Shoes without socks?

Is Lord's cricket ground right to insist that male members wear socks?

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PG Essentials : the gentleman's requisites

Although our "PG essentials" series is primarily focused on beginners, the content can also be a great refreshment for the more seasoned gentleman.

On the menu today : socks, handkerchiefs and hats.

No matter the type of classic ensemble you choose, fabric accessories such as socks, pocket squares and hats can have two distinct roles depending on the context :

(1) To temper a strong ensemble : In the case of a visually striking outfit (e.g. , large windowpane suit coat or jacket fabric, or large stripes), the right accessory will act as a softening element to balance a more daring look.

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Shoes without socks?

At the start of April, Marylebone Cricket Club, which owns Lord's, sent a strongly worded letter to its members, reminding them what they could and could not wear when visiting The Home of Cricket.

In particular, the letter honed in on what the club considered to be appropriate attire for attendance at the Lord's Pavilion and the Members' Friends' Enclosures.

According to the Evening Standard the letter said: “Members and their guests are expected to maintain an acceptable standard of dress while in the Members’ Friends’ Enclosures.

"To avoid any embarrassment... members must ensure that their attire, and that of their guests, is appropriate."

What constitutes 'appropriate' can be found in the content of Lord's' official dress regulations.

Within these regulations, alongside the rule that women should not wear bikinis or torn and ripped clothing to the club, comes the instruction that men should wear socks with their shoes.

The rules state: "Sandals and shoes worn without socks are not permitted".

Once you start looking into it, you'll find that there's actually a lot of etiquette relating to socks.

Most golf courses have strict policies when it comes to the top drawer toe warmers. Royal Birkdale, in Southport, which is ranked as one of the best courses in the UK says: "Smart tailored shorts may be worn with knee length socks or short socks."

On the Internet, countless websites list the rules for wearing socks, like commandments.

The Art of Manliness website suggests that:

  1. Socks should always match trousers
  2. Socks should always match each other
  3. Socks should always match the level of dress, for example 'If you’re wearing black-tie, then choose a quality, lightweight, knee-high sock with a sheen appearance.'

GQ magazine, meanwhile, offers advice for men wanting to know how to wear dress socks. It advises;

  1. Clash, but not obnoxiously.
  2. Pick a grown up motif
  3. Know how much sock to show
  4. Keep them in good shape

Other websites offer advice to men on how to wear colourful socks the right way, how to match your socks to your outfit and how to choose the best fabric for a sock.

But for all that guidance, more and more people are choosing to forgo the sock all together in favour of naked ankles. Does Lord's need to bring its sock policy into the 21st century? Or is it right to insist on wrapped up feet?

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