Most of us wear socks every day.
You can buy them pretty much anywhere you get clothes. In some places, you can even find packs of socks at the supermarket. This doesn’t really make them seem very sophisticated or unique, right?
But I beg to differ.
Imagine you’re at a business meeting, or on a date. Whenever you cross your legs and there’s that glimpse of one of your ankles, what kind of sock does the person across from you see? Is it the usual color, black? Is it white (please don’t do this with a suit)? Is it worn-out or full of holes (I hope not)?
A glimpse at your socks could be like a glimpse at your personal life.
If people see an unkempt, worn-out mess, that doesn’t exactly send a great message. On the other hand, imagine that, at the very least, your socks are in good condition and are the standard black. Okay, nothing wrong here, move along. Now, let’s take it to the next level. Let’s say you’re wearing a black suit, white shirt, and black tie. Your pocket square is red…and so are your socks.
It may not make or break that meeting or romantic rendezvous, but it will probably leave a lingering impression of surprise and originality.
Yep, socks can actually bring more excitement to what you’re wearing, and make you seem even more put-together and detail-oriented than your already fantastic look suggests. Even if you don’t buy expensive, designer ones, just make sure they’re dress socks (not sport socks) and are in good condition, and you’re fine. But if you’re now thinking that you want to take things a step further and go with a color or even a pattern, here’s how to do it:
There are two major rules of making socks work with the rest of your look:
1. Pick a color that matches either your trousers, tie, or pocket square/lapel flower, and
2. Avoid white socks. There are some guys, and some niche looks (like the mod style), that allow you to pull this off, but in general, it’s best to avoid the white-sock-and-suit combination.
So, say you’re wearing a dark gray suit, white shirt, red tie, and white pocket square.
If your socks are also red, you’ve got it: a great way to add to the pop of color the red tie provides. On the other hand, if you choose another color, like, say, orange, or green, it seems like you just threw on a pair of colored socks without thinking about what else you’ve got on. And choosing white in that scenario will probably look silly.
Here’s another example: Say you’re wearing a dark blue suit, a patterned tie with shades of blue and yellow in it, and a yellow pocket square (or, why not, a yellow lapel flower). Your socks could be yellow, matching one of the colors in the tie, as well as the pocket square/lapel flower. Or they could be a shade of blue – either the blue of your trousers, or one of the shades in your tie’s pattern.
Or say you’re wearing a purple suit (yes, these exist – I’m the proud owner of one, myself), with a light pink shirt, orange tie, and patterned pocket square with shades of orange, purple, pink, and white. Your socks could be…you guessed it, either the same purple as your trousers, or the orange of your tie, or a color from the pattern of your pocket square. You could even match your socks and the light pink shirt.
But what if you want to wear patterned socks? This could look amazing, although if you want to be sophisticated, please don’t wear cartoon or joke patterns.
But argyle socks, for example, always look great if there’s no other major pattern going on in your tie or pocket square (and even then, if you’re a master of matching patterns, you could possibly pull it off – but it’s risky). Or, for something a little whimsical – especially if you’re rocking a bowtie instead of a regular tie – try a polka dot pattern whose colors go with the rest of your look.
Hopefully, this was helpful to you, and you’re ready to rock a pair of colored socks.
But if you’re still not sure about taking the plunge, I’m here to help.
My new book, Style & Masculine Elegance: How To Dress Like A Real Gentleman has a whole chapter on choosing your socks, matching them with your suit and accessories, and taking care of them (yes, that’s a little more complicated than you might think).
Whether you choose colors or patterns, or prefer to stick with basic black, pay attention to your socks.
Trust me – you’ll thank me later.
Good luck x