Every day, somewhere out there, there is a man who spoils an otherwise decent outfit with the wrong pair of socks. Does it sound like I’m exaggerating right now? Well, I’m not! Your socks really do make a big difference in your appearance. Allow me to elaborate.
If you saw a man dressed in a sharp three button navy blue suit with a cream colored button down shirt and a brown tie, he would look pretty put together, right? Now, what happens when he sits down, and his pant legs lift slightly to reveal white athletic socks? Kind of spoils his put together image, now doesn’t it? Even if he is wearing the snazziest pair of camel oxfords you have ever seen, the flash of bulging white cotton between the tops of his shoes and the bottom of his pant cuffs is more likely to garner your attention. And not in a good way.
What are the basic rules of wearing dress socks, then? They are:
Only wear white cotton sweat socks for athletics and chores. There really are not exceptions to this rule. You may be slightly surprised by this, because white socks are fairly commonly seen as street wear. But even jeans should be worn with black, gray or brown socks. If you are going to the gym, then of course white socks are fine. But restrict your white socks to these types of activities.
Dress shoes should be worn with dress socks. This means that you should not select socks based on color alone. Thickness and texture are also relevant. Athletic socks (even if they are black or another color) tend to be ribbed and thick. Therefore, they will bunch out of the top of dress shoes. Dress socks, conversely, are made of a finer, thinner material that will slip easily into your dress shoes and not bunch out at the top. Dress boot socks are imperative when deciding on an outfit for a nice event such as a wedding, or when deciding what to wear to an interview.
Your shoes should match your belt, and your socks should match your pants. Apart from when you wear jeans, the color of your socks should match the color of your pants. Black socks should be worn with black pants. For browns and blues, your socks do not necessarily need to be the exact same color as your pants, but they should certainly be of the same color family. When in doubt, go with a darker color sock. The reason this is so important is because you want your socks to appear fluid and integrated with your outfit, not stick out like a sore thumb. Black, gray or brown socks are a good choice with denim pants.
Does this mean that you have no room for creativity in your sock wardrobe? No, but if you want to get creative with your socks, it is best to do a pattern rather than a bright color. For example, argyle is a classic pattern that is popular in men’s socks right now. You can pull off an argyle dress sock with nearly any dress outfit, as long as you choose the right colors. Argyle consists of a base color with 2-3 accent colors, so pick a base color that is close to your pants. For example, if you are wearing camel colored pants with brown shoes, select an argyle socks that have camel or light brown as the base color. Accent colors that look good here may be light, such as pale yellow, or dark, such as chocolate brown. An argyle pattern can also look nice with a suit. For example, a gray three piece suit with a white shirt would look nice with argyle socks that have gray as a base color. To add a little pop of color to your outfit, you can look for an argyle pattern in pink and white, then wear a matching pink tie. This is a great way to add some personality in your outfit while still looking appropriate. The key is to select socks that integrate appropriately with your overall look.