June 02, 2015

If there was a prize for the most underrated and obscure item in men’s clothing, the socks would win it hands down. The most fastidious of gentlemen, who would otherwise select their ensemble with great care, often falter at the sock game.

A Sea of Socks

A Sea of Socks

You must have noticed this often - you would come across a perfectly dressed gentleman, with a perfect navy-blue suit, with the trouser falling on the most delightfully perfect brogues...

...and then this gentleman will take a seat, crossing his legs to reveal a pair of perfect white tube socks!

Over the rest of the meeting, I can bet your eyes will be drawn at least a dozen times to that flashing white piece.

Here are seven quick tips that will prevent this situation and help you up your sock game - guaranteed!

1) Socks are matched with the trousers - NOT the shoes

socks match trousers

Socks are Matched with Trousers

The classic rule of wearing dress socks is this - the sock color should match the trouser color - regardless the color of shoes. So, a navy-blue suit would need a set of navy-blue socks in similar tones - paired with a pair of black or brown shoes.

2) When socks get boring, get bright

colorful socks

Colorful Socks add Spice to Your Style!

The above point about matching socks and trouser colors is a basic thumb rule for formal dressing - but there is no straitjacket if you have an eye for color coordination and the ability to carry it off. Barring very formal situations like a business meeting or a black tie dinner, you can certainly try experimenting with brighter colors and designs.

3) There are socks for every occasion

socks for all occasions

Socks for Every Occasion

The type of sock that you choose would, of course, depend on the occasion and reason for wear. A dress sock would not work for your workout, and your tubular socks would look out of place with your business suit. There are high-performance socks for specialized and extreme activities.

4) Socks have integrity, too

torn and tattered socks

These Socks are Dead!

A sin as cardinal as wearing inappropriate or non-matching socks is wearing socks that don’t match each other, or that have holes in them, or are simply too dirty. Add in the unwanted list socks that are too loose and get bunched up at your ankle.

5) Choose Your Fabric

wool socks

Woolen Socks

Just like your shirts, socks also come in different fabric choices - you can choose one that is appropriate as per occasion and season. Cotton is most popular and affordable, wool is classic and costlier, cashmere is a notch higher than wool, and silk is most suitable for extremely formal occasions.

A word of caution when you have socks in different fabrics - the choice of sock fabric is dependent on the dress fabric. Thus, a woolen sock will work well with a tweed suit, while a silk pair will look great with your classical tuxedo.

6) Fit shows Respect

socks too big or small

Socks Dilemma

Feet come in different sizes - so do shoes, and so should socks. Most mass-made socks are made in one size that fits all - but this may not work for gentlemen that are petite or big-sized, with feet size to match. Inappropriately size socks would either bunch up at toes or ankle, or would get pulled down in the shoes.

If you are outside the pale of average sized - take the time to find a store that sells different sized socks (try buying socks online), and invest in a few proper-sized pairs. You owe this to your feet.

7) Skin Show not Welcome

socks showing skin

Skin Show with Socks looks Unsavory!

When wearing socks, take care to choose the appropriate length to prevent an unwanted skin show. This problem often crops up when gentlemen wearing trousers sit down, pulling up the trousers over the thigh bone and the knees.

Socks are available in varying calf lengths, extending from mid-calf to over-the-calf. Longer varieties may be a bit pricier, but they are well worth the extra cost and effort.

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