This image from the Japanese illustrator Hiroshi Watatani brings several things to mind. First there’s a formula you rarely see, and that’s a completely sober outfit — like this one in black, white and gray — combined with colorful socks. I’ll do a slight variation, wearing a solid tie plus rep-striped or motif socks, essentially transferring the patterns from my throat to my ankles. I’ve tried the bright-color thing (grey flannels, brown tassels, and yellow socks is a preppy classic), but I feel woozy, like the earth is spinning too fast.
And then there’s the shoe shine, which made me think of Fred Astaire’s number in “The Band Wagon” from 1953. Hmm, Astaire also liked socks that pop. Sure enough, in that scene he combines a monochromatic blue and gray outfit with colorful socks.
If you ever find yourself dreading dragging yourself out, put on some pop socks, a fresh shine on your shoes, and a dash of terpsichory as you head out the door, and you’ll find yourself with happy feet, and the positive energy will eventually work its way up. — CC