News, Culture & Society

Does Boris Johnson only own one pair of socks?

There you are, out on the road, campaigning to get back on track after a small ‘domestic’ and be taken seriously as Britain’s next prime minister, when you realise that — cripes! — you’ve run out of clean socks.

It’s a perfectly understandable predicament, of course, under the circumstances. Booted out of the marital home and with your girlfriend’s flat under siege from nosey-parker Corbynista neighbours, it’s been tricky to find a sink to wash your socks in and a radiator to dry them on.

So perhaps the only remaining option was to root gingerly through the clump of socks stuffed into the nether recesses of the suitcase and fish out a trusty pair that could survive another day.

Or, in the case of Boris Johnson — possibly another two days.

It’s a perfectly understandable predicament, of course, under the circumstances. Booted out of the marital home and with your girlfriend’s flat under siege from nosey-parker Corbynista neighbours, it’s been tricky to find a sink to wash your socks in and a radiator to dry them on

Amid all his other travails, the Tory leadership contender has been spotted wearing the same distinctive socks three times in recent days. First at a hustings event in Birmingham on Saturday, then in several media interviews on Monday, and finally in a radio interview on Tuesday.

Perhaps wary of another PR stinker, Mr Johnson’s spokesman rushed to explain that he owns ‘multiple pairs’ of these unusual socks, which were purchased from the British Museum shop in London for £5.99 — they have since sold out — and are emblazoned with the image of a famously bloodthirsty ancient king called Ashurbanipal.

(This may not be a coincidence. Ashurbanipal, who ruled the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the 7th century BC, called himself ‘King of the World’ — while Boris, as a child, told his family he wanted to be ‘World King’.)

We should give Mr Johnson the benefit of the doubt and assume he dons a fresh pair of his Assyrian socks daily. But whatever the truth, in these politically charged times, the hosiery habits of a hopeful PM have raised an issue that is dividing our nation even more bitterly than Brexit.

So how often should you change your socks? What style is best for sweet-smelling feet and how can Boris avoid airing his dirty laundry in public . . ?

HOW TO AVOID CAUSING A REAL STINK

For most gentlemen, this is a question that scarcely need be posed: the answer, of course, is every day.

Amid all his other travails, the Tory leadership contender has been spotted wearing the same distinctive socks three times in recent days. First at a hustings event in Birmingham on Saturday, then in several media interviews on Monday, and finally in a radio interview on Tuesday

Amid all his other travails, the Tory leadership contender has been spotted wearing the same distinctive socks three times in recent days. First at a hustings event in Birmingham on Saturday, then in several media interviews on Monday, and finally in a radio interview on Tuesday

Men’s feet have an average of 250,000 sweat glands, according to the Californian Podiatric Medical Association, and leak up to half a pint of moisture every day.

Socks must soak all this up, and so the notion of wearing them for more than a day should fill any self-respecting man with horror.

Feet inside shoes provide three things micro-organisms love: moisture, warmth and food (dead skin cells). Sweaty feet and tight shoes are a risky combination for fungal infections such as athlete’s foot (Boris, be warned).

NOT ALL SOCKS ARE EQUAL

Style expert Peter York wears wool or cotton socks depending on the season — cotton at this time of year.

‘A firm called Pantheralla does very fine, ribbed cotton and wool socks that are perfect,’ he says.

They cost a pricey £14.50 a pair, but York adds: ‘Sometimes I save up for beautiful Italian socks that are marvellous for rich people — up to £50 a pair.’

Cotton socks (£12 for a 7-pack, m&s) are light and are less likely to shrink in the wash than wool versions.

Perhaps wary of another PR stinker, Mr Johnson’s spokesman rushed to explain that he owns ‘multiple pairs’ of these unusual socks, which were purchased from the British Museum shop in London for £5.99 — they have since sold out — and are emblazoned with the image of a famously bloodthirsty ancient king, Ashurbanipal

Perhaps wary of another PR stinker, Mr Johnson’s spokesman rushed to explain that he owns ‘multiple pairs’ of these unusual socks, which were purchased from the British Museum shop in London for £5.99 — they have since sold out — and are emblazoned with the image of a famously bloodthirsty ancient king, Ashurbanipal

Wool (£15 for a three-pack, M&S ) is better for cosy toes. Ideally go for Merino, which is soft, luxurious and also ‘wicks’ away moisture without becoming excessively damp.

Made from the fleece of Angora goats, mohair socks (£9 per pair, The Mohair Sock Company) are stronger than woollen ones and feel like silk (almost). Some customers claim online that they only wash their mohair socks once a year and that they never smell.

Fibres from the fast-growing bamboo plant make a fine sock (£15 for a two-pack, Bamboo Clothing) which is said to be more environmentally sustainable than cotton. Bamboo also has anti-bacterial properties.

Smooth, soft and an excellent insulator, silk socks (£8.50 per pair, The Wool Company) are naturally hypoallergenic, so will help to provide relief from itchy skin conditions such as eczema.

LET YOUR FEET DO THE TALKING

The length of your sock is crucial. ‘American presidents,’ says Peter York, ‘are taught to wear beautiful, plain, full-length socks so there is never a disconcerting patch of leg between the top of the sock and the bottom of the trouser.’

As for design, it’s possible to make a statement with your socks, but be careful.

‘Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow is a very important sock-wearer,’ says York. ‘He chooses very garish but elegant socks and knows exactly what he’s doing.’

A more reliable approach is to keep things simple — or you can get it seriously wrong.

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is a repeat loud sock offender. He wore Star Wars-themed socks to meet the former Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, and gave a speech at the World Economic Forum last year in purple socks festooned with yellow ducks. Did anyone take him seriously at these events? I doubt it.

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is a repeat loud sock offender. He wore Star Wars-themed socks to meet the former Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, and gave a speech at the World Economic Forum last year in purple socks festooned with yellow ducks. Did anyone take him seriously at these events? I doubt it. Pictured: wearing moose socks to meet Donald Trump

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is a repeat loud sock offender. He wore Star Wars-themed socks to meet the former Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, and gave a speech at the World Economic Forum last year in purple socks festooned with yellow ducks. Did anyone take him seriously at these events? I doubt it. Pictured: wearing moose socks to meet Donald Trump

Nigel Farage launched his Brexit Party at the European Parliament while flashing Union Jack socks, while Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, announced his withdrawal from the Tory leadership race last week while wearing socks bearing the message: ‘This is what a feminist looks like.’ (His erstwhile rival, Dominic Raab, had previously called feminists ‘obnoxious bigots’.) And don’t get me started on socks with sandals, as worn by David Beckham last month — a look previously modelled without much success by Jeremy Corbyn.

WHAT TO DO WHEN DOWN TO ONE PAIR

If you should find yourself with only a single pair of socks to wear for several days, make sure you choose the right ones or you’ll suffer from a case of bromodosis (smelly feet to you and me).

Some people swear by ‘magic’ anti-bacterial socks. These contain a yarn often made from copper, said to kill 99.9 per cent of odour-causing bacteria. Costing about £17 for five pairs on Amazon, they are popular with hikers.

A cheaper option is charcoal insoles, which absorb both moisture and noxious odours.

HOW ABOUT OTHER INTIMATE APPAREL?

UNDERPANTS: Dr Lisa Ackerley, visiting professor of environmental health at the University of Salford, has said it is vital to change your underwear every day. The student trick of turning your boxers inside out has no place in the grown-up world.

BRAS: Lingerie brand Rigby & Peller advises its customers to wash their bras every two wears. Most bras are fine to wash on a gentle setting in the machine.

TOWELS: These should be washed once a week: if left damp for long periods, they can lead to the proliferation of dangerous bacteria including E.coli and even salmonella.

BEDCLOTHS: Some scientists advise washing sheets and pillow cases once a week, or every fortnight at most. This is because overnight we shed thousands of skin cells, which are food for the microscopic dust mites known to cause asthma in some people.

PILLOWS: Experts from the Fine Bedding Company say that duvets should be washed at least twice a year and pillows more frequently.

TEA TOWELS: Wash these every day: exposed to dangerous bacteria such as E. coli in some foods, damp tea towels in a warm environment can quickly become a breeding ground for microbes.

FINALLY, SHOULD YOU LET A DOG LICK YOUR FACE?

Boris received a licking on Tuesday — not from opponent Jeremy Hunt, but from an adorable terrier puppy called Lucky. It had some of us murmuring ‘how cute’ and others squirming. So is it unhealthy to let a dog lick your face?

In fact, it’s probably less dangerous than wearing the same pair of socks three days on the hoof. Dog saliva poses little — if any — risk to humans as long as you have no cuts or abrasions. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.