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Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

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No-Show Socks Are a Total Scam

Every year when the weather starts to get colder, I retire all my loafers and ballet flats to the back of my closet. I don’t really like wearing dresses and tights, and I’ve been conditioned to (wrongly!) believe that wearing these shoes with socks is a tremendous faux pas.

I remember first hearing about “no-show socks” when I was in high school, and the fervor for the equivalent of teeny-tiny hats you put on your toes hasn’t died down over the past decade. I’m personally convinced that we just haven’t yet come to the logical conclusion that it is okay to wear socks with shoes and actually have them show. Why is this so heavily frowned upon?

I’ll tell you why: because there are currently more than 11,000 search results on Amazon for no-show socks. That’s actually insane! Think of all the energy and time and marketing dollars that have gone into convincing people that they always need to appear to be barefoot under their loafers or slide sneakers. Why don’t we just… wear socks? Why are we, as a culture, obsessed with faking our sockless-ness?

I would never argue for going actually sock-less. You should really wear socks for a lot of reasons, mainly comfort but also sweat. Think about how good a pair of socks feels, and now think about how aggravating it is to wear some crap like this all day.

Seriously, look at some of these no-show socks. You know this particular pair is not going to stay on your foot, so why even bother? They’re like the free socks you get at shoe stores, which are not actually socks at all. These no-show socks have a total of five different colors on them — not very inconspicuous, to say the least! Related: Why do these have a Missoni-like pattern if they’re meant to be “invisible?” And why are these lace?! Is it somehow better to see an oddly-placed piece of fleshy-looking lace instead of an actual sock? No way!

I posed the no-show sock question to a few coworkers last week and was met with a “socks just aren’t flattering!” from one editor, who swears by a *particular* pair of Nike “invisible socks,” as she calls them. But are socks actually not flattering, or have we all just been brainwashed by Big Sock?

Or, have we just not yet discovered that this is a thing we don’t have to partake in, and we can wear socks with our loafers and be perfectly fine? —Tiffany Yannetta, shopping director

Deal of the Day

It’s no secret that most retailers will offer you a first-time discount when you sign up for their newsletter, but they’re usually small percentages that may or may not be worth it, depending on how much you like deleting emails. We scoured the internet for the offers that will actually make a difference in your shopping cart — like at Levi’s, where signing up will get you 20% off your purchase and free shipping. That should make biting the bullet on a new pair of classic blue jeans a little easier. See the whole list of email-based discounts here.

The Rabidly-Followed Leggings Brand You Can Only Buy on Facebook


These days, one can scarcely open their Facebook feed without being prompted to buy dietary supplements, skincare, essential oils, or "those crazy wrap things." Avon, Merle Norman, and Mary Kay may no longer be de rigeur, but using one’s network of friends and family to hawk goods is as popular as ever. Outside of the usual suspects, though, you may have gotten a message or two about a product that doesn’t promise instant weight loss or ageless skin, but instead swears that it’s the most comfortable item of clothing you’ve ever owned.

Perhaps you were invited to a friend’s online pop-up, and found yourself immediately immersed in the brightly colored cult of LuLaRoe. When you get there — virtually, that is — you feel like you’ve been transported to an entirely different planet. You don’t understand the language, the rules are unfamiliar, and brightly colored dresses are being auctioned like rare pieces of art. In a 21st century update of the Tupperware party, LuLaRoe is winning over thousands of women across the world.

Founded in 2012, LuLaRoe’s comfortable and brightly colored clothing is rapidly gaining cult status, built almost entirely through the power of social media. Unlike most clothing lines, LuLaRoe pieces cannot be tried on or purchased at a department store or boutique. Instead, they’re sold to independent consultants (a la Mary Kay or Amway) who market these dresses, leggings, and tops directly to consumers.

Keep reading >>

Year-Round Ankle Boots That Go With Everything

Sam Edelman Petty Ankle Boots ($140)

When I bought my first pair of Sam Edelman Petty ankle boots in January 2014, I had been coveting them for at least a year. When I initially spotted them in college, the $140 price tag seemed exorbitant, something meant only for people with things like actual careers who did not consider peanut butter a main food group.

But then, armed with a real job and a sudden interest in “investment pieces,” I went for it. And when that box arrived, the boots were even better than I imagined: The black leather was soft and supple, the sole was sturdy, the 1.5-inch heel was just enough for a boost but not enough to ever cause an ache. These boots — you know this is coming, I’m sorry — were made for walking.

As a resident of New York, where “a stroll” can mean a few miles, I put the ankle boots to the test right away. I forewent Bean boots and tromped to work in the ice and snow and didn’t suffer any more than I usually would.

In the spring a few months later, I traveled to Tokyo and wore them while I climbed endless temple steps and sat at too-cool cocktail bars. In the summertime I paired them with sundresses, dancing at concerts in the park. The boots went with everything — every outfit, every situation. Which is why, almost two years after buying them, they were one of the few pairs that came with me to Iceland and Amsterdam.

I wore them during late-night sprints to try to see Northern Lights, to eat at hot dog stands, to see too many museums, to dodge cyclists, to walk more than a dozen miles a day. I was wearing them the one rainy day three different tourists asked for directions. I’d like to claim a little credit, but I’m pretty sure it was the boots — black, sleek, and understated — that made me look like I knew where I was going.

When I got back to my apartment in New York and pulled off my shoes, I saw they were looking a little worse for the wear. The soles had gotten thin, the leather was separating from the base, and the heel was scraped up. I had worn them constantly for nearly two years; it was to be expected. But I was a little bummed. These boots had seen some stuff, man: three continents and extreme weather and dance parties and first dates and church services and long walks alone. I put them in the “let go” pile with a giant, sad sigh.

And then I immediately sat down to order another pair. —Kate Welsh, contributing writer