Tall Black Socks

(Picture shown not the writer!)

Twenty years ago, the only people who wore tall black socks with shorts were sixty-plus year old men.

Some were vacationers accessorizing with clip-on sunglasses, fanny pack, and a large camera hanging from their neck. Others were sample junkies wandering Costco mid-afternoon like golden-age zombies feeding on promotional products served in tiny white paper cups.

But, as often happens, the fashion winds changed and began blowing in a new direction.

I was at a party recently with a group of high school/college aged students and noticed each of them wearing shorts with tall black socks. But, unlike the afore-mentioned persons, they were cool.

So I don’t sound like a complete fashion idiot, I understand this is not new. The trend has been fully accepted for some time. The issue is more of a personal one, specifically, when or if I adopt it as my own.

When the trend first emerged I considered joining in, but did not. When it was picking up steam, I thought about it once again, but resisted. Now that it is well-accepted, I still haven’t made the leap.

Here’s my reason. As much as I hate to admit it, I am a middle-aged man. (Though it’s no surprise to others, it’s still a shock to me.) I don’t know how it happened and I still can’t quite wrap my brain around it but, nevertheless, I am no longer young.

The practical ramifications of such a sobering reality is that I am half-way between the older men who are “black sock mocked” and the young men who are “black sock cool.” I know that if I try to be fashion-savvy by wearing tall black socks with my shorts, I run the danger of being one of “those guys.”

You know the ones I’m talking about. We’ve all seen them. You probably know one. They try so hard to be hip that it screams “desperate.” Desperate to be young again. Desperate to be cool. Desperate to fit in. It’s the fashion version of scratching your fingernails on the chalkboard and I don’t want to be one.

I’ve yet to decide whether I will start wearing tall black socks with shorts, but I have reached a conclusion on something greater. 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us that, “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” While we may be obsessed with how we look and what we wear, God is far more concerned with something no one can see… our hearts.

I can’t help getting older. I can’t reverse time and be young again. I won’t be able to keep up with all the latest styles and trends, but what I can do is work on my heart. Instead of being desperate to be young, cool or to fit in, I can be desperate to have a heart that honors and please the Lord. And that, never goes out of style.

  • Susie Haught

    Hey, Donovan,
    I can relate to this– The first time my 22 year old son was frantic because he needed black socks I was a proud mama. I assumed he was buying them to wear under a nice pair of black slacks for a nice respectable interview. I was wrong on both accounts…again. I’ve learned not to assume anything when it comes to the young. Ask questions first, then roll on the floor in hysterics! I’m waiting for plaid polyester pants and Nehru jackets to come back in style…hated the pants, loved the jackets!

    I’m grateful the Lord only looks on the inside…not so grateful about the getting older bit–I don’t like it when my son rolls his eyes at me. I’ve taken to dragging him along when I go clothes shopping. Win/win.   

    Susie Haught