Along with the general movement these days towards better dressing and personal expression through style, a certain element of dandyism has again come to the fore. However, instead of exploding with color, pattern and anachronistic flourishes, today’s dandies are taking a refined and targeted approach to flair.
In many ways, this is a natural extension of the resurgent interest in menswear, a focus on quality and the unique roles history and social provenance play in gentlemanliness. Another factor is younger men of style seeking to insert a little distinctive expression into clothing that must still conform, more or less, to the realities of workday life.
Enter hook + ALBERT. This new accessories brand is one of the first to really focus its wares on the desire of stylish men to find ways of injecting life and personality into their wardrobes without necessarily going all peacock. What began with a mission to create, colorful yet stylish dress socks with the comfort and support of athletic socks, expanded to include a range of clever and colorful accessories.
The socks are H&A’s core product line, and they are wonderful. Vibrant colors and fun, work-friendly patterns can now pop out from beneath suit trousers and khakis alike. Company founders Adam and Cory view socks as “ankle accessories” and opted to reinterpret, and indeed reconstruct, the dress sock itself. Click here to learn about the welcome technical features of hook + ALBERT socks, like cushioning and arch support.
And, while they first sought to bring change to the luxury sock market, they also felt it was important to offer their customers those hard to find little accessories that can truly make ones’ look unique.
Another big hit has been their line of colored dress shoelaces. Such a simple idea, but such a huge impact on personal style; we love them. Colored shoe laces can dress up any shoe, from a beat up brogue to a boardroom-ready cap toe. By going bright or subtle you can give your shoes, and your overall look, a punch of color or simply a hint of something unique. Laces come in a standard 30-inch length and fit dress shoes and low boots.
We are especially fond of the stylish incongruity a pair of red or orange laces create when worn with heavy-soled wingtips. It gives the outfit an unexpected personal twist while not taking away from one’s overall look.
Lapels can be a tricky thing for a modern gent. Once, a man was sartorially naked without something in his lapel hole – after all, it’s there for a reason. These days it is hard to put one’s lapel to work without looking overly affected; a pocket watch chain secured with granddad’s favorite fob is just too vintage for most men. Flowers, though Springy and sophisticated, inevitably lead to being asked if one is heading off to a wedding. Still, there is something undeniably swanky, and distinctly gentlemanly about displaying a tasteful token on one’s lapel.
Hook & ALBERT’s solution was to create a new take on the boutonniere. Handmade of soft mercerized cotton, each unique crochet flower secures to the jacket lapel via a shell button on the back. We are partial to the Storm Blue, but as with their shoe laces, the color chosen – bold or subtle – can project the wearer’s mood, personality and sense of style.
The brand’s simple hopsack neckties are of a contemporary, narrow cut and well-finished. The tie’s colorful contrast backing located where it lays against the shirt collar (in our case, vibrant red for a navy blue tie), has both practical and aesthetic functions. The detail also gives it a fun tweak known only to the wearer. The choice of hopsack also gives the tie a slightly informal, vintage air that is well suited for casual dress, letting it take on the role of a stylish accessory.
Prince Albert, husband to Queen Victoria, liked to wear his pocket watch on a simple chain secured to his vest through a button hole. The excess length of the chain would drape across his vest in a stylish swag. As average gentlemen followed this royal fashion cue, it became known as an “Albert” chain. A single Albert chain has at one end a vest fastener, often a t-bar or decorative button, and at the other a small “hooked” clasp securing the Albert to the pocket watch. Want to see what a single Albert looks like? Head over to OTC’s Facebook page – we found a great example.
OTC is happy to recommend the creative and well-made accessories of hook + ALBERT.