Why you have a 99% chance of never wearing Sea Island. And why this is a shame…

In the cotton family, there is one which stands out for its rarity, the length of its fibres and the quality of the resulting products. We are talking about Sea Island, or “West Indies Sea Island”, cotton. The cotton is grown all over the world, but certain varieties produce longer fibres than others and, the longer the fibre, the better the quality!

Chaussettes 10% sea island coton

  1. Limited global production

Out of all the cottons in existence, 0.004% produced is Sea Island cotton: this shows how rare the product is. Rarer than Egyptian cotton, the tiny proportion of Sea Island cotton makes this a product in high demand. A high-quality product, Sea Island originates from a combination of highly specific geographic and climatic conditions.

Fleurs de coton

Cotton flower

  1. A framework in which to flourish

Particularly sensitive climatic conditions are needed for cotton flowers to produce what we know as “Sea Island” cotton. This designation comes from the geographic area in which we find these cotton plants. Sea Island cotton, from its scientific name Gossypium barbadense, is an elite kind of American cotton. It grows in the unique climate of the islands situated off the south-eastern coast of the United States and on islands in the West Indies, such as Barbados.

  1. Extra long fibres

The cocktail of sun and humidity makes the Sea Island cotton plant produce cotton fibres. These threads are a cluster of extra-long fibres, 40 millimetres in comparison with 26 millimetres for more ordinary cotton. The best cotton thread is made from extra-long fibres. The longer and finer the fibre, the rarer it is. So these are the finest, silkiest and shiniest qualities.

Harvested by hand, this cotton’s fibres are among the longest cotton fibres. The exceptional length means they make fine and soft threads. This fineness gives the fabrics their softness and that incomparable silky look.

  1. Quality control

To guarantee Sea Island cotton’s impeccable quality, quality control is put in place. It starts when the cotton ball harvest takes place by hand. This is the WISICA (“West London Sea Island Cotton Association”) label of authenticity. This group of textiles experts vouches for the origin and quality of the raw material, but also checks that the production stages are consistent with the different processes, from cotton planting to harvest.

Sea Island cotton: an exceptional material for high-end products.

Bresciani Sea Island

  1. A well-known product, or how Sea Island appeals to connoisseurs

A well-known product, or how Sea Island appeals to connoisseurs
Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom, demanded Sea Island handkerchiefs. With support from such a well-known figure, Sea Island surely won’t disappoint even the most demanding among us.

More recently, it was the famous secret agent James Bond, the ultimate gentleman, who appeared with clothes and underwear made in the Caribbean cotton. In his novels, Ian Fleming had already made it clear that the materials used by 007 were made from Sea Island. For flawless dressers, Sea Island has become a basic wardrobe item

Already prized by tailors, particularly in shirt making, Sea Island cotton is now being used to make knee-length socks.

Bresciani Sea Island marine pantalon

  1. The cashmere of cotton

Cashmere is to wool as Sea Island is to cotton. Slipping on Sea Island knee-high socks secures you peerless comfort, extreme softness and unparalleled fineness. This rare kind of cotton combines the softness of cashmere with the strength of wool.

  1. An easy product to look after

Sea Island knee-high socks can easily withstand machine washing at 30°C. A high-end product which lasts like a pair of lisle socks.

  1. The art of choosing noble materials, or how to wear Sea Island cotton

Remaining faithful to quality and to the items you can now create from Sea Island cotton, Bresciani is making knee-high socks in 100% Sea Island cotton. As they are comparatively slim, these socks will go perfectly with formal shoes. Silky and soft, they will bring an extra touch of refinement to your outfit.

Bresciani Sea Island duo
Take care: when you have worn Sea Island cotton, you will have real trouble going back to more usual kinds of cotton!

Cashmere socks vs wool socks

Full range of cashmere socks

Cashmere socks are a way of life.

After the first attacks of cold weather, it is logical to look for a system of defence that starts with a warm pair of socks. The question of the choice of materials arises and many clients ask us to enlighten them on the choice of merino wool or cashmere. What are the differences between merino wool and cashmere ? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Should we prefer woollen socks or cashmere socks ?
Cashmere socks

Softness

If softness was measurable, it would depend on the fineness of the fibres. The finer the fibres, the softer the yarn. A softer yarn will make for a softer sock. At this little game, cashmere wins the round for softness because cashmere fibres are on average finer than merino wool fibres. Merino sheep generally have fibres with diameters between 19 and 23 microns, whereas cashmere goats have fibres of 14 to 18 microns in diameter. Note that these are averages. In fact, the finest wool in the world has been obtained from … merinos. In 2010, Zegna beat its own record of 2003 with a wool of 10 microns. Zegna succeeded in weaving a piece of fabric 60 metres with fibres of an average of 11.1 microns!
The fabric had to sell at a price higher than that of vicuna.

Durability

It is the turn of merino wool to win its first round. Merino wool is rather more durable than cashmere. This is explained by the length and diameter of the fibres. The shortest fibres have a slightly greater tendency to pill. The length of cashmere fibres is between 30 and 90 mm and for merino wool it is between 30 and 120 mm. Pilling will cause garments to wear a little faster. Merino wool is therefore more durable than cashmere. The most durable wools are the old tweeds made of coarse wool, with thicker (so less soft) and more resistant fibres.

Warmth

Cashmere regains the advantage. The fineness of the fibres allows cashmere to trap more air than wool with an equivalent gauge of yarn. To put it otherwise, imagine two cylinders, one filled with fine fibres and the other with thicker fibres. Mechanically, the cylinder filled with fine fibres will trap more small air bubbles. Air is an excellent insulator (on condition that it can be trapped). It is for this reason that cashmere is a little warmer than merino wool, all other things being equal.

It is also for this reason that cashmere is warm when it is cold, while being lightweight when it is warmer.

The price

The advantage goes to merino wool, which, except in cases of extreme fineness, is less expensive than cashmere. This is explained by the abundance of merino wool production compared to that of cashmere.

Conclusion

A draw! There is no winner strictly speaking! You must ask yourself on what criteria will you base your choice. Do you look at the price of socks? Are you sensitive to softness? And warmth? Do your socks wear quickly? Now you are ready for a well-informed choice!

How to wash cashmere socks ?

 

Cashmere is unfortunately a quite fragile material due to the fact that it is precisely this fragility which is the source of its softness.

Cashmere socks

Cashmere socks

Cashmere socks are valuable, take care of them!

The fact remains that there exist methods for efficiently washing cashmere without destroying it.
Hot water and rubbing are the most ruthless enemies of cashmere socks (likewise for sweaters). Felting is the primary danger for cashmere socks.

How can felting be explained? The wool is made of scale-like fibers Under normal conditions the scales travel in the direction if the fiber. Under the effects of heat and humidity the scales open. Once the scales are open, the fibers no longer slide between one another. The rubbing, therefore, causes the fibers to intertwine instead of remaining combed. The thread, the fibers of which are intertwined, are shortened and elasticized. This is exactly the state of felted wool: shrunken and

with no elasticity. Wool fiber as seen under a microscope.

Wool fibre with a microscope

Woolen fiber beneath a microscope

If there is no stain on your socks, there is no need to complicate matters. Putting a little cold water and soap on them, washing a bit, and rinsing abundantly is sufficient Afterwards, dry them by laying them flat.

If there are stains, appropriate products for each type of stain must be applied (mild household soap for the greasy stains, vinegar for wine…).

How to match socks with shoes and pants ?

Matching colours and clothing is less difficult than you might think. It’s actually quite easy when you know a few simple rules.

A few examples of well-matched socks

A few examples of well-matched socks

1/ The restrained, classic look: matching your socks with your shoes or your trousers

It’s possible and it’s easy! The easiest thing is to match your shoes. When your shoes are black, wear your black socks. Brown shoes? Wear a brown pair of socks!

The black socks match the shoes and go well with the grey trousers.

The black socks match the shoes by Justin Fitzpatrick and go well with the grey trousers.

Matching your trousers is almost as easy and equally acceptable. Grey flannel trousers will go well with grey socks and jeans look good with light blue socks.

Nice and sober combo of socks and shoes

With the same grey trousers and the same shoes by Justin Fitzpatrick, the grey socks work too.

Perhaps you’re not a risk taker, but, as the bankers say “no risk, no reward”. Use this technique and you won’t look flashy. You will look stylish and well-dressed but not ostentatious.
Nobody will ever tell you, except those who see you every day and might find it a bit dull over the passing years…
2/ The daring, colour-mixing look.
You prefer to wear colours that go well together, rather than following the conventions of brown and black socks. If everybody followed the classic, restrained route, then brown and black socks would represent 90% of socks worn.
The idea is to mix different colours that go well together. Chestnut brown shoes, green socks and blue trousers can go together really well.

Yellow socks with green trousers and brown shoes.

Yellow socks with green trousers and brown shoes by Justin Fitzpatrick.

To avoid going overboard on the number of colours in your outfit, the colour of your socks can make a subtle reference to a colour in your outfit, such as your tie, cufflinks, shirt, belt or jacket…
A daring mix

A daring mix

Blue socks with black shoes by Justin Fitzpatrick and tartan trousers.

 

Green socks with brown shoes and velvet red pants

three very different colours that match well

Red socks with brown shoes and blue trousers.

Red socks with brown shoes by Justin Fitzpatrick and blue trousers.

Some people like a very definite contrast of colours. Try red socks with a black dinner suit. The idea is to draw attention to a precise part of the outfit, in this case the socks. Everybody remembers François Fillon, former French prime minister, for his penchant for red socks.
3/ A compromise between the two looks
There is a third way, between the two other looks, a sort of compromise. Two-tone socks allow you to match your shoes and your trousers at the same time, for example. Let’s imagine that you have a pair of blue trousers and some brown shoes, which wouldn’t be so unusual! You could wear a lovely pair of brown and blue two-tone socks from Bresciani.

The socks as a mix of the black color of the shoes and the grey color of the pants

Black and grey hound’s tooth check socks to go with black shoes byJustin Fitzpatrick and grey trousers.

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The brown of the shoes and the blue of the trousers are picked out in the two-tone socks from Bresciani

The brown of the shoes by Justin Fitzpatrick and the blue of the trousers are picked out in the two-tone socks from Bresciani

Another tip is to choose a colour midway between two colours. For example, if you wear blue trousers (a primary colour) with brown shoes (a colour from the red end of the spectrum), you can wear a colour that mixes blue and red. Remember that purple can be more or less blue and more or less red.

By mixing the colour of the shoes (brown) and the one of the pants (blue) you could obtain the colour of the socks : aubergine

The colour of the socks is a beautiful mixture of the colour of the trousers and that of the shoes (Justin Fitzpatrick).

Here is a colour wheel to help you choose the colours of your outfits. If you want to find out how a colour is composed (RGB composition) take a look at the article on colour in Wikipedia.

Colour wheel to help you match the colours of your clothes.

Colour wheel to help you match the colours of your clothes.

Cotton lisle high knee socks

Cotton lisle high knee socks have their lovers. The advantages of those socks are linked to the fact that they are high knee socks and made of cotton lisle at the same time.

Actually, high knee socks don’t fall on you ankle because thay adapt your calf’s shape.

 

Mi-bas fil d'Ecosse

Cotton lisle high knee socks
As for cotton lisle, it leads to a smooth and  shiny lisle.
For your cotton lisle high knee socks, we have selected the best brands. We offer a selection of black high knee socks for men, others in many colors, with herringbones, or houndstoothes.

 

Red socks

Gammarelli red socks are the most well known socks in the world.

Chaussettes Rouges

Red socks

The red colour of Gammarelli, used by cardinals for a long time,has long been used by insiders, who had fun of their history or were seduced by the quality of those cotton lisle socks.
Those red socks then became famous thanks to Edouard Balladur and to François Fillon, who both wear Gammarelli socks.

Gammarelli red socks are very bright. This is what makes they charm and quality

Cotton lisle socks

Cotton lisle socks aresocks made of a mercerized cotton. This cotton can be from sea islan, form Egypt, from the US or else.

Chaussettes fil d'Ecosse

Scottisch cotton lisle socks

In fact, it is the process of mercerizing that turns cotton into cotton lisle.
Cotton lisle socks are famous for their fineness and resistance. Socks with 100% cotton lisle are the moste comfortable to wear. Cotton lisle make them shiny.
Among good quality men socks, we have chosen the best cotton klisle in order to offer your the finest selection of socks.

High knee socks for men

High knee socks for men can be useful for many things.
Some people are eager to wear them because they are hot. Actually high knee socks that are thick protect from the cold better than small and thin socks.
What’s more, a pair of high knee socks even if it is thin, i s a good protection against drafts.

Chaussettes longues homme

High knee socks for men

Many men prefer high knee socks than usual socks because they are more elegant. In fact, they don’t fall on the calf or the ankle. They do completely hide the leg, and make a perfect link-up between your shoes and suit. They are our clients’ favourite socks.

For all these reasons, we offer the largest selection of knee high socks for men with the brands : Gammarelli, Mazarin, Gallo, Bresciani, all Italian tailors.

Cashmere tights for women

For a women, wearing tights is a way to have a nice winter. Cashmere make tights soft and warm.

 

Collants cachemire femme

Cashmere tights for women

Our black cashmere tights are available in many sizes, and will offer you  satisfaction during your whole winter. The silk component make them even more soft.