Stocking Stuffers: Part I

Words by: Andrew Williams

Things have gotten a little heated around here lately. Would anybody mind if I talk about clothes? I should apologise in advance to our Jewish, Muslim, Druid and non-faith readers as this article makes reference to the Christian religious celebration of Christmas. No offence meant.

I read Andrew Hodges’ post full of useful suggestions for Christmas stocking fillers. Jumping on the bandwagon I thought, for what it’s worth, I’d provide a few suggestions of my own. You still have time to put your orders in and have them arrive in time for Christmas.

It’s a bit of a stereotype that standard issue Christmas gifts for the men of a household should be socks, ties and handkerchiefs. Funny really, as a sartorialist I honestly don’t mind such things, provided they’re the right socks, tie and handkerchiefs.


Pantherella Cashmere and Possum Socks: Pantherella are well known for their fine hosiery, and I’ve been loving their cashmere socks during England’s recent snowfall. With a mix of 85% cashmere and 15% Nylon (which increases endurance and helps the sock keep its shape) they’re warm and beautifully luxuriant. Short of sticking your foot in a baby Chinchilla nothing could be softer. Possum socks are bit harder to get hold of, on account of the critter from which the fur comes on residing in NZ and Oz. New Zealand was where I first happened across them, and they’re a joy to wear. Just as soft and warming as cashmere, experience tells me they’re a little more durable. Ideally worn with boots and heavy brogues. As to sources, A. Hume for Pantherella and ShopNewZealand for the Possum socks.


Blue Wool Knit Tie: This is the single most useful tie a man can have in his wardrobe. It suits either blue or grey suiting and sits with just about any shirting option. Any man that doesn’t have one should do. But I’ve mentioned all that before. Now,  a £90 Drake’s of London silk knit is not a stocking filler in my household. Cheaper, serviceable versions are readily available. I picked one up from Michelsons of London, who also make ties for other people.


Thornback and Peel Handkerchiefs: These Individual and unusual cotton handkerchiefs are hand printed by Juliet Thornback and Delia Peel, whom I met once at their Cockpit Arts studio space in London’s Holborn. A pack of three costs just £15, although I got mine for £10 at the Cockpit Arts open day. I wear one in my suit top pocket every day and love the fact that most people will never know the pattern is there. The ultimate in understated. They have a fully commercial website and deliver all over the World.


The Enormous Handkerchief Company: If you’ve ever read ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ you’ll know that a towel is the most massively useful thing in the galaxy. For those that haven’t read it see here . I’d argue that the big handkerchief is the second most useful. At 21inchs square, I use these as neckerchiefs under T-shirts in the summer; a bandana to keep the sun off my balding head when surfing; they suit the top pocket of linen or cotton jackets; and if the need arises you can always blow your nose on it. Scottish outfitter A.Hume sells them online.

More original ideas in the next posting.