Socks of all types protect your foot from blisters, keep your feet warm and dry, and allow you to express your special fashion sense. The word appears to come from the Latin, soccus, a term for a soft shoe worn by comic actors during the Roman Empire. Since then, socks have become everyday garments. Socks today come in hundreds of colors, fabrics, styles and patterns-from the most casual to the most dressy. Argyle socks fall into the casual category. Argyle socks have diamond shapes that run up the outer side, or sometimes just around the cuff; most argyle socks are multi-colored, ranging from muted to the most riotous color combinations.
Argyle socks first became popular with the masses in the U.S. in 1949 when the president of Brooks Brothers, John Clark Wood, brought them to the states for a new casual look. He became aware of the sock pattern when he saw them on a golfer during a golf tournament he attended in Scotland. As the story goes, argyle patterns were first formed when Scots clansmen cut their traditional tartan plaids on the bias for use as foot coverings, thus creating the unique diamond pattern on the side of the sock.
Knitting patterns for argyle socks became popular, and they remain so, but most people these days purchase their socks of any pattern through retail outlets. With the advent of commercial knitting machines, knitting socks fell out of favor except with those hobbyists who still enjoy the challenge of the complex argyle pattern.
Argyle patterns on socks, and other clothing items such as sweaters and vests, go in and out of vogue through the years. Argyle socks have long been associated with duffers - the classic golfing outfit that comes to mind is a cap, golf shirt, knit vest, knickers, and of course - argyle socks.
There is some discussion among historians of clothing as to where argyle socks originated exactly. While many fashion scholars attribute the argyle pattern to people living in the county of Argyll, or Argyllshire, in west central Scotland, still others belie that conclusion because of the difference in spelling. Regardless of the exact location, most all fashionistas agree that argyle socks were first worn in Scotland - and that argyle socks will continue to be popular casual accessories for years to come.