BobbySoxers“Bobby-soxers” or “bobby-sox girls” was a phrase coined in the Forties to refer to over-zealous young female devotees of Frank Sinatra, the first singing teen idol. The name alluded to the fashion among teenage girls at the time to wear short white ‘half-hose’ socks. Rosie Cowling reports.

In 1945 the press, who were by now calling Frank Sinatra “The Voice”, due to the apparently hypnotic affect of his singing over young women, reported mass hysteria at his performances. One newspaper in January of that year claimed that a woman was seen to have “sat through 56 consecutive performances, which means about eight consecutive days.”

Other teen admirers allegedly had to be physically removed by attendants after fainting with hunger and fatigue after sitting for six or eight hours without food.

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Bobby socks are also associated with the Fifties ‘sock hop’, an informal sponsored dance at American high schools, now imbued in popular culture and referenced in songs like “At the Hop” by Danny and the Juniors and “American Pie” by Don McLean and Fifties nostalgia films like American Graffiti and Grease.

The term sock hop refers to the requirement of school gymnasiums for shoes to be removed to protect the varnished floor.

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Bobby socks are a fun and comfortable way to ‘girly up’ masculine footwear like brogues or saddle shoes. The socks are generally ankle length and white with a lace upper that folds over, sometimes with a ribbon bow to add a decorative element to a plain shoe.

The purpose of the sock is to be seen above the shoe as an accessory in itself.

Classically, bobby socks would be worn with bare legs and a swing or ‘poodle’ skirt or with slacks, just revealing the lace of the sock, but current trends would also welcome a dash of vintage from a pair of ankle socks.

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Try wearing your bobby sox over opaque black tights with a shorter hemline or with cropped peg pants, flashing just a hint of upper ankle.

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