pastels. The one unifying thing that they seem to have are undertones of beige or yellow that visually dirties their whiteness (you could even say it makes them a bit “off”). The phrase “natural” comes from the natural colour of undyed yarn, which is the meaning behind “Ecru” as well. Words like “Ivory” or “Eggshell” are descriptive terms that mean the same thing in this colour context. “Not white!”
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define off-white. If you want some poem-like lists of names for shades of off-white, both Wikipedia and the Color Sorting Wiki are kind of amazing resources. I’ve done my best to accurately represent these hues in relation to each other, so you can gather a good idea of what matches and what doesn’t.
Dream Stockings & Dreamer Socks
Mostly we use “natural” as the name for our off-white. It’s a nice bright and clean off-white that pairs nicely with pastels and deep earth tones alike.
Their crochet styles have a strong ivory-yellow tone, less so in the nylon Trentata.
Though their Heather Socklings in Cloud are a bit of an outlier, overall EG Smith’s “Natural” is a close colour to our house brand “Natural”! Their Nuby Crew does sometimes get darker (more manila folder looking in tone), but overall it stays close to the rest.
A lovey use of ivory across several styles and in a subtle range of shades, Foot Traffic has two styles that use “Ivory” as a name, but they aren’t very.
From left to right: Cotton Rag Boot Socks, Double Fishnet Trouser Socks, Cotton Lace Anklets, Signature Cotton Tights, Textured Cable Acrylic OTKs, Opaque Solid Nylon Trouser Socks, Four Button Rib Leg Warmers, Ribbed Knit Leg Warmers, Lace Knee High Boot Sock
Along with a refined “Ivory” that is almost gleaming, there’s a particular cleanness to Tabbisocks’ “Natural.” And yes, their Harajuku Chic Leg Warmers are actually “White”, but they’re also the same colour as the Crochet Lover OTK in Ivory, so there’s today’s mystery!
There’s more than these three, but they’re good representatives of various brands’ single entries into off-white.
Off-white can be split into about five categories, two are pretty straightforward and just lean warm or cool, let’s look at those first.
There are places out there that specialise in the complicated world of kid-sized socks, so we leave that main focus to them. But we still want to be able to offer you awesome folks awesome socks for your awesome little footed friends (and selves!). Since this time of year has folks shopping for shoe sizes they may not normally be looking for, here are some quick tips!
Though the category says “Baby & Kids”, right now we almost have more kid’s styles than baby-sized styles. What’s the difference? And what about toddlers?! Let’s talk sizing. First off, the age of a kid sometimes has little to do with their foot size. Some kids have big paws that they’ll grow into later, some have little feet, just like in adults.
The baby and kids’ sizes we have fall in four-ish very general categories that are influenced by how our suppliers, like Sock It To Me, size their children’s socks. There are some basic inch-length differences between the umbrella sizes (“Baby”, “Toddler”, “Big Kid”, “Little Kid”) that we’ve found hold pretty true across most children’s foot sizes. I’ll be referring to Zappos’ shoe size conversion chart as I know it’s one you (and I!) use as a general reference for shoe sizes, but be sure to check the Sizing Tips for the styles you’re looking at and drop us a line if you have any questions. Let’s dive in!
Baby socks have feet around 3 inches long, unstretched, which is perfect for most newborns and folks under eighteen months. Shoe-size-wise, they’re about an Infant size 2 and smaller. These wee socks are squee-ingly adorable in their minute proportions. If you’re getting socks for somebody’s first Christmas, these styles will probably be the best match for their feet. If you want to look at just socks this size, click here (or search “Infant” and limit the results to the Baby & Kids category). The styles below are some of our favourites:
Toddler socks have feet around 4 inches long, unstretched, they also fit bigger-footed babies, though if somebody isn’t toddling, extra fabric on the end isn’t too much of a problem. When it comes to shoes, they’re around an Infant size 2.5 to about a Toddler size 5. Once folks start walking, what socks fit them (and their hilariously tiny shoes) best starts to really vary! But most folks under three should do okay in these styles. Which styles? Click here to see toddler styles (or search “Toddler” and limit the results to the Baby & Kid’s category). Here are a couple of our favourites:
Now, you may have noticed that Polar Feet’s styles with kid sizes came up in the Toddler search. This is because the smaller size is called “Toddler” and they’re slipper socks, so the extra room in the toes (as modelled by Little Dreamer Izzy, below) isn’t that big a problem.
Bigger toddler feet fit them fabulously, as the smaller end of their fit scale is a Toddler size 6. The same goes for the Hooray Hoopla “V.S.” socks, they’re a great match for bigger toddler feet. But both the Polar Feet and Hooray Hoopla socks are more properly . . .
Little kid socks, which have feet around 5 inches long, unstretched, are generally designed for folks in the 5-8 years old range, they fit at least a Toddler shoe sizes 6 through 8, but their stretch can let them fit up to a Little Kid shoe size 1 to 3, depending on style or brand. The age and shoe range starts to get a bit murky around here, because growth spurts rule the day for this age range. Be sure to look at the Sizing Tips for the styles you’re interested in, to make sure they fit the little kid you’re shopping for.
Overall, little kid socks are too big for pretty much all toddlers (though again, it all depends on the kid) and too small for middle-schooled folks. Sock It To Me calls this size “Youth” and our Dreamer Socks for little feet use the same terminology. Click here to see all the styles in this size (or search “Little Kid” and limit the results to Baby & Kids category). Don’t be confused by the adult feet you see in some thumbnails, those styles just come in three sizes, one of which is for bigger feet! Some favourites:
Big kid socks, which have feet around 6 inches long, unstretched, are generally designed for folks in the 7-12 age range, but because of the stretchiness of socks, there’s a lot of give in this size. They fit at least a Toddler shoe size 8.5 to a little kid size 11, but with their stretch, some sizes fit up to a US women’s shoe size 6!! Holy cow, guys. You can see why we tend to be general in size naming and try to put foot length in the Sizing Tips for children’s socks!
Remember, each brand or style is going to be a bit different, so be sure to look at those Sizing Tips! Sock It To Me calls this size “Junior” and our Dreamer Socks for little feet use the same terminology. Check out all the big kid options by clicking here (or search “Big Kid” and limit your results to Baby & Kids). There are some fun styles in this size range and a lot of overlap with the Little Kid styles, most of which have two sizes:
Special bonus! By clicking here, or searching “Big Kid” and limiting the results by clicking “Small Feet” under Category, you can find all the kid sizes that fit up to a US women’s shoe size 5 or 6 (depending on style and brand). How do we know they fit up that big? Because grown-up Dreamer feet have tried ‘em on! In fact, both of these styles have smaller-sized adult feet modelling them:
We know having a smaller shoe size can make sock shopping frustrating, so drop us a line if you have any questions! There are some sneaky styles that fit far better than you’d think!
And as for those growing kid feet, don’t stress too hard about the sizes. When in doubt, round their size up, because before you know it, they’ll be fitting them.
It is now officially holiday shopping season. We know it can be stressful, finding just the right thing for somebody (or yourself). Whether you’re having trouble choosing a style, figuring out fit, ordering and shipping your socks or all of it is dumb, why are presents so hard—don’t worry, we’ve got some tips and tricks to simplify the process!
I’m going to try and get all the tips and tricks and hyperlinks together in one place here, so buckle in for a longer post, but bookmark it, because I think it’ll be a good source of help for this and future holiday seasons! At the verrrrry end of this post are a bunch of links, so if you’re short on time, skip down there!
Picking styles for yourself and others
Even for yourself, creating a wishlist is a fun and useful thing. If you try to leave items in your shopping cart as a way to hold onto a style, they don’t always stay in your cart! Remember, other people are shopping too and they might be quicker on the draw for that last pair. We recommend folks finish their orders in an hour to make sure everything is there.
So, if you can, encourage folks you’re shopping for to make a wishlist. We added wishlists in 2011, and they’re easy as pie to use. Just make sure you’re signed in and click that little “Add to wishlist” button!
Wait, “signed in”?! Yep, even though you can shop as a “guest” and not have an account, it can help a lot for tracking orders and making wishlists if you have one. If you have questions about your account, they’re probably answered in the Account FAQ, we do our best to keep all our info up to date and useful!
Okay, but what do you fill that tempting wishlist with? And how do you know that the styles you’re buying for someone will fit them? Does knowing their dress size help, or that they’re “slim”? Or, if you know they wear plus-size styles, then you can’t get them anything that says “one size”, right?
Nope! “One Size” and dress sizes don’t mean a thing when it comes to fitting socks and legwear!
Figuring out fit
First off, as Dreamer Zaf says in this fabulous Tumblr post, when we say “one size” “Never, ever, ever do we mean One Size Fits All. Generally, we mean it only comes in the one size.”
So, if you click the drop-down box for size (the middle one, after the one you use to choose colour) and you see “One Size” is the only choice, then we sadly don’t have any other size options for this style.
Sometimes (most particularly with Leg Avenue), there will be a “One Size” and a “Plus Size” in the drop-down. This is a combination of things, based partially on what the supplier calls a size (and how it is then entered into our system) and a result of a style gaining a larger size at a later date.
But we could call One Size “fishcakes” and use the word “marabou” to mean “Plus Size” and it doesn’t really matter. Just like in clothing, sizes are different across suppliers and styles, so we do our best to make sure the Sizing Tips on each product page gives you all the information you need to know if what this particular iteration of “Plus Size” or “Small” or “fishcakes” is right for you. Even if that means we end up writing what looks like a tl;dr of info. I think the greatest example of which is the Professional Fishnet Tights with Cotton Sole.
But, if you’re looking for a good fit, then that highlighted Sizing Tips box is your best buddy! For example, when searching our Plus Size category you will see styles with only a “One Size” option, but that doesn’t mean it won’t fit some plus size bodies. And “Small” in a lot of brands (like Cronert, or Dream Stockings) is about foot size, not leg size. With your measurements in hand, you’ll know if a large kid’s size is actually exactly your small foot size.
Dreamer Zaf talks more about the importance of measuring on our Tumblr, but here are the basics:
• Know the measurements of the person you’re shopping for •
• Don’t worry about what the size is called, look at what that size fits •
• If our Sizing Tips say something should fit but it doesn’t, let us know •
Okay, okay, so what measurements do you need to know? And how do you get those measurements for someone without ruining the surprise of a gift?!