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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!
It’s getting cold and you want a taller sock or stocking. Either under pants, or with shorts (because summer never dies in our hearts!), or so you can keep wearing skirts but keep covered. For style, comfort or curiosity reasons, you want to try a thigh high. You’ve got your measurements in hand and the Advanced Search limited to “thigh high”, so now what?
We haven’t had a “What is a . . .” breakdown of thigh highs yet, partly because they’re so mutable! Personal taste, inseam and thigh circumference all come into play when walking that definition between a sock that falls “over the knee” and a sock that is truly “thigh high.” So, for the sake of this imaginary shopping plunge you’re about to take, let’s say you want a sock that falls at least in the middle of your thigh.
Extraordinarily Longer styles
Let’s start with a gimmie. The Extraordinarily Longer Thigh Highs have a length and stretch that we’ve yet to beat. Their cuffs stretch to 27 inches comfortably and are nice and wide, so they aren’t as prone to biting into those soft spots on your leg. At 31 inches from heel to the top of the cuff, unstretched, they have enough length to go up even long, full legs (the more a style stretches around, the less length it often has). They also come in stripes!
I know, they also cost $20, which is a big investment. You can get packs of three knee highs for $8 at your local department store. But our Dreamer Socks are made to our specifications, based on observations on sock fit made over a decade. We really love and believe in our Extraordinarily Longer Thigh Highs and when folks ask us “what should my first thigh high be?” the first reaction of a Dreamer is “these!!” With a foot size range that goes from a US women’s shoe size 7 (a men’s 5) to a men’s shoe size 12 (a women’s 14), they’re kind of a sock dream come true.
I asked my fellow Dreamers what thigh high (excluding the Extraordinarily Longers) what they’d recommend to a person looking for their first truly tall sock and I’ve got their answers for you after the jump!
Last year I showed you folks some “night & day” versions of styles, in honour of the season’s change! This year, let’s think about the harvest and how some things have to go away so others can grow. This time of year is when we start finding out which styles aren’t being made any longer, but it’s also the time of year when a lot of things we’ve been waiting for all summer start being available!
It’s always sad to talk about the Zap! Section, because it is full of beloved styles that we won’t see again once the last pair leave our doors. So I’ll temper it with some new favourites from our What’s New category, because though favourites can never be replaced, their memory can always be shared with a new love.
As the mornings get colder, I’ve been relying more on arm warmers. The Space Dyed Long Perfect Arm Warmers are wonderful for this weather, because they’re nice and long and mitt-style! But they’re going away, and are only available in Green Zebra now. I think the Flower Field Arm Warmer will be a good replacement for cold hands, as they’re nicely long (longer than the Space Dyed Long Perfect Arm Warmers, actually!) and just as beautiful.
I’m seeing more tights too, as folks start layering up against the incoming season. The Midnight Garden Sheer Printed Tights are a great light layer, but they’re also in Zap! Another bright, lightweight layer that is new (well, the colour is) are the Codori Crochet Tights in Orchid. The Codori are a classic, but their Orchid version is a new addition and I’m pretty smitten. It’s a great pink, and I’m picky about pink!
Speaking of light layers (and refusing to think of the coming winter) nothing is lighter than a sheer anklet. And the little bits of sparkly nothing that are the Shimmer Seashell Sheer Crews are leaving us as quickly as Summer. The Lace Foot Wraps are just as lovely and light and look luscious layered over something a bit warmer.
This is also the time of year when Cronert is rejuvenated and we see some styles going away, like the Tonal Wide Stripe Over the Knees, while others return or are renewed, such as the Multi Stripe Over the Knee.
Some styles we know are going away almost as soon as we get them. We try to note that they won’t be around long in the Additional Info on each product page. Terms in the Additional Info on a product page like “Limited Availability” and “Quantities Limited” mean a style isn’t long for this socky world. Because sometimes we can get more, they don’t always make it into the Zap! Section.
I’ve put together an Advanced Search for you to spy out these seasonal socks, so they don’t slip away! Below are just a few:
But we’re always adding new styles! I wish I could show you the thrilling queue of new products we’re working on shooting and entering, but I can’t, so you’ll have to just keep an eye on What’s New to make sure you don’t miss all the wonderful things that come in as the leaves turn.
Good ol’ brown. Now, I mean brown-brown, not tan or beige (which are their own thing in our Color Search). Deep, earthy, bark-like, ranging from cool to warm, brown is a great “neutral” shade for when you don’t want to go black or navy or grey.
You’ll see, as we look at the different supplier’s browns, that there are definitely some dye batch differences that exist within brown, but everybody can fall into a pretty clear family of umbers, chocolates, earthy loams and red. I think in this post, the images of each brand’s array of browns is closest to spot-on for colour accuracy.
Brown seems very mutable, and reflects the colours it is next to or knit with quite strongly. See the difference in how the colour presents between the white elastic of the O Chevrons and the black elastic of the B Chevrons below!
Disclaimer time! I’m not trying to define brown. If you want some poem-like lists of names for shades of brown, 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!
Oops, I forgot to include the Dreamer Socks’ Extraordinary Thigh Highs in Dark Brown here, but they’re just a touch richer than the Dark Brown in the Dream Stockings styles. Earth is nice and cool-yellow and I love the Coffee nylon hue, so rich!
Ooh boy. Not only does B.Ella offer “Espresso” “Chocolate” and plain ol’ “Brown”, there’s some variation within each colour (both the tights on the far left and far right are “Espresso”). It does mean a gorgeous range of hues, though.
From left to right: Patricia Merino Crochet Tights, Meg Unconstricted Top Crew, Trentata Italian Trouser Sock, Pantera Jersey Dress Midcalf, Gregorio Wool Bootsocks, Vera Recycled Cotton No Show, Bastia Comfort Top Crew, Codori Crochet Tights
Either deep or chocolately-basic, Cronert keeps it simple with two very good representations of brown.
EG Smith tries to keep it simple with just a simple “Brownie” and a heather. But, as you can see between the two boot sock styles (with the same fiber content) below, there’s variation. We keep our images updated the best we can when dealing with dye batch differences like this. The Sockling and the Solid OTK are pretty much the same hue, on the other hand.
Not normally one to offer a full range of hues, Foot Traffic brings it home with a pretty selection of browns from loamy to umber to chocolate. The colour variation in Brown between the Opaque Solid Nylon Trouser Socks and the Solid Opaque Thigh Highs seems to be that the former is 80% microfiber nylon and the latter is 90% plain ol’ nylon.
From left to right: Super Long Ribbed Leg Warmer, Fleece Lined Knee Highs, Opaque Solid Nylon Trouser Socks, Solid Opaque Thigh High, Signature Cotton Tights, Signature Cotton Tights, Cotton Lace Anklets
Nouvella’s colour consistency is a little uneven when it comes to browns, with the widest range between dye batches. Below you can see two different dye batches of the Nouvella Cotton Leggings in Brown. What a difference! We try to catch all changes we can so we can keep our images updated.
For once, Tabbisocks does not dominate a colour with a masterful array! Their brown tends towards maroon (except for their Color Tights, which are nice and cool, a rather umber-y chocolate).
Lots of browns show up as single examples across different brands.
Okay, after the jump, let’s look at the variations within the variations of brown!