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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.
February is a tricksy time, you’re feeling just about done with winter and snow and cold and wet. In some areas, like the Pacific Northwest, there are whiffs of the spring to come as the most heedless flowers (I’m looking at you, crocus) pop up on the surprisingly “warm” days that aren’t actually that warm, in the real scheme of things.
We recently talked of the wonders of fleece, in all its variants, but what are some other ways to keep cozy and make sure you have all your toes by the time spring really comes? That’s where our Warm! Category steps in. Let’s look at the non-fleece options for snuggly socks (and more!).
Speaking of more, why don’t we start with your shoes? We recently brought in Alpaca Felt Insoles, made in the USA by Heartfelt. They’re super warm alpaca wool felted onto burlap for sturdiness, made to slip into your shoes and curl just a bit up the sides, adding an insulating layer between your feet and the cold world.
They can be a bit fiddly to get in, but oh boy are they worth it (we found that bending back the front edge as you slip them in helps)! Perfect for those boots that are always a bit loose, they’re a dream to stand on and some of us removed the insole that came with our shoes to replace it with this warm, woolly option.
And what of wool? If you can wear it, it’s the best natural insulator. That’s thanks to the halo we’ve talked about before, trapping all that air like a Thermos and keeping warm in and cold out. It also works to wick sweat and wet away, which makes it ideal if your feet might end up damp and cold!
Pairing wool fiber and fuzzy textures ups the snuggly factor. “Boucle” (or, more properly, “bouclé”) is both a yarn and the fabric made from that yarn. Strands are wound together in a way that makes that distinctive loopy appearance. Fabric knit from bouclé yarn has a squishy thickness to it that indicates its lovely insulating properties.
If you can’t wear wool, or aren’t big into bouclé, then there’s a similar option available for you! Terrycloth (called “terry” for short and “French terry” if knit, and “warp knit” if you’re nasty) is a fabric knit to be flat on one side, with lots of loops on the other. Those little loops trap air just like a bouclé fabric (though maybe not as efficiently). They also add a thickness too that ups the warmth factor. We have quite a few terry options not in the Warm! section too. But these two are probably our top toasty terry-lined options.
Of course, there’s much to explore (and lots of options to layer) in the Warm! section, but I want to leave you with one last luscious option for staying warm. They’re a home sock, really, made for snuggling into at the end of your day, but the New Zealand Bed Socks by Outer Gear are fabulously furry inside, with a gentle top that is kind to sensitive ankles, making them a great option for folks who need to put their feet up. In stripes, solids and polka dots, with treads and without, there’s a style for just about everyone!
Like a lot of our imported styles, shipments of New Zealand Bed Socks are few and far between, so if the one you want isn’t available at this moment, be sure to sign up for email notification by clicking the “be notified when new stock arrives.” link that pops up when you select an out of stock colour. Do that and you’ll know the same day we do that more have arrived and are ready to order!
Keep those toesies cozy and see if the snuggly solution to keeping warm is just waiting for you to find it! Do you have a favourite sock or combo attack that you use to defeat the cold?
When we focused on red last year I stuck with that true, mid-century lipstick hue. Unlike some colours (purple is a good example) that have a strong and steady gradient of types, things that are red tend to be either RED or a fancily named dark red like “Bordeaux”, “Merlot” or “Burgundy”.
These delicious dark hues sometimes dip their toe into purple, but they’re always red in the shadows. Dark reds can be particularly picky about how they look, depending on who they’re by, as you can see in this shot of the O Chevrons in Dark Red/Black (left) and Dark Red/White (right).
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define red. If you want some poem-like lists of names for shades of red, 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!
Dream Stockings & Dreamer Socks
We say “Dark Red” for our house brand styles, ‘cause that’s what it is! The nylon yarn’s “Maroon”, however, has plummy undertones that make it deliciously deep.
A long time ago, B.Ella’s “Burgundy” used to be very berry, but since then, their dye batches have deepened and desaturated into this very sedate shade that is more Merlot.
They do love their “Burgundy”, making it a standard with Black, a brown and a grey for a lot of their styles. In cotton, the burgundy has a yellow base, while polyester and nylon-heavy blends make it more blue. The Ribbed Knit Leg Warmers are an outlier, with their fuzzy off-white marl.
Real talk: when does Tabbisocks ever not do a colour beautifully? Their Merlot is deep and delightful, with just the right amount of berry tones even in the comparatively darker versions.
“Port” is a dark red word used pretty much only by Sockwell and Stance, who (at least on the dark end) interpret it pretty similarly. EG Smith and Una go brighter in their dark reds, with a more vibrant burgundy than most folks turn out.
How a dark red shakes out is pretty straightforward: darker shades with tones of purple, lightening up to some pure berry!