Dandy & Dapper

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 September, 2011, 12:00am


I have a foot problem. My work socks look much the same, with minor differences that I only notice once I've dressed quickly and am already out the door. Plus, my laundry area isn't very brightly lit so putting together matching pairs is hard to begin with. I'm not a funky sock guy, but I noticed someone in the changing room had some that looked plain but had coloured toecaps, which might solve my problem. Please advise?

Mr Dandy: Wait a minute, you have a laundry area? Old chap, you're living large enough to get someone else to sort those socks, don't you think? You grossed me out a little when you said you had a foot problem. It's more a sock problem that's easily fixed with socks that have contrasting toes and heels. (Couldn't you have just asked the gym buff where he bought his?) They're not easy to find in the men's stores I frequent, especially since I have a fondness for statement socks, but I did spot some good ones. Thomas Pink does a great pair in almost-black blue cotton with, yup, pink toes and heels (HK$250; The Landmark, Central, tel: 2155 9671). Altea Milano does all sorts of coloured and patterned socks, too, including more conservative ones that should suit your tastes (HK$215; The Landmark, tel: 2537 9246). I checked MrPorter.com and hit the jackpot there, with a super selection in cotton or wool by brands such as Corgi, Richard James and Paul Smith (about HK$155 and up).

Mr Dapper: Give me a break, I'd rather take that extra hour in the morning to read the paper or have a full breakfast. And I certainly wouldn't accost another man in the changing room for fear of misinterpretation. I've got the perfect solution and it costs a fraction of the brand-name socks. Go to Marks & Spencer and look for its Fresh Feet cotton mix, slightly ribbed socks, which are sold in black, grey or navy with funky colours and pat- terns on the heels and toes that are hidden once you put on your shoes (HK$225 for seven pairs; 28 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2921 8059).

I have a question on form and hope you gentlemen can offer direction. I have sourced a book written by a relative in the 1940s for my brother's 40th. I usually write a dedication inside books that I give as presents but I'm hesitant with this one. What is the done thing in this case?

Mr Dandy: That's so cool. I'd definitely put my name to it and claim the credit that's due for being so resourceful and finding such an awesome gift. That said, a lot of my friends hate dusty vintage shops, so you'd better be sure your bro will appreciate a scrappy old pressie more than, say, designer stuff. If you've already got it, do it!

Mr Dapper: Please accept my apologies, readers, for the above example of the death of civilisation. I'd never claim to be an antiquarian book expert, so I asked two local dealers whether one should write an inscription inside an old book. Both replied with an unequivocal no. Christopher Bailey of Picture This (Prince's Building, Central, tel: 2525 2803) said, 'It is a defacement. I hate seeing an inscription written much later than the book's publication date.' Lorence Johnston of Lok Man Rare Books (6 Chancery Lane, Central, tel: 2868 1056) concurred, but added family heirlooms could be considered exceptions: 'For example, if you have a copy of Alice in Wonderland from the 1800s originally signed by your great, great grandmother, it could be inscribed and passed on to the eldest daughter of the next generation, and so on.' In general, though, I'd avoid it. As Bailey advises: 'One should write the inscription on a card or piece of paper and lay it into the book.'