Socks say a lot about a man. Argyle indicates a respect for tradition, holes betray stress, and horizontal stripes announce ambition. But what does a tableau of smiling bacon strips mean? What about an ankle-born portrait of the commander in chief? Foot Cardigan's eccentric stockings, a panoply of monsters, foodstuffs, and neon swirls, signify nothing. They're in it for the laugh.
A monthly subscription service, Foot Cardigan sends out mailings filled with enough randomness to make reaching into the mailbox exciting and guarantee its clients will never have to walk around in worn-out socks. The service is practical - socks may be the only part of a wardrobe that doesn't particularly benefit from scrupulous sizing - but designed for impracticality. The point of wearing whimsical socks is to start a conversation, something that can prove more valuable than gravitas in the office and less grating than paisley when you head to a sports bar.
Where Foot Cardigan differs from its chief rival, Sock Panda, is that the five men behind the project design each pair of socks themselves instead of relying on outside silly sock manufacturers. The result is eclectic – neon assault rifles eclectic – but consistently comfortable. Each pair combines combed cotton with polyester and spandex for a comfortable fit that doesn't itch and can take a bit of a beating. They are also tight enough to stay up, so you're guaranteed to be able to flaunt some shin style. [$9/Month; FootCardigan.com]