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Ask Chris Black: What’s Going on With Socks?

Photo: Chris Chang

Chris Black has returned to the Strategist with a monthly column to answer all of your burning questions — from super-specific style predicaments and workout and tennis recs to foolproof host-gift ideas that will get you invited back to the beach house.

I recently lost my Garrett Leight sunglasses. Recommend me something classic but unique.

I love how this is more of a command than a question. I am happy to help. When I got Lasik eye surgery a few years ago, a whole new world of sunglasses opened up to me. Without the confines of aftermarket prescription lenses, I was able to finally shop for shades in an unobstructed way. I have never looked back.

If you like Garrett Leight, you should check out his dad Larry’s brand, Oliver Peoples. Maybe you have heard of it. They are the undisputed kings of cool, classic California sunglasses. The Davri is a style I quite like. It feels like a chic-er Wayfarer, is made in Japan, is logo free, and comes in several colors. Classic black feels like old Hollywood, but with the cognac-colored lens, the tortoise is also a winner.

I ventured to the LES for the launch party of this brand and assumed these glasses were a little too ’90s rock star for someone like me who leans more traditional, but I was pleasantly surprised. I watched as every face shape you could imagine tried them on for photos, and they looked good on everyone. The light tortoise and blue are funky but not crazy, but again, you can go with all black if you feel safe. They are priced at $249, which is more than fair.

The Owen from Stüssy is simple and comes in seven colors. I like the classic light tortoise. The price is so reasonable ($140) you can get a few and get a little crazy when the mood hits.

If you are looking for something round and light, this pair from Celine is perfect. Decidedly retro, made in Japan with a chic blue lens, it will work in every situation where the sun shines.

Persol PO3269S

Last but not least, a classic from Persol. I wore these in my early 20s and have been thinking about the brand again. I love the iconic arrow detail on the arms, and the Havana acetate with the polarized brown lenses is tonal and cool. You can’t miss.

Any short-sleeve or summer shirt recs that aren’t camp collars?

I love this question because I don’t wear camp-collar shirts. They just don’t work for me. Every wedding I have attended in the last two years is chock-full of guys in printed camp-collar shirts. And let me say: Some have been more successful than others. Plenty of great summer button-down shirts look cool and have a standard collar.

As a guy from the South, I am partial to seersucker, but sometimes the classic blue-and-white stripe can feel a little too country club. Luckily, mfpen has done a short-sleeve version in Italian deadstock navy in a relaxed fit with a simple-spread collar.

[Editor’s note: mfpen lists prices in euros, so the price shown here is an approximate conversion to U.S. dollars.]

Linen is tough because it can go wrong quickly, especially a white linen shirt. You don’t want to look like a sunburnt dad in Mykonos on holiday. Luckily, Sunspel does a short-sleeve linen shirt in an excellent range of colors, but green seems to be the best. You can wear it buttoned up or over a white shirt.

I am cable-knit pilled, but I never thought it could work during the warmer months. My employers at J.Crew found a way with a short-sleeve cotton cable-knit that will look good at work or on the sand.

I inherited a few of these from my dad (I am wearing a striped one in the photo for this column), and they get more wear than I imagined. It takes a little styling to make it work (this e-comm photo isn’t helping) because done wrong, you can show up looking like Dwight Schrute. But I believe in my readers. Go with the blue, buy it slightly oversize, and don’t button it too high.

What’s going on with socks? Are no-show socks back in the circuit, or are crew socks still the go-to for summer? 

I want to be very clear. No-show socks are a crime. No matter how low cut, they peek out and reveal the wearer to be a nerd. I am sorry — I don’t make the rules.

Don’t do it. I don’t wear socks with loafers, but a simple crew is okay if you must with sneakers. Some options are below.

Buy a pack of these and stop thinking so much. They have no visible logos (there is only something printed on the bottom side under the toe), they stay in place, and they are cheap.

Another trend crime that has taken over the streets is mixing brands. Nike socks should be worn with Nike shoes— Adidas socks with Adidas shoes, etc. I wear Nike shoes to the gym, and these are the best socks for that purpose. The little bit of extra cushioning is nice. Black or white only; gym socks are not the place to experiment.

I hope you already know this, but if not, for all your sock needs, Uniqlo has you covered. I buy the basic ribbed-knit navy versions in bulk year-round, but they have several flavors available. I was shopping with a friend recently who bought several pairs in red. Go crazy.

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Ask Chris Black: What’s Going on With Socks?