Back in the heyday there was only one white sock for the college man to wear with his Weejuns: wool ones by Adler. Though the ad above testifies to Adler’s pristine whiteness, it was actually much cooler to bleach them a sickly yellow color.
I stumbled across the above image (which you can find on eBay) via an incoming link from a blog called Greensleeves To A Ground, which covers classic cool from a French perspective. The guy in the ad (circa 1963), looks like he got a trip to Europe as a graduation present.
In fact, 1963 was the year my mother went to Europe with two girlfriends — for the whole year. Back then you could save your money from a part-time job and spend an entire year seeing all of Europe, something that’ll never be possible again in anyone’s lifetime.
Anyway, the French site has some great vintage images. It also has a post on Adler socks that includes a music file of a song called “Adler Sock” by a ’60s garage band called The Denims, plus comments from Ken C. Pollock — subject of our “Southern Gentleman” Q&A — rendered in French, which are kind of fun to read.
Here’s an encore of Mr. Pollock’s remarks on the collegiate wardrobe from the Ivy heyday, and how jaundiced Adler socks fit into the look:
We had pretty much a uniform, just like college students have today with their t-shirts, cargo pants and flip-flops. Then it was Weejun penny loafers, which had to be as decrepit as possible, often held together with duct tape. We wore thick white woolen socks by Adler. On the label it said “Do not bleach,” so of course we all bleached them. It turned them a sickly yellow color, and that was standard.
Then we wore khakis or chinos, but the kind we tried to find were not the better brands like Corbin. There were a couple of companies that used to make them for the Army in World War II. They were only $5.95 and had a rough quality to them, and developed a lived-in quality quicker than a better brand of khakis.
Then most of us wore university-striped Gant shirts and Baracuta jackets. For dressing up, we wore a gray herringbone jacket and a thick, heavy-silk club tie.