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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?!
Weather-wise, in the Portland area November stops being fall and starts being winter abruptly and wetly. The darkening skies of incoming winter storms mean grey is the perfect colour to focus on this month.
More often than not called “silver”, “charcoal”, “graphite”, “anthracite” or “slate”, grey is a wonderful neutral that stays surprisingly neutral (though some styles tend more blue or yellow). A mutable hue, it’s greatly affected by what it is next to, like these O Chevrons (and an A Chevron) show for our Dream Stockings in Grey and in Charcoal.
Grey falls into about three categories: light, medium and dark, as you can see by how I sorted out my bins of examples.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define grey. If you want some poem-like lists of names for shades of grey, 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. There are a lot of greys from our suppliers, so I’m not going to clutter your monitor with all of them, just representative examples.
Dream Stockings and Dreamer Socks
We have a pretty lovely range of grey, if I say so myself! From light to dark, we’ve got ‘em in lots of different fibers (including the Dreamer Acrylic Slouch Socks in Silver Grey that I forgot to add here)!
From left to right: Gregorio Wool Bootsocks, Sergei Recycled Cotton No Shows, Zena Knee Sock, Bess Cashmere Slouch Rib Knee Sock, Ginger Ribbed Knee High, Pantera Jersey Dress Midcalf, Kayla Stripe Trouser Sock, Erika Microfiber Tights
Just a single shade, really, Anthracite is the fanciest-named grey we carry.
Just two shades of grey here, but both medium and dark greys covered nicely!
Tending towards marled, Foot Traffic offers some nice greys that go a bit bluer in the microfiber versions.
From left to right: Signature Cotton Tights, Textured Cable Acrylic OTK, Cotton Rag Bootsock, Microfiber Stirrup Legging, Signature Cotton Tights, Opaque Nylon Trouser Sock, Fleece Lined Knee High, Super-Long Ribbed Leg Warmer
From light silvery grey to dark Night Grey, Tabbisocks offers a lovely range of greys across several fibers.
From left to right: Crochet Lover OTK, Harajuku Arm Warmers, Basic Tabi Socks, Harajuku Arm Warmers, Cotton Tabi OTK, Crochet Look Tights, Harajuku Arm Warmers, Harajuku Scrunchy Socks
Bottom row: Color Tights in Silver Grey, Color Tights in Dark Grey
Most of the various greys that are only represented by one or two styles in other brands fall in the medium to medium-darker grey range. I’m just showing some good representative examples below.
Grey falls into some pretty simple categories: light, medium, dark and tending to yellow or blue. Check out the breakdowns after the jump!
We’ve gone through all the main colours this year in our monthly focus posts and now with black under our belts, let’s take this colour matching to the next level: matching stripes across brands and styles! It’s something we see a lot of you folks doing as you put the final touches on your Halloween costumes, so I figured it’d be timely to talk about it now.
As we’ve learned, if you want to keep your colours matching, it’s best to stay within a brand or style, particularly in the Dream Stockings, since we use the same yarn for each colour. So, naturally, the M Sleeves and the Super Warmers short or long, match their corresponding colours in the Color Knees and Super Stripes (with some cross-pollination between all of those styles, plus the Neapolitans and Rainbow Dreams!).
Ditto the Sorcerer Socks and Sleeves, the Chevron Sleeves and their various levels of coverage. And Leg Avenue offers the Neon Rainbow Gauntlet Gloves to go with the tights and Neon Rainbow Striped Fishnet Tights to go with the fingerless gloves.
Top row: Sorcerer Sleeves, Chevron Sleeves, Neon Rainbow Gauntlet Gloves, Rainbow Net Fingerless Gloves
Bottom row: Sorcerer Socks, O Chevrons, Neon Rainbow Tights, Neon Rainbow Striped Fishnet Tights
But what about rainbows, or black/purple and black/red? What if your perfect sock to match your arm warmers is made of a totally different fiber? Well, we have good news and bad news, depending on what colours you’re talking about.
Black is black, is black, unless it’s “Caviar” or “Nero”—although “Caviar” and “Nero” are just some more words (the former being descriptive, the latter being Italian) for “Black.”
As you can imagine, this colour focus post is going to be a little different. Black is pretty much black (an absence of colour). There are shades of black that are darker and shades of black that are blacker and yes, that is an actual distinction! Sometimes we can’t portray the true level of darkness while still showing you guys what the texture of a sock is.
So, this time around, we’ll do the regular thing of looking at some representative versions of black across suppliers (though it’ll not be an exhaustive list, because there are so many!), but then I’m going to look at a few distinctive aspects of this hue and the problems one can encounter in trying to properly convey black socks online.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define black. If you want some poem-like lists of names for shades of black, 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. That said, let’s get down to it!
Let’s get down to the suppliers, then. I apologise if your monitor decides to display the following images as Stygian rectangles from which no light escapes.
Dream Stockings & Dreamer Socks
Using “Caviar” to mean black most of the time (though sometimes black is just black), they’re also nicely black, with the Erika Microfiber Tights being a little less dark and the Meg having the slightest green tint.
Either wool or cotton, they’re black, with the Simone’s Sleeves being a good match for the Cotton Overknee.
Though their black remains the same in their boot socks, the Socklings are softer than their taller OTK and thigh high cousins.
With a style in almost every fiber combo, they keep it pretty on-point, with the Textured Cable Acrylic OTKs a little softer and duller than the rest.
From left to right: Bamboo Ribbed Tights, Wool Rib Tights, Ribbed Knit Leg Warmers, Solid Acrylic OTKs, Textured Cable Acrylic OTKs, Solid Opaque Thigh High, Microfiber Stirrup Legging, Fleece Lined Knee Highs, Signature Cotton Thigh High
They seem to deal in textures (fishnet, lace, satin) so for their image I’m using one style that has satin, ruffle and nylon, and another that’s a black sheer. Pretty much all of their black styles are nylon or polyester and are textbook black.
Another pretty straightforward series of black, with the Color Tights a little bluer than the rest!
Of course, there are a lot more suppliers who have styles available in plain ol’ black, but these are some good, representative examples.
Whew. Okay. I’m just gearing myself up for some ‘splaining. Like with Teal & Turquoise, how we have to deal with black as a “colour” when editing can get tricky. Alright, let’s go!
Petticoats are wonderful. But they come in such limited colours, really. Even the Layered Tulle Petticoat’s seven colours and the Mid-Length Petticoat’s three new colours still don’t add up to enough colours. What about brown? Or grey?!
Well, for science, I grabbed three different fiber blends of petticoats to see how well they dye. Here are the petticoats I picked:
As you can see, they cover the bases from 100% nylon (easy enough to dye) to 100% polyester (much trickier to dye).
Now, I’ve dyed things for the Sock Journal before, pretty much always using RIT dye. I like using RIT because you can pick it up at big supermarkets or tiny local craft stores. It’s pretty accessible and not that expensive, when it comes to dye. It’s made to work best on nylon and cotton blends, which means I had to get fancy for the polyester fiber in some of these petticoats. That means I finally had an excuse to use iDye Poly, which is made for nylon and polyester fibers!
With all my dye and dyeables at hand, I was ready to add some colour! Or, um, grey. Specifically RIT’s Pearl Grey liquid dye. Because I really wanted a grey petticoat. The 100% nylon Lace Petticoat was my control. I’ve dyed nylon bunches, so I had an idea of how it’d turn out.
Here’s a quick guide on the weight of the petticoats I’m using.
- The Lace Petticoat and Puffy Chiffon Mini Petticoat are both just around one-third a pound.
- The Mid-Length Petticoat is about 4/10ths a pound, but I’m treating it like a half-pound for math easiness.
Remember, folks who dye, you can always drop us a line and ask how much something weighs, so you can calculate your dye. Since we ship things, we always have those numbers at hand!
Due to the sheer fluff of the petticoats involved, I had to use the “big ol’ bucket” method of dyeing, which is putting the hottest water safe for the fabric into a five gallon bucket and adding your dye to that. I also added vinegar, which helps dye sink into and stick on nylon fiber.
As a refresher: thoroughly wet what you’re dyeing, prep your dye, add the thing you’re dyeing, agitate & wait! I gave this petticoat 20 minutes in the dye bath.
How did it turn out? Oh, you will see!