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Pastels are pretty straightforward. The fancy words for them are “high value and low to intermediate saturation”, which just means “bright, but not, like, vivid.” They’re all your basic colours, but tinted with a heavy dose of white.
What’s interesting about pastel tints are that some things, like beige, are technically pastels of something else (brown, in this case), but we don’t always consider them that. Pastels can be terribly contextual, but we know ‘em when we see ‘em. Some of the colours we’re going to look at have been touched on in other colour posts, but they all qualify (for us, anyway) as a pastel.
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define pastels. If you want to go down the learning rabbit-hole, Wikipedia is a good source. The Color Sorting Wiki actually barely touches on pastels, saying only “Think pastel when you think spring. Although not all spring colors are pastels and not all pastels are spring colors, the frequency of spring colors matching pastel colors is quite large.”
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. Since it’s sorta a subjective colour, to some degree, we’re just going to look at the pastel-iest of what we’ve got classed as “Pastel” in our colour search. That said, let’s get down to it!
Did you know, back in The Day, the O Basics were split up, with “O Pastels” on their own product page? As yarns changed over the years, we lost some of our favourite pastels for a while and, along with site changes, it just made sense to consolidate them.
And, of course, the O Lovelies are the prima donnas of the pastel, soft little shades that are whispers of colour. I tried my darndest to show that Lichen O Rayons are a soft colour, but they look so dark next to the other pastel Dream Stocking yarns!
Always more of a “winter”, in colours as well as fibers, B.Ella doesn’t have that many true pastels. But what they do have are classics. The cotton Bastia best exemplifies pastels for this brand. Though the Kimi, Erin and Sophia all have colours that we’ve classed as pastel, when you put them next to these Pima cotton pretties, they glower with tone (which is when you mix a colour with grey) rather than shine with tint.
Their soft heather styles give EG Smith an advantage in the pastel game, though really only their heather pink qualifies. Other than that, EG only represents pastel via the classics.
Though denim heathers and soft browns and beiges could be considered pastels (and we have Foot Traffic’s versions classed as such) for pastel purists only two colours really fit—their singular Mint and their thigh high in Pink.
As usual, Tabbisocks brings colour to the table, with a perfect pastel offering in several tints.
Here in Portland, spring has only officially just started, but the cherry blossoms that were perfectly timed last year are so over it and already drifiting down in the only snow we saw this year. But a few weeks earlier, we were sure we’d be seeing one last icy slap for us to remember the winter by.
These transitional seasons are tricky, man. You’ve gotta sock smart when you’re unsure if the afternoon will greet you with a foot of snow or the sneaking tendrils of summer. I mention transitional seasons a lot, but heck, Autumn and Spring are half the year!
Because spring is different everywhere, with the only constant being its inconsistency, I thought it might be good to round up all the various posts and categories beyond just our “Spring” section that can help you lock down your transitional season trajectory!
It’s kinda just a list, but it’s a good one to keep bookmarked and I’ve put pictures in there for you, don’t worry. 😉
Layering & Warmth
How we layer is as individual as ourselves and our environments! But there are some basic tips to ride the freezing-too warm-chilly arc of Spring days.
A recent newsletter has some great layering tips and tricks and we have some info on Polar Fleece and fleece-lined styles, which are a great layer for confirming coziness.
We also have tips on finding warm sock options, most of which are shorter and pair great with leggings (and footless tights)! Great transitional season layers, you can always drop the warmer sock in the afternoon for something shorter/lighter and they also let you start rocking the warmer weather wardrobe early.
Easy to bundle up in a bag when they get too warm to wear and just as easy to rock during chilly moments in addition to the day’s outfit, arm and leg warmers are a vital part of settling into Spring. Our Arm Warmer and Leg Warmer categories have lots to peruse, but here’s some good starting points of reference!
Arm warmers basically come in “mitt”, “sleeve” and “fingerless glove” and we go over the differences here. For your other half, our two most popular leg warmers are the Ribbed Knit and our Cuffable Scrunchables, they’re similar but also very different, which this post explains.
They may be a temporary layer but if you want to match your warmers to your socks or tights with minimal hassle, we’ve got some tips and favourite combos as a guide.
While I’ve got some lightweight faves for springtime layering, there are a couple of different categories of ours that are good starts for folks who live in places where it’s already heating up!
Crochet Look and Openwork styles let a little breeze through, and tend to “breathe” better, which is great when the day started out needing tights and ends up laughing at those foolish enough to be clad toe to waist.
A nice fiber for spring is Bamboo, which has good breathability and performs well under pressure, wicking away sweat. Another good option that is able to be folded down to warm afternoon-friendly knee highs, Over The Knee styles keep those patella sitting pretty until it’s time for them to bask in springtime sun.
And the Lightweight category combines all sorts of the warmer weather variables above, and more!
Spring is sneaky, but outwit its weather tricks with layers, warmers and lots of lightweight options!
This may have been the second warmest winter on record for Oregon, but it’s still in that late winter/early spring season that means ultra-cold mornings. And I know a lot of you elsewhere have been buried under snow so aggressive, you’d think you owed the weather money. When it’s cold, gloves are great, but sometimes they’re too much, especially if you’re just trying to take the edge off of chill while you’re inside.
So let’s look at arm warmers and the different finger styles and coverage ranges that all fall under the “arm warmer” umbrella! They fall into these basic styles: sleeve, mitt and fingerless. And there’s plain ol’ full fingered gloves, of course, but they’re a horse of a different, more straightforward, colour.
Let’s start with the simplest and most straightforward style. A sleeve is an arm warmer with no hole for the thumb. Some can play the legwarmer game too, though they tend to be a bit more snug than straight up leg warmers. And a couple styles you may think of as primarily leg warmers are wonderful sleeves.
Sleeves are often longer in style, most wanting to reach at least the elbows. That’s not a defining factor, however. Mostly, sleeves are perfect to pair with shorter shirt sleeves or for when you want a little more arm warmth (armth?) without having to add a whole ‘nother shirt to the mix.
They don’t do much for keeping hands warm though, so if you want to keep your top paws cozy, you might want . . .
Mitts care about your thumb and give it a special place to live. For some mitts, it’s just a hole in the side, but that’s enough to ensure that your knuckles stay covered consistently.
Some mitts are madly minimal, only a few stitches at the hand end keeping them from being sleeves. Wider hands aren’t often fans of this type of mitt.
The most indulgent mitt is the kind that have a separate thumb space that often goes as high as the thumb knuckle. Sometimes it’s just through smart use of a seam allowance (like on the Una), but sometimes it’s like a house knit or sewn just for those useful un-fingers.
And when your fingers get jealous of your thumb’s cozy house, there’s always . . .
As straightforward as sleeves, fingerless gloves are like gloves minus the fingertips. They’re the go-to for keeping hands cozy and a lot of us layer them under our mitts for maximum warmth that leaves us more dexterous than straight up gloves. We don’t have a lot fingerless glove options right now, but the styles we do have are solid and reliable basics!
We’ve found that it doesn’t matter that much if you have smaller or medium-larger hands, it doesn’t really change how high the finger bits go up on you. We did some extensive and goofy testing and hand comparisons and found that though the Basic Fingerless Gloves go up the highest, but still don’t cover the first joint on even teeny hands. Here’s the basic rundown:
The Basic Fingerless Gloves (below, left) are not only the base for our Tie Dyed Fingerless Gloves, but are popular with fire dancers for their great coverage and 90% cotton blend. For similar length in acrylic, the Acrylic Fingerless Gloves (also available in a shortie) go nicely up the arm, but are a little shorter in the finger coverage department:
At about the same finger coverage level, the unique Microfiber Chenille Fingerless Gloves (below, right) don’t go as far up most arms as the other two basic styles. They are wildly soft and fluffy though, which is pretty important in the scheme of cuddly coziness.
From straight-up sleeves to fingerless gloves, there are lots of ways to keep the warms on your arms as we make the cold and confusing transition to warmer months!
With Daylight Savings Time this weekend, all I can think of is how I’m going to lose an hour of sleep. But at least what sleep I do get will be paired with the ideal sleeping socks!
Wearing socks to bed isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. If socks make your toes feel confined or over-warm, it’s hard to imagine how much other folks love finding the right socks to sleep in. We’ve talked about bed socks before, but that style is more specifically an in-and-out of bed cuddle sock that does just as well when you’re tucked up on the couch as snuggled under covers.
Socks to sleep in tend to fall into a couple of groups: socks you can kick off, socks that stay put, and socks with serious levels of warmth. From there, it’s a case of individual coverage and warmth levels. I personally never understood wearing socks to bed until I found a style that I could kick off when I got too warm, so let’s start there!
Sleeping socks to start the night in
Sheets can get so cold that it shakes sleep off when your toes encounter their freezing caress. Sure, later the bed is all warm, but that doesn’t do any good when you’re first settling in! So, you wear socks to bed, only to drift to awareness hours later, way too warm but also way too sleepy to break your feet free of sock jail! There is only one solution: a looser sock!
Now, I don’t necessarily mean a loose sock. It’s gotta last part of the night and not skin off right away. What works best for you is going to depend a lot on your legs and comfort levels, but here are some Dreamer favourites for socks that stay on until you want ‘em gone:
The Harajuku Scrunchy Socks on the left are my favourite. I’ve got larger feet, so they stay in place until I kick them off in my sleep. They’re tall enough to protect even my knees from the monstrosity that is a bed in an unheated room, but their loose body means even the most uncoordinated fumbling shucks them easily.
The EG Smith Original Bootsock (pictured on the right) and the GoGo Bootsocks (not pictured) are a shorter option of the same idea: a looser-bodied sock that stays put but is easily removed with little effort.
For a little more stay-put-ness, roll top styles like the Sunnie Striped Slouch Midcalf, on the left, are the way to go. A practised scrape of one foot against the other ejects them from the bed—and no cuff means more talented toes can grab hold and pull off (though that’s advanced level sock sleeping).
Another reliable, removable style are the QT Feet crews, like the Lima Lurin Crew. Especially if they’re a bit worn in, these soft cotton socks will melt off you as soon as you ask, but stay where they’re supposed to as long as you want.
Socks that sleep over
For other folks, the idea of finding themselves sockless (or half-sockless!!) in the middle of the night is a terror to be avoided. But what will stay in place without leaving ouchy dents in your soft, sleepy flesh?
Non-constrictive styles, like Sockwell’s Relaxed Fit (such as the Easy Does It, shown above left), or the Bastia Comfort Top Crew, are a good match for folks who want shorter socks that stay in place while they snooze.
Another good bet, especially for extra cold nights, are any of the B.Ella wool blend midcalves and crews. There are lots of styles and textures, and with larger footed midcalves and smaller footed crews (like the Maniche on the left and the Erin on the right, above), there are more options for more feet!
It’s tougher to find a taller option that comfortably lasts the night, since our feet can be so much pickier when asleep than awake. But our Dreamer Sock knee highs and OTKs are a good bet, with wide cuffs that distribute the stay-up. The breathable Dreamy Patterned Bamboo OTKs are a particularly good way to ride out the chills without overheating. And the smooth stylings of the Space Dyed OTK Stockings and the other EG Smith OTKs are like your favourite sleepy t-shirt for your toes.
Socks for serious sleeping
Sometimes you need a little more warmth and snuggliness. These styles from the depths of our Warm! category should be your go-to when sleeping gets tough!
If the cold is just not messing around, forget the pyjama bottoms and go for something like the Thermal Fleece Leggings. Super fuzzy-furry insides keep you cozy at night and in the bitter cold mornings. In the same vein, Polar Feet’s various fleece styles, like the Jellybean Fleece Knee Highs, are serious sleep sock business. The Ribbed Wool OTK are a taller option that can slouch down well without coming all the way off, if you need to adjust comfort levels in the middle of the night.
Do you sleep in socks? If so, share what your go-to sock is!
Though some feet don’t seem to mind the seam across the toes of their socks, others do. Sensitive toes and certain kinds of toe seams can be pretty uncomfortable. Our Woven Toe Seam section is there to help you find styles that will cause less discomfort!
Before we go into what styles have woven toes seams, let’s look at some regular, machine-stitched toe seams. Socks are knit in a tube by a machine and in large production they’re finished off by another machine that tightly sews the toe closed. It sort of looks like a serged edge, like most seams you see in store bought clothing.
For a lot of folks, this kind of seam isn’t noticeable. On styles with a formed heel, the seam falls across the top of your toes where there is often room in your shoe for toe wiggling. That gives you some ease for things like seams.
In tube style socks, that seam runs across the end of the sock and falls across the tip of your toes, or at the edge of your toenails. Even if you’re someone regular seams don’t bother, the kind on tube socks can be an irritation, depending on where it lands (smaller and narrower feet have more problems with tube socks sometimes, due to excess fabric) and what shoes they’re paired with.
Above, you can see the seam at the end of the toes on the Signature Cotton Thigh Highs on the left, compared to the kind of seam a formed heel style has in the Althea Cashmere Crew on the right. Some Dreamers with sensitive toes choose to turn styles like the Semi-Opaque Color Tights inside-out, so they keep the look but don’t have to deal with the seam. Not all styles are reversible (the nature of patterns and knit!) but there are styles in openwork, fishnet and lace that can work just as well outsides in.
Sensitive toes can also avoid the tyranny of a machine-stitched toe seam by choosing squishier styles. The nature of bouclé, for example (as we’ve discussed previously) adds a lot of loft that cushions your toes from a seam. And terry-lined styles work in the same way. You can see how comparatively minimal the toe seam on the Top Striped OTK Tubes is, once you pack terry loops around it!
In the same vein, thicker styles like the Erin Wool & Silk Socks (or the larger footed Maniche) can cushion around a seam, making for a more comfy fit. If you’re ever curious about how thick a seam is, drop us a line before ordering, our toes run the range of sensitivity, so we’re familiar with all sorts of comfort levels!
But for the ultimate avoidance of toe seams, it’s the woven (or “hand-linked”, or “flat”) toe seam. There’s barely a bump where the edges meet, perfect for those particular feet. Some brands, like Stance (on the left, below) or Sockwell (on the right, below) never use anything other than a woven toe.