Fine-gauge socks that are coloured or patterned can add pizzazz to the most conservative of suits and help unleash a man’s creative side. That’s the logic behind Nicholas Life, an online destination for socks that was established last year by 30-year-old City lawyer-turned-web-entrepreneur Nicholas Lew.
“I wanted to do something outside law that concentrated on men’s accessories,” he says. Lew’s eureka moment came after buying a pair of dotty pink socks from a shop in Canary Wharf. The compliments he received from colleagues was inspirational – he recounts how one said “Nice, but I would never wear that colour myself”, only to turn up in the office in an identical pair a couple of weeks later.
The website, which features Italian and Korean-made luxury socks designed by Lew in London, divides the collection into colour, pattern, cotton, cashmere and silk. The six colour options range from navy and red to pink, all with a distinctive contrasting stripe below the cuff (£12; example pictured top left). Patterns include stripes, colour blocking, patches or spots (£16; examples in the remaining three pictures). Cotton socks come in red, green or navy (£32), while those in cashmere (blended with wool and silk) come in pastel hues (£32). Top of the range is the silk collection (£52), with the pièce de résistance a black pair featuring Swarovski black beads (£139) – perfect for teaming with a tuxedo but subtle enough not to cause a riot.
Lew also offers a novel service – socks by subscription, where customers sign up for a three-, six- or nine-month package to receive a different pair each month. Lew has had an encouraging response to the innovation, which starts at £35 for three months’ supply of randomly chosen socks delivered on a monthly basis. “Men like it,” he says. “Receiving them is always a nice surprise.”