I'm a little "quirky".
There are a few things, that for some reason, just tickle my fancy.
Umbros, overalls, Xenergy, neon colors (green in particular) and fun, tall, socks (most often striped).
Now I know it's currently Fashion Week over there in NYC - but apparently not everything that is "cool" is walking the catwalk... The "in" crowd in Silicon Valley is rumored to be rocking the striped socks these days - and last time I checked... so am I.
A Foot in the Door in Silicon Valley
Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER and NICK BILTON
Published: February 3, 2012
FOR barristers in 18th-century London, it was shoulder-grazing wigs. For the Mad men of 1950s New York, it was briefcases and fedoras. For the glass-ceiling-shattering women of the 1980s, it was shoulder pads.
And for today’s tech entrepreneurs in high-flying Silicon Valley, it is flamboyantly colored, audaciously patterned socks.
In a land where the uniform — jeans, hoodies and flip-flops — is purposefully nonchalant, and where no one would be caught dead in a tie, wearing flashy socks is more than an expression of your personality. It signals that you are part of the in crowd. It’s like a secret handshake for those who have arrived, and for those who want to.
“I have been in meetings where people look down and notice my socks, and there is this universal sign, almost like a gang sign, where they nod and pull up their pant leg a little to show off their socks,” said Hunter Walk, 38, a director of product management at YouTube, whose favorite pair is yellow, aqua and orange striped.
Some say the craze took hold because socks are an acceptable shot of flair in a dressed-down, male-dominated culture — and peek out when entrepreneurs present their latest apps onstage at the tech world’s frequent conferences. Others offer a perhaps more universal explanation. “Girls notice,” said Matt Graves, 37, a communications director at Twitter, who prefers orange and blue stripes.
Showy socks hark back to the 1700s, when people wore them embroidered or in outlandish colors, fashion historians say.
While the recent resurgence in garish styles is global, Northern California shoppers particularly favor them, especially pairs like “argyles in quite screamy colors,” said Mikael Soderlindh, a founder and the chief executive of Happy Socks, a four-year-old Swedish brand that many tech types wear.
“They are No. 1 pioneers, so they need something to express themselves as pioneers and cool dudes,” Mr. Soderlindh said in a phone interview from Stockholm.
Brilliantly colored and patterned socks have been spotted on entrepreneurs including Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive (colorful stripes); Jim Breyer, an early Facebook investor at the venture capital firm Accel (red and purple); and Om Malik, the founder of GigaOmniMedia, a blog network (polka dots).
And they can be found on social networks like Path, Instagram and Twitter, where techies like to show off images of their natty ankles.
Lee Sylvia, a sock buyer at Sockshop and Shoe Company, which has stores in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, Calif., said that sales of wild socks were up, an observation echoed by other local sock specialists.
Selling particularly well: geometric patterns, pink and purple, orange and black for the San Francisco Giants, socks with words like “bacon” and “beer,” and “anything with ninjas,” she said.
The most popular styles cost $12 to $40 a pair and are made of combed cotton or wool by companies like Happy Socks, Anonymousism, Paul Smith and Corgi.
Silicon Valley footwear has not always been so fashionable. Mark Zuckerberg’s preference for Adidas open-toed sandals have helped land him on many a worst-dressed list, and Sergey Brin, a founder of Google, rarely leaves home without his Vibram FiveFingers nylon shoes.
Socks, on the other hand, are a nod to fashion without appearing as though you are playing by mainstream rules that Silicon Valley shuns — like, heaven forbid, dressing up.
“Let’s say you are wearing sweat pants and a hoodie, but you have really cool socks on,” said Joey Flynn, 24, a product designer at Facebook whose favorite pair is festooned with orange and red elk. “It can be this rebellion against everything, but I’m still considerate about how I put myself together because I have these really cool socks.”
Travis Kalanick, 35, co-founder and chief executive of Uber, the on-demand taxi service, began wearing statement socks at his previous company, which sold software to businesses.
“I started having to suit up for meetings with Fortune 500 companies,” said Mr. Kalanick (his favorite: hot pink). “I wanted to keep a little of my geeky computer engineering flair without people thinking I was nuts.”
For some, like Mr. Flynn of Facebook, Mr. Walk of YouTube and Mr. Graves of Twitter, colorful socks serve a more practical purpose. The three men are colorblind, so they tend to choose neutral clothing and colorful socks because they go with everything — though Matt Van Horn, a sock fanatic who works at Path, said his wife, Lauren, would disagree. His pink socks, she has told him, clash with his green shoes.
Women’s socks may be more intriguing than men’s, it seems.
“Sometimes I will even browse the women’s section and get the XXL, because they have all the fun colors,” said Andrew Trader, 42, an investor at Maveron who helped found Zynga. (He is partial to wool socks with bright stripes as well as a pair with an American flag pattern.)
Diana Crane-Herve, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, said workplace fashion fads like outlandish socks are often an unconscious way to deal with worries about job security or fitting in.
But Mr. Trader claimed his socks give him a professional leg up in a different way — because they stretch to his knees, instead of below his calves.
“I love high socks because they do the same thing for your calves that compression shorts do for your thighs: keep the circulation going and give your calves all kinds of energy,” he said. “I have plenty of energy throughout the day, and the secret is high socks.”
My mother doesn't love funny socks, my friends don't particularly love fun socks either... but for me, it's a very easy pick me up :)
But I particularly love the comment from these so called "nerds" about the value tall socks, or even more so "compression socks" offer :)