Trouser Badgers are the Only Excuse

So I’m a bit concerned.

Yesterday I saw three Full Grown Women –good looking gals in their late 30′s and presumably employed in the financial district where I was meeting a friend for lunch. This in itself is not extraordinary. Seeing three women in the course of an afternoon lunch is not a big deal unless you happen to be a resident of one of this nation’s many splendored jails, incarceration facilities and/or hoosegows.

The reason I’m writing this, and you are no doubt breathlessly reading it, is that these full grown woman, by all accounts women who are Old Enough to Know Better were wearing solid, non-descript sweaters, solid, non-descript knee-length skirts and –get ready for it– KNEE SOCKS.

KNEE SOCKS! I almost died. In fact, since I live in Texas I “liketa” died. And it’s not like these three women were together! No, there were three separate women who all looked into their closet full of boring Talbot-ery (sorry Fran) put on their work-appropriate clothes and instead of tying on a fabulous scarf or wearing a say-something necklace decided “let me just yank these trouser socks allll the way up and pretend they’re boots” put on their loafers and called it an outfit.

The first one I could kinda give a pass. I mean, it’s been really cold here recently and Texans are not notorious for having a lot of winter wear. I thought maybe she didn’t have any tights or tall boots, and all her pants got eaten by a band of marauding trouser badgers. You know, that sort of thing. But when I saw a second and then a THIRD well…I almost broke my rule about not drinking after noon.

Ladies, please. Please do not wear knee socks in a professional setting. Yes they’re cute in a sort-of-tired-because-Reality-Bites-was-a-really-long-time-ago-and-why-don’t-people-just-get-over-it-seriously-I-mean-it-enough-with-the-lunchboxes way if you’re youngish and have an alterna-girl bent but seriously, SERIOUSLY, unless you are women’s field hockey player, bagpiper or a practitioner of the stripperly arts there is no conceivable reason for it.

Except for the badgers, of course.

24 Responses to “Trouser Badgers are the Only Excuse”

  1. Scarlett January 17, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    I wear knee socks. Kind of a lot, actually. I have even knitted myself a number of pairs that is greater than one. I’m a student, and nothing is cuter with an almost-knee length skirt and a fluffy puffed-sleeve shirt or an argyle sweater. They might not be the right scene for a woman in her forties, but I definitely look super-cute in mine.

  2. Toby Wollin January 17, 2008 at 4:42 pm #

    Knee Socks? I’m speechless. I don’t hink “knee socks” are even on the list – except if, for example, you are an architect visiting a construction work site in the winter and you want something a little bit more snuggly under your pant suit (no, actually, wool tights would be better) and you are wearing workboots or something ‘capable” so that you can walk over rough ground without spraining your ankles or something.

  3. Ponytail January 17, 2008 at 4:55 pm #

    Knee socks are great. I’m just finishing off making these http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring07/PATTclessidra.html and I can’t wait. Worn under slightly flared/bootcut trousers, they’ll keep me toasty warm, and there’s no chance of me flashing pale, goose-pimply skin.
    Tights never fit quite right, and it’s quite difficult to find wool ones in the UK – I only know of one place that does ‘em and they come in three colours only.

  4. Miss Elisabeth January 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm #

    I only ever ever wear kneesocks when I know my bare skin won’t show above them.

    Which, thankfully, is quite often because my skirts are generally long!

    And if it’s cold, I throw on some leggings and roll them up so they just meet the kneesocks and don’t show. The look of bare white skin above kneesocks is just . . . *shudders*

  5. Mo January 17, 2008 at 5:35 pm #

    While I agree that it may have looked odd on someone wearing a skirt, let’s make that the qualifier. I wear trouser socks all the time, but I don’t wear skirts. I refuse to sweat and itch and be uncomfortable in pantyhose when no one will ever see more than what might show in the top of a maryjane style. Which isn’t likely, as I don’t wear heels, but whatever. With a skirt, yeah, a little wierd, but to say don’t wear them at all is a bit much. They’re fine with pants and the dark ones are even nicer than non-opaque dark hose.

  6. me January 17, 2008 at 5:37 pm #

    “Seeing three women in the course of an afternoon lunch is not a big deal unless you happen to be a resident of one of this nation’s many splendored jails, incarceration facilities and/or hoosegows.” Ironically, schools and jails are the only places where permission must be given before one is permitted to use a restroom. I only say this because I can’t go out for lunch because I’m a teacher and, as much as I would like to meet friends for lunch, I can’t.
    Anyway, knee socks aren’t that weird, but then again, I teach adolescents. However, one of my students wore what looked like cable knit leg warmers with a denim mini-skirt and flip flops.

  7. Hel January 17, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    Sorry, I could not disagree more with this post. Kneesocks are great! They go really well with a knee-length skirt and a pair of mary-janes. That’s a frequent office look for me and I think it looks smart and is warm and comfortable. It’s important to note that there’s a difference between actual kneesocks, and trouser socks that don’t quite go up to the knee and have that ugly band around the top – I wouldn’t wear trouser socks that way. Proper kneesocks, though, are a good wardrobe booster.

  8. Michele January 17, 2008 at 6:15 pm #

    For me…only with lederhosen.

  9. rosarita January 17, 2008 at 6:31 pm #

    I live in a cold climate, wear mostly jeans and sweaters and adore kneesocks. In fact, each fall I make my way through the countryside to an Amish-y kind of department store that carries gorgeous plus size knee socks that come in wool blends and colors and cover my muscly calves nicely. I don’t wear them with skirts, as I’m pretty much addicted to matte tights whether they’re deemed *in style* or not, but for warmth and comfort under pants (or tall boots on very cold days) kneesocks are irreplaceable.

  10. Francesca January 17, 2008 at 7:20 pm #

    It seems to Francesca that most of the commenters are not technically disagreeing with Plumcake, they are simply saying that wearing knee socks is OK in situations where no one else will know, such as when one is wearing jeans or trousers.

    Hel, Francesca would like to know how old you are. Plumcake described the women she saw as being “good looking gals in their late 30’s and presumably employed in the financial district”

    What is OK to wear when one is 20 is not the same as what is OK when one is 37 and trying to look uber-professional.

    Francesca hath spoken.

  11. Toby Wollin January 17, 2008 at 8:28 pm #

    Francesca – my point exactly. In financial businesses (banks, insurance HQ, stock brokerage, etc. etc.), the dress standard (even in my little town) is what passes for formal there. When I worked for Equitable Life in NYC, the high rollers wore very expensive suits and shoes(men AND women) and the men even wore shirts with their initials embroidered on the cuffs(the really cool guys had the embroidery to match the shirt color, so that you really had to look hard to see it). In my small city, these folks wear extremely nice suits, shoes and expensive topcoats and the women wear the female version of the same – and hose and pumps. My sister works for the NASD in the DC area offices and I can tell you that it’s only recently that she has even worn pants suits. Hose and pumps. Even the clerical staff wears “nice” pants suits, skirt suits, pumps and hose. Wearing knee socks(where they can be seen) with loafers connotes an extremely informal office — and certainly from the point of view of someone (now, I realize I’m opening up the Pandora’s box here with this) who is old enough to have worked pre-business casual, and who also went through job interviews where I was questioned about where my husband worked and what form of birth control I used (I am not kidding about this), I can tell you that dressing in this informal way does not communicate competance, power or “I’m on my way up.” Even in this day of “business casual” (which I frankly hate – it does not help women and a lot of the guys I work with who dress that way look like slobs), women have to be extremely careful of the level of dress they choose if they want to be viewed as competant, smart and worthy of promotion. If you are working in the arts or entertainment, it certainly will be different, but in any organization that is based on money, the more formal the better(my two and a half cents).

  12. Sas January 17, 2008 at 8:39 pm #

    You are amazing. These are some of my favorite books. All really worth a read. Go Francesca! Enjoy Tel Aviv.

  13. AmyK January 17, 2008 at 8:44 pm #

    Witnessed in my office (accounting, definitely not an a profession that encourages sartorial experimentation) earlier this week: Knee high black nylons with GAUCHOS.

  14. Jennie January 18, 2008 at 12:04 am #

    If one wants (and has the ability) to look like a catholic high school girl, then knee socks with a cute plaid mini skirt are OK (tho’ if you are not in the adult film industry and are in your mid to late twenties, this should only be done in the bedroom). Knee socks with pants, OK. Knee socks with boots and gauchos that drape OVER the boots, OK. Otherwise get some tights instead!

  15. orora January 18, 2008 at 12:03 pm #

    Ponytail, those kneesocks kick ass! Did you have to alter the pattern to get them to fit your calves? I’m an avid sock knitter and the only reason I haven’t knitted kneesocks is because I dread doing the math to get them to fit my gorgeous generous gams.

  16. Tk January 18, 2008 at 12:07 pm #

    Going with the set of younger readers who are pro-knee-socks-in-appropriate-venues. Going for drinks with your friends in a mini dress and mary janes and chunky knit socks when you’re still regularly carded? Super cute. Wearing nylons or trouser socks and calling them knee socks? Not cute. Wearing pulled up trouser socks to the office when you’re nearing 40? Not remotely cute. Wearing white knee socks and a tiny plaid skirt and a white button up in the bedroom? Not my business but have fun!

  17. monkey January 18, 2008 at 5:30 pm #

    I have just one thing to say:
    Tights are the devil.

  18. E January 20, 2008 at 12:27 pm #

    Well, as a 23 years old graduate student, I sometimes wear knee-socks (most of them remnants of my high school years). And sometimes, guess what, I wear coloured tights underneath! And with wellies usually! Horrified? I can assure you it’s a lot of fun, it makes everyone smile and it has a knack for turning a drab or too stuffy outfit in an interesting (if quirky) one.

    Sure, what works now for a young girl like me might not work for a 40-something, but hey, what do I know?

  19. Poochie January 20, 2008 at 1:00 pm #

    I’m mid 30′s and have been wearing knee-socks this season. A lot of it is coming out of the big splash the Prada socks made in the fall. They are just as versitle, done well and paired properly with clothes, as tights (which I also love). But you have to also judge your work environment. I work in advertising and can probably get away with more.

    Or maybe I just look ridiculous.

    Either way, I like them and I’m wearing them.

    Luv
    Poochie

  20. Rachel of Cyberia January 21, 2008 at 3:07 am #

    Are gauchos back? Shoot me please, I knew they looked silly last time they were in fashion (1977) and I was EIGHT.

  21. Hel January 21, 2008 at 3:29 am #

    Hi Francesca,

    Since you asked, I am 33, and I work in a large corporate office in the internet sector. Most people I work with are my age or older, and while tattoos/piercings/hair colors are acceptable, most of my coworkers are fairly “normal” jeans/slacks/skirts and polos/knit tops kind of people. Most recently I wore kneesocks with a black sweater from Avenue, a knee-length skirt from Talbot’s and a pair of Dansko maryjanes. Comfy and cute!

  22. MissMarj January 21, 2008 at 12:26 pm #

    No. No. No. Knee socks are not good. Not even SJP could pull off this look (she tried it with Argyle socks and heels in SATC. Yuck yuck yucky yuck!) Yes, I’ll give you that they can be cute on the younger and Kookier among us but on someone that looks like they should know better – NO! Just wrong. I see a lot of Japanese ladies going around in knee socks and it just seems sinister to me – connotations of the submissive schoolgirl thing and whiffs of underpants vending machines *shudder*

  23. J.P. January 22, 2008 at 12:43 pm #

    We are experiencing serious closet overcrowding. Could you please send the Marauding Trouser Badgers over?

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  1. The Manolo Week in Review » Manolo's Shoe Blog - January 20, 2008

    [...] Plumcake… KNEE SOCKS! I almost died. In fact, since I live in Texas I “liketa” died. [...]