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Sock It To Me: In Praise Of An Evergreen Holiday Gift

Socks on display in the NPR gift shop.
Petra Mayer
Socks on display in the NPR gift shop.

It's the holiday gift for when you can't think of what else to give. Good for old, young, women, men, north, south — NPR even sells 'em! Socks. And they are having their moment. "Socks have gone through their ups and downs and have had very very many different moments in the fashion world, and there's certainly a resurgence today, as you have probably noticed," says Steven Frumkin, a dean at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. "People want to make a statement, and one of the nice ways of doing it is to have a pair of socks that says something."

Interview Highlights

On whether design students are paying more attention to socks

I think they are, I think for two reasons — one is ... they participate in the display of socks, and I think they also realize, as they've been reading and reading, that socks are a business, and one could go into that business because you've started a sock company, you've been part of a sock company, you've designed for a sock company, or you're in the business end of a sock company. So why not take the opportunity to participate in a fun product!

On who sets the sock trends

You know, that's interesting. There are many different people. Probably the most famous politician was our President 41, George Bush, who used to wear red socks, you might remember. Whoopi Goldberg, over the years, has worn all kinds of socks. There are also people who make a statement by not wearing socks — you may have seen [MSNBC contributor] Donny Deutsch on TV, drawing attention to his feet in a slightly different way.

On Scott's socks — burgundy with little blue dots, worn with a pinstripe suit

Okay, so you look like a clown! I'm sorry, you can cut that out if you want. You know, that's the beauty of socks — you're comfortable with it, makes you feel good, you're talking about it now, and it sounds like you put together an outfit that's colorful and subdued, but proper.

This story was produced for radio by Ian Stewart and Steve Tripoli, and adapted for the Web by Petra Mayer

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.