I happen to think that there's not much fun in plain socks. I like them striped or checked with my suits in a color that picks up something above the waist but doesn't match anything. Which sent me on a search for the pictured pair that's the featured item on the men's product page at Pantherella's web site and, naturally, I can't find a pair anywhere. Most of the Pantherella that is actually available for purchase lacks, shall we say, distinction.
It's not just Pantherella. For a variety of reasons, the geometrics and colorings of brands like Richard James and Dore Dore don't work for me and I've found only a few attractive offerings from makers like Bresciani and Marcoliani that don't cost $80 a pair for cashmere blends that may be good for three or four wearings. Which is what has finally led me to Gallo, an obscure brand that's currently my favorite maker of dress socks. Gallo has stripes, vertical or horizontal, and the quality is excellent. Of course, they're not easy to find either.
I have nonetheless managed to piece together a Gallo collection from several sources. I saw them last summer at Edward Green, which stocks a few colorways in London that are available by telephone (try their very dark navy with discreet red vertical stripes). LA's Welcome Hunters stocks several colorways (the ones in the photo above) that aren't sized but fit a medium foot. And The French Gentleman has others (look under Chaussettes) with the caveats that stock is low and the shipping is as much as a pair of the socks.
Now none of this matters if you're one of those men who is happy wearing navy blue socks every day. But if you see me with a smile on my face it might well be because I've got green socks with pink stripes hidden under my tan gabardine double breasted. Gallo makes socks.