680 Madison Avenue Near 61st Street
Every man reaches a point in his life where he must get serious about his socks. If you’re still hitting the three-pair-for-a-dollar bin at your neighborhood street fair, you’re not there yet. Some suggestions: (1) Buy socks that are sized; they’re much more comfortable. (2) Avoid bright colors and patterns: No one -- except maybe André Leon Talley -- will ever accuse you of being boring because of your socks. (3) Exposing a hairy gap of shin between your sock and pant leg is the sock-world equivalent of plumber’s crack. So either wear your pants very long or buy knee-length dress socks like the elegant ones at John Lobb. We like their streamlined selection of four functional colors (black, brown, navy, and gray) and two luxurious fabrics (cotton for summer and a wool-cotton blend for winter). The knee-length model won’t slide down your leg; it’s lightweight, narrow-ribbed, and, at $55, nearly as self-indulgent as a pair of Lobb shoes. For casual and sport socks, SmartWool -- a Colorado company that makes exquisitely comfortable socks from a super-fine grade of merino wool -- can’t be beat. A wide range of models, from “ultra cushion running” to “adventure hike,” are available at Paragon Sports (867 Broadway, at 18th Street; 212-255-8036), and Orvis (522 Fifth Avenue, at 44th Street; 212-697-3133) carries a “casual dress” model, but that’s an ankle-length sock, so watch out for rule No. 3.