I was a sock influencer in elementary school.
As part of my school uniform, we were mandated to wear an ill-fitting green jumper, a blouse with a Peter Pan collar and green knee-socks. In the interest of injecting the outfit with some much-needed individuality, I made the executive decision to start rolling my socks into meticulous inner tubes that encircled my ankles like plump donuts.
Much cooler, I remember thinking to myself.
Before I knew it, sock innovations started spreading like woolen wildfire across the ankles of my friend group, and I? I was the proud match-striker. That’s when I realized socks aren’t just socks. They are a tiny but powerful vehicle for personal style.
I carried this sentiment with me into adulthood, whereupon I started wearing another kind of uniform: the uniform of an adult human woman. This uniform isn’t as literal as the one I wore in elementary school in the sense that it isn’t strictly limited to a green jumper, but it is a uniform nonetheless, characterized by the presence of particular “staple” items: pencil skirts, button down shirts, trousers, blazers, knee-length dresses and footwear designated to be worn year-round in theory despite not necessarily being suited to it in practice.
That’s where socks come in. Even though I am most definitely not in elementary school anymore, socks have remained my go-to mechanism for making an outfit more me. I did, however, transition away from the ol’ donut roll-down trick, choosing to express my individuality through zesty colors and patterns instead.
Hysteria, a new stand-alone brand from Happy Socks, embodies that sentiment to a T, not only with its core mission to empower women to express themselves however they want, but also with a variety of styles through which to do just that. The diverse array speaks to the reality that socks don’t have to be an afterthought; in fact, they can single-handedly (single-sockedly?) elevate an outfit of staples into a something that feels truly unique.
A pair the color of bubble gum adds playfulness to the sophistication of a pencil skirt and short-sleeve button down, a combination I would conceivably wear to a meeting. Granted, I work in the fashion industry, so I can get a little funkier with pattern-clashing and color-mixing than most, but the principle is relevant to any sophisticated outfit for any sophisticated occasion: throw in a fun sock, and “the” uniform is suddenly your uniform.
Even if the socks are just a secret between you and the inside of your sophisticated trousers, their effect is powerful all the same, especially when you can roll up your pant legs after-hours and let the secret out. Boiled down, that secret is getting dressed without sacrificing the pure delight of feeling like the best version of yourself, or wearing your favorite not-so-practical shoes despite the chilly fall weather because your feet are snuggled inside stylish sleeping bags.
Sometimes you really can have your macaron and eat it, too.