Having good taste and impeccable style doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes, it takes learning from the best in the industry to truly perfect dressing like a fashion-forward, modern man. Welcome to our series, “How to Be Stylish,” where we pick the brains of some of the most respected figures in fashion for their ultimate style tips.
For many fashion-forward guys, the most thought that goes into selecting a pair of socks or underwear for the day is deciding whether or not the undergarment in question is clean. And since these threads won’t see the light of day — unless you’re going shoe shopping or on an ultra steamy date — your socks and briefs quickly fall into afterthought territory. But Carrie Atkinson is committed to changing that notion.
In 2004, she launched Sock It to Me, a brand dedicated to creating fun socks for both men and women. With patterns from bacon strips to dinosaurs, the brand’s poly-cotton blend options are great for adding a much-needed jolt of energy to any outfit. Recently, Atkinson and her team expanded her sock empire to create equally fun underwear for both sexes. In this edition of “How to Be Stylish,” we talk to the sock queen herself about menswear and our new favorite accessory.
The Cheat Sheet: Can you tell me a little about yourself? How did you get to where you are now, career-wise?
Carrie Atkinson: I got to where I am career-wise via a mixture of hard work, focus, integrity, smarts, creativity, and luck.
CS: What inspired you to start a sock and underwear company?
CA: With a college degree and two years of searching, I wasn’t able to find a “real job” and leaned back on my entrepreneurial spirit: As a kid I had lemonade stands, jelly bean stands, sold homemade necklaces to my classmates, etc. I started what I thought to be the best of several ideas I had bouncing around.
CS: What is the one thing that every stylish man should invest in, besides fun underwear and socks?
CA: A clean hair cut.
CS: What are five things every modern man needs in his closet?
CA: A fitted dark suit, fitted button-down shirts, a couple nice pair of pants, solid colored T-shirts (fitted, of course), and a good pair of shoes that can be dressed up or down. Men have it easy in terms of fashion because with a couple of classic pieces, they can mix, match, and be set for a long time.
CS: Let’s talk about the patterns. How do you and your team scheme up such fun prints?
CA: Our design team receives inspiration from so many places: Life, trend spotting, travel, artist blog, and living in a creative city (or in a creative world, for that matter). Our in-house team creates designs, we hire contractors, and we pull from our yearly “Design a Sock” contests. We start a brainstorming session where all ideas are put on the table. Then we continue to refine through using our own judgement, input from others in the organization take a look, collecting customer feedback, and seeing the physical sample. The samples help us understand how the design is interpreted on a knitted product, how the design stretches or not, and how the placement on the [body] looks. All this refining is done until we have the right number [of] items for that particular season.
CS: Where do you see your brand five years from now?
CA: Expanded into new and carefully chosen product lines that maintain our exceptional quality and design.
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