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We Dreamers wear a lot of hats (and socks, of course), but one of our favorite jobs around here is helping customers find the perfect socks for cosplays and costumes. While finding a good color match for a cartoon character’s socks can be challenging, things get even harder when it comes to historical costuming. This probably has to do with the fact that these “costumes” are supposed to look and feel like real clothes that people actually wore, which means that things like fiber content and construction become a lot more important than they typically are for fictional characters. While our socks are generally a bit too modern to be truly historically accurate, we’ve got some helpful hints on styles that evoke the right qualities for historical reenactment!
O Basics in natural, worn under a full length skirt.
For much of European history, women wore full-length dresses, which meant that counter to contemporary trends, there was quite a bit more variety and decoration involved in men’s stockings than women’s. In fact, our recommendations for women’s stockings don’t change much between the Middle Ages and the 18th century; it’s how the stockings were worn that changed the most! During this time most women would have worn over-the-knee stockings, in wool, linen, or silk, depending on their class. Our O Woolies and O Basics (which are a cotton blend that serves as a decent stand-in for linen) make good choices for women who weren’t part of the upper classes at the time, and while we don’t have silk stockings for the aristocracy, the Zena Knee Socks from B. Ella are made from a fine, slinky viscose blend which mimics the look and feel of silk to good effect.
Of course elasticized fabrics weren’t invented until 1820, so earlier socks needed some help defying gravity! While all of the garters we sell are made from elastic for stretch, most early garters were just ribbons that tied under the cuff of the stockings, to hold them above the knees.
O Basics tied up with ribbon garters
Now, while women were busy wearing floor-length gowns, men wore relatively short tunics or doublets, with hose (similar to tights). This was the norm from the middle ages until the mid-16th century, when breeches became a more common addition, eventually leading to pants. During the medieval and renaissance eras, hose actually consisted of two separate legs, which tied or laced together at the waist, and were worn with a codpiece. Often the legs were two different colors, and the hose were typically made of wool.
Two half-pairs of Signature Cotton Tights, in rust and brown, all ready to be laced together.
As far as recreating this look goes, we suggest forgoing the authenticity of wool fibers, as our more finely-knitted cotton tights can be altered without unraveling. The Signature Cotton Tights or Solid Cotton Tights handle alterations well, and come in a nice variety colors, for fun with mismatched legs! We took two pairs of the Signature Cotton Tights and cut them up the seams, from gusset to waist, then trimmed the waistband off. After that you can either snip small eyelets along the top edge where the waistband was (but not too close!) for lacing together, or to a belt, or just cheat and use some Double Grip Clips to hold them together!
All laced up with a shoelace and ready for a codpiece (worn over leggings for modesty).
When breeches came into style, men traded in their hose for stockings. Early breeches came down to the knee to overlap the tops of the stockings, which were held up by buckled garters. The stockings themselves were not unlike the ones which women had been wearing for centuries at that point – they went over the knees and were typically made of wool, linen or silk. Most of the same options previously suggested for women will work here. The O Rayons are another good choice, and the mushroom and wheat colors are not only typical of historical stockings, they’re also made with rayon blended from flax, which is what linen is made of!
O Rayons in flax and mushroom
As the 17th century went on, men began wearing tall boots which were fitted in the leg, but loose on top. The stockings they wore with these boots had embroidered or lace-trimmed tops, which were made to fall over the top of the boot for added ornamentation. Lace was a popular decoration for men and women alike! This is one of the harder looks to recreate from our catalog, but we have a couple of ways of making it happen. The easiest thing is to choose one of our taller lace-topped styles (many of which are sheer thigh highs, but as long as they don’t have grips on the inside, those should work fine) and arrange them in the boot so that only the lace part is visible, cuffed down over the exterior of the boot. A more difficult, but also more authentic version of this would be to take a sock that is fitted in the leg but loose in the tops, like our M45s, and add your own lace trim or embroidery to the tops so they can flop over the boots to reveal the flourish.
The world of hosiery didn’t change an awful lot during the 18th century, but it did mark the first time in European fashion that feminine clothes became more elaborate than their masculine counterparts. This trend of women’s attire being more decorative than their masculine equivalents’ carried on into the regency era and beyond… and that is when the world of hosiery started to get really exciting!
Join us in part 2, where we will make our way through the advances of the 19th and 20th centuries! Huge strides in technology will be made, and hosiery options galore will become available as we make our journey towards the present!
You’ve probably heard the superstitions about black cats, walking under ladders, and breaking mirrors. We even did a sock journal with some of our favorite common superstitions. But did you know that there are also many superstitions about socks and stockings?
Sports stars are particularly superstitious when it comes to socks. For example, tennis player Serena Williams will reportedly wear the same pair of socks for the duration of a tournament run. NBA star Jason Terry is said to wear five pairs of socks during games to increase his luck. Manchester United footballer Phil Jones admits to either putting on his right or left sock first, depending on whether he is playing a home or away game. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has claimed that his $300 pair of socks helped his team win their last Superbowl. Now, while we don’t carry any socks that will cost you $300, we do carry sporty socks that are worthy of obsessive wear.
Not all of the world’s superstitions about socks revolve around sports. It has long been held that putting your left sock on first will bring you good luck. It was also considered lucky to accidentally put on a sock inside out. The same holds true for unintentionally wearing mismatched socks. In both cases one was supposed keep the socks as they were to reap the full benefit. Here are some of our favorite socks for good luck.
Socks were also connected with certain portents or omens. It was believed that if you put your toes into the heel of the sock, an important letter was on its way. If your socks fell down to your ankles it meant that a lover was thinking of you. If two holes wore in your sock within the same week it was a sign that you would soon receive a gift. You could expect future happiness or a new love if your socks curled while hanging to dry. You were also supposed to dream of your future spouse if you put your left sock into your right sock before going to sleep.
There are plenty of myths about socks and health. It was long held that wearing a stocking wrapped around your neck as you slept would cure a sore throat. Another belief was that placing a sock on the chest of a pregnant woman would help bring about an easy birth. To this day, many people hold that wearing wet woolen socks to bed can reduce a fever. Now while we recommend seeing a doctor for these things, we can also recommend these terrific socks made with wool.
Of course, these may all just be old wives tales. But if you are looking for a little good luck, or a portent of love and happiness, then socks might be just the thing. Hey, it’s always worth a try.
September 23rd, 2015
It’s officially Autumn, one of the most beautiful times of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s the season of thick sweaters, pumpkin spiced everything, and falling leaves—not falling socks. Don’t get us wrong, sometimes you want the slouchy look, but not always. When it comes to keeping your socks all the way up, you have three choices: sock glue, garter belts, and sock garters.
For your thicker socks, like Dreamer Socks and Dream Stockings, you’re going to need a garter belt with a little more muscle and less glam. Our Suspender Clip Industrial Garter Belt along with its button-tab cousin the Industrial Garter Belt are the workhorses of garter belts. For a great explanation of the difference between the two types of clips, check out “What is a Garter Clip? Initially designed for hockey players to keep their many layers in place, these styles will keep even the most stubborn of socks from slipping down. If you like the garter belt look, but don’t want to deal with the whole belt, we also have Double Grip Clips, which clip onto your socks on one end, and your shirttails or pocket lining on the other. Choose any of these for medium to heavy weight socks, like EG Smith Thigh Highs, Extraordinaries, and Long Cuffable Scrunchable Socks.
If it’s not quite thick sock weather where you are, we have a whole range of lighter garter belts to choose from. Our newest brand from England, Miss Naughty, boasts a large range of sizes and a really comfy fit. And we still have your old favorites from Rago, which are a happy medium between function and frill. The smaller button-tab clips on these are appropriate for sheer to light weight socks, like Sheer Curvy Stockings or Solid Opaque Thigh Highs.
A good portion of our sock garters also come in either suspender clips or button-tab closures, while others have no clips at all! Sock garters with clips are worn around the calf or thigh, and clip onto your socks. We have a bunch of our own styles, including Classic Sock Garters and Sock Garters with Suspender Clips. We use comfy wide elastic that is adjustable to your comfort and closes with a flat hook and eye. Revivall Clothing is one of our newer brands, and they have a different take on the traditional sock garter. Where ours have two garter attachments on either side of the elastic band, theirs feature one button tab garter right in front of the adjustable buckle for a different look that is quite chic.
These next sock garters are clipless, and go around the cuff of the sock to keep it in place. Our line of Simply Adjustable Sock Garters have the same elastic, sliding adjustment, and hook and eye as the Classics above. Our Buttoned Garters are handmade in small batches right here at Sock Dreams HQ. Since the elastic band features button holes every inch or so, you can really customize your fit. For a more embellished look, check out Snappy Garters. Handmade in the USA by our good friend Shelly, these garters feature fun buttons and baubles for a unique look.
If garters just aren’t your thing, It Stays! Body Adhesive is a great alternative. This stuff is so fantastic that Brenna and Rosalind previously wrote about it and demonstrated its use in “Sock Glue!”
We hope you enjoy the cooler weather, and all the cozy socks that come with it! If you have any more questions on which garter belts will fit, or will work with a certain pair of socks, please Contact Us and our Dreamers will be happy to answer your questions.
As the leaves change into their autumnal blaze, it seems appropriate to talk about those not-quite-orange-not-quite-red colours we call “Rust”, “Spice” and “Paprika”. When we talked about orange and about red, we skipped over this kind of colour, because it’s totally its own beast.
Like with dark reds and navy, both of which are technically shades of another colour (red and blue, respectively), “rust” is a darker orange, or a yellower red, depending on the particular flavour of the hue. And, same as dark red and navy, we don’t have a colour search for it specifically.
But if you search “rust” and choose Orange and (or) Red from the Colour options on the sidebar, you can pin-point it easily. Though: not everything these hues is called “Rust”, so here are quick search links for you for the most common colour names:
And if you want to get the whole lot in one sweep, try this link!
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define rust, or “spice” or “paprika”. If you want some fancier names for shades of rust, Wikipedia gives you just some (neat, but not useful) facts and points you to articles on shades of Orange, Red and Brown for your poetry! 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!
Dream Stockings & Dreamer Socks
I think we have a delightful range of toasty shades, with the O Rayon book-ending the basic orange tones with dips into red and gold.
Mostly, B.Ella uses rust as a colour pop, paired with brown. Though the Sophia Confetti Knee High come up in this search, I think they’re actually quite truly red and not that rusty.
Cronert rarely goes rusty, but the batch of Cotton Overknees we have right now have two shining examples of the shade.
Purveyor of paprika, EG Smith keeps their rusts red and ready, but toasty enough to stand on their own.
They don’t play in this colour much, but Foot Traffic’s two entries into rustiness are nice options. As they do regularly, the hue of the Opaque Trouser Socks is the same as the tights and the Signature Cotton Tights are the same hue as the leggings.
Nouvella is special because they have Spice. It’s a space dye, something I never usually include in these colour posts, since one of the defining aspects of space dye is the use of multiple colours! But, Nouvella’s “Spice” space dye is so unique and so utterly a rust I had to include them. The spice must flow, you know.
Oh Tabbisocks. They hide their lovely range of hues with words like “brick” and “red brown”, meaning a causal search for rusty tones won’t bring them up! But they’re there and glorious.
Another one you have to trick the search to show, Una has two flavours of spicy shades that fill any rusty holes in your soul.
Amazingly, there’s no “Assorted” batch for me to share; everybody (right now anyway) offers one or two types of rusty radness. So let’s go look at how this already in-between-y hue breaks down into futher nit-picky sub groups.
This Saturday, September 19th, be Talk Like a Pirate Day! Some o’ ye be seasoned veterans, ‘n some o’ ye haven’t yet found yer sea legs, but we have somethin’ fer everyone no matter t’ length o’ yer piratical career. Explore our most swashbucklin’ tag fer our complete offerin’.
Every pirate needs their trusted ship, t’ briny deep, ‘n t’ stars with which t’ navigate it. Pairin’ t’ followin’ arm warmers ‘n socks harkens aft t’ centuries o’ nautical travel where no soul needed GPS t’ get around.
For t’ more darin’ o’ buccaneers, we have t’ more traditional skulls ‘n crossed bones, the sight o’ which warns off even t’ most stalwart sailor. Gather yer cutlass ‘n get ready t’ strike fear into t’ heels o’ yer opponents!
While you be talkin’ like a pirate, don’t forget t’ dress like one, too! Stripes o’ all kinds be traditional ‘n will show others you’re not one o’ them landlubbers. It be a pirate’s sock for ye!
At t’ end o’ a long voyage, thar’s nothin’ a pirate loves more than t’ just happen upon chests overflowin’ with gold ‘n silver doubloons, ‘n fancy jewels. Yer legs will sparkle as brightly as yer entire treasure trove!
Fair thee well, me hearties. May t’ wind blow yer sails, ‘n the kraken spy t’ other ship afore ye.
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