Thursday, 15 April 2010

Where does the Queen get her socks?

    If you look hard enough, you can get anything made for you. Take shoes, for instance. I've only found one manufacturer of ladies shoes in a UK15 and though their range is very nice it's a little limited if your tastes do not veer towards the slightly more flamboyant end of the spectrum. Not a problem though, when I'm prepared to shell out the cash for a made-to-measure last I've found a specialist who will happily make me any footwear I desire in whatever style I want, and an exact fit.
    Socks, however, are a different matter. Girl mode is easy enough in tights but it would be nice to be able to source a nice pair of ladies socks in a UK15. Such a simple piece of clothing, yet so elusive. You'd think they'd be no problem in bloke mode at least, and I guess that's the case. You can have any colour socks you want, so long as they are black. Or grey, or that horrible barf-tastic brown diamond pattern (Just what bloke under 80 wears those things?). Be still my beating heart!
    You'd think there would be someone out there making bespoke socks, but no. Not even the Queen has someone with a Royal Warrant for supplying her socks. And there in the microcosm of socks is my more general problem. Since being forced to poke my head above the parapet at the start of this year I've had more than one well-meaning person point out to me that my height alone need not be an impediment to my passing as a woman. And I have now grudgingly to admit they're right of course, every now and then when en femme I'll see my reflection and have a "Wow! You almost had it there!" moment. When not placed alongside a girl of the average sixteen inches shorter than me height, I can see it's not quite as unattainable a goal as I once thought it might be. But that alone, fun though it is chasing it, still isn't enough. To be convincingly female in appearance, you have to be able to do so in more than a few situations. And to return to my example above, you can't do that in bloke socks, no matter how good an actress you are.


  1. My daughter-in-law used to work for C&A (remember them?) They centralized their European buying operation and started supplying packs of mixed colour socks in black, blue and yellow. These sold well in mainland Europe but in the UK sales plummeted. British men do not wear colourful socks!

    Shortly after that C&A sold their UK shops to concentrate on more colourful countries.

  2. Lisa in Raleigh15 April 2010 at 23:03



  3. M&S have some cheerful socks in the men's range; they've even got pink. I bought some red ones to go with my hiking boots. "Are they for you or for him?" the woman at the check-out desk asked. "We'll share them," I said...

  4. The Queen wears socks???? Why, I'm positively mortified!

    Melissa XX

  5. I'm not sure about the colours being a major issue...

    Mrs Stace and I share socks as we have +/- the same size feet. 90% of our socks are... Black. And they're all womens socks (if I wear even the smallest mens socks then I end up with the heel half way up my calf...) The ones that are not black are beige (surely you can get that colour in mens socks?)

    Happy hunting...


  6. It's not just the colours, though some nice stripy ones would certainly go a long way. It's the styles. You can have any style you want, so long as it's designed to look good with brogues. I'm not ready for the golf course yet! (no knobblies on the trailie for a start)

    I had a good look, can't even find dyeable white sports socks in a UK15 any more. Sure I had some of those when I was a teenager.

    Sandals? Jesus? Jesus! :)
    I do have a nice pair of New Balance sandals, a bit Teva-like, but not quite the part.

    Melissa, I must ask the Queen next time I see her where she gets her socks. She probably has an equerry buy them for her at Marks and Spencer.

    In researching this piece I did find something very cool indeed, the circular sock knitting machine. It ticks all the boxes, antique machinery, craft, makes something useful. Fortunately I don't have the space for one, because Mrs. J would leave me if I found one.

  7. So, this look is out then?

  8. In the words of the immortal Tim Gunn, that's a lot of look! :)

    How bizarre, I've encountered that particular blogger through another sphere in bloke mode. Who was it said "There are only five real people in the world, that's why you keep meeting people you know"?

  9. James is a friend of Richard's, who stood in for him at a reading we did in Brizzle when Richard came down with the pox. Nice chap.

  10. I encountered him researching his cider book. Which, I see, is not yet out.