A man can never have too many good ties or socks. These particular ‘plain or fancy’ socks come from a small leaflet entitled His Happy Christmas, published by Austin Reed in the 1940s:
‘For finding gifts for men which touch just the right chord of gratification, there could hardly be a more suitable place than Austin Reed’s, where masculine whims and vanities are served at all seasons and in all circumstances.’
The Austin Reed gentleman might have received a jacket or waistcoat in suede or leather, or a Golf Jac (sic) of ‘Ventile gaberdine, rainproof without being airtight.’ Perhaps a spotted silk dressing gown, from a choice to suit ‘old and young, staid and spirited’ to add ‘that triumphal touch to leisure hours.’ But the ‘way to a man’s heart may be through his neck!’ so then the sensible choice would have been a ‘woollen scarf from Scotland.’ How romantic.
Even today, there aren’t many sartorial areas where men can serve their ‘whims and vanities’ at Christmas. I am sure socks – striped, ribbed and plaid – are walking out of the various shops on Jermyn Street in huge numbers this week. Perhaps a scarf and hat set for a riotous change. Probably not underwear – except for gentleman shoppers of a certain sexual persuasion.
And I can’t even bear the thought of comedy ties…
“A man can never have too many good ties or socks”. Hmm. The last tie I wore was probably for a funeral about 20 years ago. Socks are somewhat more practical, but a sturdy pair, with regular applications of anti-perspirant can last a couple of months before needing a wash.
Forget Jermyn St for ties: Kilgour has the bestest, IMHO.