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Socks give cheap thrills

The khakis-and-blue-shirt brigade will never be the same with the addition of colorful, interesting socks, the cure to dull dressing.

Ellen Warren

Shopping Adviser

September 9, 2010

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There's no scientific data on this, but it's a good bet that men spend more time thinking about cleaning out the lint trap in the dryer than they do about looking fashionable.

For the vast majority, the only question men ask themselves before they get dressed is, "What's clean?"

If you doubt it, look around at the sea of blue jeans, khakis and boring blue shirts that surrounds you. Drab, predictable and deliriously dull. That's men's fashion for you.

The Chicago Tribune's Jon Yates, right, works at solving readers' woes in his "What's Your Problem?" column. And yet, he's content with his snoozy clothing choices. And I use the term "choices" loosely.

When I enlisted him as my poster boy for the ho-hum look, Yates protested: "The only time I believe I have a wardrobe problem is when you tell me I do." Then he went on to say that the one time he agreed to let his wife take him shopping, "I wound up with four shirts: bright orange, purple, glow-in-the-dark green and blue. I still wear the blue one."

See what I mean?

For Yates and the rest of the style-challenged brigade, I have a cheap and easy way to help them crawl out of the antediluvian fashion swamp. And, hosanna, it doesn't even require a trip to the store's dressing room.

Buy colorful socks.

It's amazing the compliments that otherwise boring dressers will accumulate with that unexpected jolt of color and pattern at the ankle.

Even Yates admitted that the striped ones he's wearing in the photo add some zip to his look. The Problem Solver's fashion problem? Solved!

shopellen@tribune.com