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Sock Dreams has been shipping cozy, soft goodness nationwide and overseas for over 15 years, but the warmest moments have been grounded in the pleasure of providing that goodness to our local community. We firmly believe that something beautiful happens when people come together to strengthen the community in solidarity. Today, we’re sharing some of the local organizations we’ve had the joy of combining efforts with this year. We reserve a deep respect for their initiative and dedication, which is key to building solid relationships within our neighborhood. When giving back this season, please keep these and other non-profits in your area in mind.
Bicycle Transportation Alliance:
Proudly promoting bicycling safety education since 1990, this group works to improve bicycling conditions in Portland. Their work includes sharing information on the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists, providing resources for free legal clinics and lobbying to ensure bicycling remains convenient and accessible in our neighborhoods. We’re proud to be a business member and (just in case you were considering joining the movement, yourself) offer a special in-store promotional offer to members.
An online charity to provide materials for prospective projects posted by public school teachers, Donors Choose is one of the easiest ways to give back to youth in your area. Sock Dreams has been proud to sponsor several projects listed by teachers in the Portland area. Below we have a few photos courtesy of Mr. Bund & Mrs. York of their classes enjoying the materials purchased!
Potluck in the Park:
Volunteers have been serving free, hot meals in downtown Portland every Sunday since 1991, using food donations gathered on a weekly basis. On Christmas Day, a full turkey dinner is served to over 1,000 people including music provided by local musicians, complimentary stockings, a visit from Santa, and cellphones that are provided for a free call to family and friends. The selfless contributions these volunteers make are the very reason we were happy to send out 500 pairs of socks this year to help them spread the giving spirit.
In addition to operating the largest museum-based outdoor science education program in the country, OMSI is one of the top science centers in the nation. They’ve been providing community outreach programs that bring education opportunities to schools in every Oregon county, which is just one of the many reasons we love their dedication to the field.
The largest anti-sexual violence organization in the nation has successfully created and operated two hotlines for providing survivors of abuse free, confidential services. Recovery information as well as sexual violence prevention education are provided through upfront commentary within colleges, local communities, and various media outlets. These endeavors are in addition to their numerous campaigns launched in effort to improve public policy. We’re proud to say that, through the end of the year, we will be donating a portion of our proceeds from our Whoopi Socks line to RAINN.
A local publication that delivers in-depth news on social and economical justice issues, Street Roots creates job opportunities for those experiencing homelessness and poverty. In addition to publishing a newspaper produced and distributed by these vendors all over Portland, they also produce resource guides and offer advocacy efforts for those facing homelessness and poverty. It was an honor to send 500 pairs of socks to this group in a small attempt to show their vendors how much we appreciate their hard work.
This organization is a support network for women of all ages, battling all kinds of cancers. This network is spread nationwide via Pretty Packages, which are sent out to cheer up women fighting cancer and include beauty products, scarves, a journal, and other feelgood items. Initially, we designed and donated the Fighting Pretty Striped Crews for their packages; however, we liked them so much we started carrying them online and contribute 20% of their sales to Fighting Pretty.
Sock Dreams holds these and other programs like them in high regard for identifying needs within our community and taking the initiative to keep our city healthy and thriving. For even more nonprofit inspiration, please see our Giving Back page where we list numerous other organizations we’ve worked with over the years. Our products keep our toes warm and our faces smiling and it means a lot to us to pass those smiles along to others. As family and friends come together this season, we hope you spread the giving spirit in your own way.
Harvest season has historically been a time of celebrating and enjoying all the hard work that went into planting and growing in the warmer months. A feast is traditional, and who doesn’t love a huge spread to share with family and friends? We Dreamers love to share, so we would like to invite you to our delicious harvest meal. Everyone is welcome at our table, so pull up a chair and fill your plate!
• Space Dyed OTKs – Grapes in Space •
A non-alcoholic option that’s always in style.
• Beer Socks •
A hearty favorite for adults! We have a couple lengths on tap to suit any palette.
• Vino Knee Highs •
For the adults with more sophisticated footwear tastes.
A note: While you can indulge in our socks and drive, we’d like to remind you that combining actual alcohol and driving is a bad idea. Please stay safe!
• Berber Fleece Slipper Socks •
as fluffy and creamy as your favorite mashed potatoes (with no lumps!), perfect as a “thank you” gift for all the people who bring warmth to your life!
• Olive Socks •
Olives are a favorite for all ages at the dinner table. We have a self-serve bar of different lengths and materials to choose from.
• Waffles Knee Highs •
Not just a sweet morning meal, you can dress these up savory as well.
• Thanksgiving Turkey Crews •
The part everyone has been waiting for! There’s no chance of overcooking or overseasoning this delightful bird. And because no actual turkeys (or other animals) were part of the creation of these cotton/nylon blend socks, these are also completely vegan. Go ahead, have seconds.
• Berry Cobbler Stripes •
Raspberry and blueberry stripes paired with crisp golden-brown, just like your grandma’s award-winning cobbler.
• Key Lime Stripes •
Here’s something a little more tropical! While limes aren’t what immediately comes to mind for a harvest feast, we’re sure these will be a hit for everyone who misses summer.
• Thanksgiving Pie Crews •
Feeling like pumpkin and fruit pie? You get both on one sock, with slices of cherry and pumpkin pies topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
Thank you for joining us for dinner! We are thankful for our families, co-workers, and most of all our loyal customers. As the days get shorter and colder, we hope you will keep your hearts and your toes warm with the spirit of friendship and good socks.
What a wonderful day today was! As you know, I’ve been planning a Cat Birthday Party for weeks in honor of my sweet baby, Dale! I sent handmade invitations out to all of our closest friends and even made my very first fish cake.
Waking up with my kitty crew usually leads to hours of cuddling in bed, but I really tried to keep it short since we had so many things to do. Even though it was Dale’s special day, I tried to show all my angels equal amounts of affection. Soon after we enjoyed breakfast, that nice girl from across the street, Erin, came by to see the kitties. Their happy little meows were all the assurance I needed to know they were purrfectly pleased with her company! Erin was kind enough to join me on my daily walk around the neighborhood to look out for stray and lost cats, and she even helped me re-fasten weathered “Lost Cat” posters! Luckily, we did not find a single stray today because I’m not sure Dale would have been thrilled to share the spotlight at his party. Once we got back to my house, we groomed every cat so they’d each look their best. Harrison, especially, took quite the liking to Erin!
Once my babies were coiffed to perfection, I barely had time to dress myself. Plus, I always have the hardest time choosing what to wear. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose between what my cats like best and what looks best. Currently, most of my cat-themed tights & leggings are free of the signature snags and runs my kitties usually produce, but it was still so hard to pick a pair!
As our guests began to arrive, I couldn’t help but become a little perturbed that most of them came alone! Clearly, they didn’t realize that we had expected them to bring their cat companions. However, I’m sure it soon became obvious once everyone noticed all the cat party favors, the scratch-post circles, and the crinkle tube city. Admittedly, I was kind of disappointed, but I can’t deny that I was positively delighted to see all my guests wore their very cat-best!
While they might’ve been a little embarrassed they left their feline friends behind, I’m sure their little babies thoroughly loved the treat bags we sent home for them! Don’t think that I wasn’t grateful for everyone in attendance, dear Diary; I was tickled pink to have them along and I could tell my furry ones were, as well. Dale was an extraordinary host and the other babies seemed to be supportive of his special occasion. I think everyone had a great time, actually!
I hope I inspire some of my friends to throw their cats a party, someday; I would just love to go to a party of cats! My little kitties and I are taking a line-dancing class later this week and I’m feline like it’s gonna be fun!
Until next time,
– The Cat Lady
Welcome back to our series on historical costuming! In this, our third and final installment, we’ll be taking a look at legwear during the most turbulent century for fashion of all – the 20th century! You’re probably pretty familiar with the main events, from two world wars, to multiple activist movements, and the ever-accelerating advance of technology and spread of mass media. A lot happened, so it’s really not too surprising that fashions changed rapidly, with new styles emerging in every decade.
Around the turn of the 20th century, everything changed in the world of fashion. Most notably, the women’s suffrage movement was gaining momentum, meaning that women were engaging in activities they had previously been excluded from, and their fashions had to change to accommodate that. Once again hemlines shortened to reveal feet, ankles and, most importantly, stockings! That Victorian modesty didn’t just get thrown out the window, though – women wore thick wool hose and boots with bloomers while engaging in sport. Formal evening gowns were still worn with fine silk stockings, though they were typically a little less ornate in this era than the stockings of the gaudy Victorian aesthetic. While the rayon options mentioned in part 1 are still the best for mimicking the feel of silk, you might also consider going for an OTK that evokes the art nouveau aesthetic.
Signature Cotton Tights do a good job mimicking the semi-opacity of plain wool hose
Dreamer Jaquard Flowering Vine (center) and Pheobe OTKs (right) are examples of the kind of organic, linear design that the Art Nouveau style was known for
Men were no longer wearing long stockings, and typically wore something more like a contemporary ribbed midcalf under their trousers. These would have been kept up with sock garters, while longer socks, akin to kilt socks, were worn for golf; a popular sport of the day. Sadly for men, the enduring popularity of long pants means that masculine sock styles advanced pretty slowly compared to the feminine fashions of the 20th century.
With the 1920’s came the invention of the garter belt, as well as even shorter hemlines for feminine fashions. While most stockings of the time came up to the mid or upper thighs, some flappers chose to roll their stockings down to the knee to be worn with decorative garters–and to think how much effort some of us put into avoiding rolled stockings! Fishnets were another fun, risqué option of the day. While most hosiery was solid colored and sheer, there were some pretty fun patterns going on for the more daring. In fact, our Vintage Vertical OTKs are based on a 1920’s photograph! Some popular patterns were checkers, stripes, polka dots and zig-zags, while some stockings laced right up the back!
Topless Industrial Net Stockings have an authentic need for a garter belt to keep them up
Brass Scrollwork Garters, to keep your rolled down stockings in their scandalous place
Vertical Vintage OTKs are based on an actual 1920’s stocking design
The 1930’s and 40’s are often associated with Cuban heeled, backseamed stockings for women, and we do have some pretty good options for recreating this look. Nylon stockings didn’t come along until 1939, but we think that a little fiber-inaccuracy can be forgiven here, as long as the look is on point. Of course, not everybody was wearing sheer hosiery, and in cold weather it often wasn’t practical. In these cases, wool or cotton stockings were often substituted, or in some cases warm socks were just worn over the sheer hose! The Cotton Thigh High Stockings, Ribbed Wool OTKs, Kimi OTKs or O Woolies would all be good options for less formal wintery outfits. For a truly authentic WWII era option, try omitting the stockings altogether and drawing backseams on with eyeliner. This is what many women did during wartime rationing!
While the end of the war brought back the backseamed stocking, which continued to dominate women’s fashion, teenagers in the 1950’s were known for rocking iconic Bobby Socks, which were typically white ankle socks, often worn with the tops cuffed down and paired with saddle shoes or oxfords. These socks were so popular that the Sock Hop was named after the propensity for teenagers of the time to get together and dance in their stocking feet!
Moving into the 1960’s, youth culture continued to have more and more of an influence on fashion and media. While fashion icons such as Jackie Kennedy were already sporting clean, modern lines at the start of the decade, they were pretty conservative compared to the bright colors and bold patterns which were gaining popularity with teenagers and young adults. In the earlier half of the 60’s, the London-based, space-age influenced “mod” look featured androgyny and miniskirts, which rose to popularity along with the all-in-one style of tights that we know and love today. Later in the decade fashion was greatly influenced by American hippy culture; a youth movement with a visual style that combined elements of folk art with psychedelic patterns and colors. With the flower children came a vintage revival, which brought elements such as peasant dresses, fishnet and openwork stockings and Victorian-style boots into the mid-century. Of course the pattern that is most closely associated with hippies would be tie dye!
Solid Cotton Tights add some bright color and a bit of extra coverage under mod miniskirts
Nordic Texture Tights feature a daisy-like pattern reminiscent of the flower children
Tie dye is by far the strongest hippy association available
While the 1970’s saw a continuation of trends from the 60’s, it also saw the rise of glam rock and disco, which both left their marks on fashion. Leopard print was popular with the glam rock set, while both disco and glam fans fell in love with sparkles. Lurex, that sparkly metallic type of thread, was invented in the 1960’s. It grew ever more popular in the 1970’s, making Glitter Lurex Tights a perfect way to go glam, or to prepare for disco dancing.
Another trend that emerged in the late 70’s, and one that we closely associate with socks, was the use of sportswear as everyday apparel. With the tracksuits, tennis headbands and terrycloth shirts came iconic sports socks, typically featuring top stripes (which we think makes them appear at least 60% more aerodynamic).
In the 1980’s fashion went big, in a literal way. Big hair and big shoulder pads were in, and leg warmers were a big deal! The 80’s were such an extreme decade for fashion that many people avoided anything associated with the era for the next decade or two, though we’re happy to see some toned-down 80’s fashions making their way back around. While once stigmatized, the leg warmer has made it back into mainstream fashion, as a cute and functional layer, though if you really want to go vintage you’ll wear them slouched, with a spandex aerobics outfit and a whole lot of hairspray. Of course, we mustn’t forget the counter-culture proponents of the 80’s – punk and goth scenes were huge! And we probably don’t have to tell you that both heavily featured the color black.
The 1990’s were an eclectic decade for fashion, with a reemergence of 1960’s and 70’s fashion, the invention of grunge, and an obsession with juxtaposing the traditionally feminine with the traditional masculine. One of the most iconic socks of the 90’s, which we still have customers writing in about today, were the E. G. Smith Bootsocks, in their original 100% cotton, which made them ideal for slouching in boots. We carry their current 99% cotton version of the same, but as we previously blogged, there are some subtle differences. As for grunge, the most common association that most of us have with it, outside of the Seattle music scene, would be the plaid flannel shirt, ideally in Buffalo plaid. We happen to have socks to match!
On the more feminine side of the 1990’s, it doesn’t get much more iconic than the preppy fashions that we often associate with Beverly Hills and the movie Clueless. Most of these outfits were paired with solid colored knee highs or OTKs. Somewhere in-between the grunge and preppy styles that dominated much of the decade came pairings of the femme with the rugged. Many women in the 90’s enjoyed wearing sweet floral prints with items such as denim jackets and combat boots –styles which had previously been considered more masculine. We’re happy to see this style come back around in contemporary fashion!
Opaque Nylon Trouser Socks are a good option for classic solid knee highs
Solid Acrylic OTKs are just one of many solid OTK options
Flower Lane Tights feature the teeny-tiny flowers that we tend to associate with 90’s florals
And this, dear reader, is where we must leave off on our fabulous trip through time. We hope you’ll find this useful for your historical costuming needs, but we’re always available to answer questions via email, should you require additional guidance. If there’s anything to be learned from our time traveling adventures here on the Sock Journal, it’s that fashion repeats itself, so don’t be shy! Consider working some of these looks into your everyday wardrobe! And remember: vintage never goes out of style.
Over the past few months, we’ve celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with some inspired sock selections, and found items to keep classic children’s literature close to our hearts (and toes). This week, we’re winding this series down with the original ticklers of our fancy: fairytales and folklore.
From our earliest days, we learn about the world from stories, many of which have been passed down for generations. Although the tales vary between cultures, there are a few archetypes that appear time and again. If some of these characters have stuck with you, as they have us, we’ve got some great items to help make them a part of your daily life.
Like many great tales, we have to begin with “once upon a time…”
Once upon a time, there was a brave little girl who wandered the dark forest and faced down a ferocious wolf. She was known as Little Red Riding Hood, and we’ve got a couple fun items depicting both her and her lupine adversary.
And on another trail, another little girl ventured into a strange house. She ate their food and tested their furniture, never imagining that the house was home to a family of bears. We’ve got a few options so that you, like Goldilocks, can find one that is just right.
Slumbering fitfully in a castle far, far away, lay a girl with delicate skin and royal heritage. Even through the layers of mattresses and pillows, she could still feel that treacherous pea hidden in her bed. We’ve got some lovely tights depicting this refined princess, as well as some soft items for sensitive feet.
Far in a different land, a boy dreamed of cats, and drew them everywhere. His family scoffed at his laziness, until his cats leapt up from their inky depictions and fought back a rat demon. This story is depicted in these lovely midcalf socks, in a wrap-around fashion between right and left.
Deep in a cave, the woodcutter Ali Baba followed a gang of thieves, and ended up with more treasure than he could possibly count. We’ve got some shiny offerings that would definitely catch Ali Baba’s attention.
While the heroes fought off their foes, many a trickster hid in the shadows. Wily and clever, they proved that life didn’t always break down neatly between good and evil, order and chaos. We’ve got silky serpent skin for Loki, twisted spider webs for Anansi, and the sly smile of the cunning Kitsune.
As their tales came to an end, the heroes, heroines, and mischief-makers snuggled in under the night sky, dreaming of their later adventures in the wide world.
Such stories have stayed with us, told around campfires and whispered under starlight. We’ll let you drift off with some last items, intended to wish you sweet and adventurous dreams.