On the 27th of March, I hit 44 years of age.

As well as my usual birthday presents of an annual subscription to ‘The Rake’ and ‘Carve’ magazines, I received further literary stimulation in the form of a book titled, ‘Socks: The Rule Book.’

Socks - The Rule Book

To date, when it comes to colour, I have been rather unadventurous as far as covering my rather petite sized seven feet.

Black and blue is the dominant bruising force in the Michelsberg sock drawer.

When it comes to formal attire, I feel a certain level of restraint is called for in the area of no man’s land, that lies between the hem of a chap’s trouser and the top of his shoe.

I abhor ‘snazzy’ stripy socks, like those worn by Peter Jones on Dragon’s den. Is this rainbow of colour in his ankle region supposed to declare a playful, or, perhaps, rebellious nature?

Personally I find the look childish and highly inelegant.

Hardy Amies said, “the colour of your socks should match the colour of your suit, or trousers.”

I agree in part with this sentiment, although I will occasionally wear a pair of red socks to inject a little colour into an outfit, if the tone of my suit and tie are relatively similar and rather understated.

I vividly remember walking into a department store in Rome and standing before a wall of socks representing every colour under the sun. It was mind-blowing and in a way, rather surreal and beautiful. Perhaps I need to be a little more open-minded with regard to the colour of my suiting, which for the most part, is fifty shades of blue.

My brands of choice are Pantherella (made in England) and John Lewis’s Italian merino wool collection.

Whilst the former company lauds the benefits of a “Hand-Linked toe” – where the toe seam is closed by hand, giving an almost seamless and thus more comfortable toe – to me, the most important criteria in selecting my socks is length.

One of the ultimate sartorial sins is wearing a pair of socks that is too short. What could be worse than a pale, hairy leg, protruding from a man’s strides?

In my opinion they must come to just under the knee, preventing the dreaded calf-flash at all costs.

Who can forget the scene in ‘Casino’ when Sam Rothstein (De Niro) is told by his secretary he has a visitor. He gets up from his desk to reveal he is wearing no trousers, walks over to a closet and slips on a pair straight from the hangar. This is a guy who doesn’t do creases.

More importantly, check out his socks – perfect!

Full Length Socks - De Niro

Rule number 1 (in my new sock book) is that “Socks must always be worn.”

I agree entirely with this. If I see on instagram another double-monk shoe worn with no socks, I’m going to need therapy for anger issues. The only time you can get away with going commando is when you have a tan and are wearing loafers / a driving shoe.

As far as the rest of their rules go, it’s pretty much common sense.

When it comes to material, natural fibres such as cotton and merino wool breathe better, although a small addition of synthetic fibre such as lycra or nylon will help them keep their shape / last longer.

I personally find thick, woolly socks rather ugly. The only ones I own are ‘Bridgedales’ and they only ever get to come out to play when I’m having a stomp in my walking boots.

For formal wear, I always go as thin as possible, unless it’s the winter, and then I’ll treat myself to pure cashmere…bliss.

I’ve done a decent amount of digging and spoke with a few people who know their onions, and the top brands (roughly in escalating price order) to look out for are, Viccel, Gammarelli, Pantherella, Falke, Chup,  Bresciani, Zimmerli and William Abraham.

So go forth my friends and give your toes a treat!

On the business front, Mr Anderson has had a record month in Manchester, and my year end meeting with my accountant “Mr P” was very positive.

I’m all out for “singing when you’re winning,” but we’re not getting complacent. Still a long way to go and much we can improve.

As my old school reports used to say, the lad still needs to pull his socks up. Damn right. World domination ain’t for the half hearted.