When getting dressed, the lion’s share of our attention usually goes to the garments that are closest to the face: the jacket, shirt, and tie. While it’s obviously important to pay particular attention to these wardrobe elements, it behooves any well-dressed man to give a lot of thought to the other aspects of the tailored ensemble. We’ll concentrate on socks here.
The Important Rules of Socks
More often than not, socks play a supporting role in the act of getting dressed. They’re rarely seen, so why bother paying much attention to them? Well, as rudimentary as it is to put on a pair of socks, successfully coordinating them with the rest of your outfit is actually an advanced sartorial trick. A few tips:
- The traditional “rule” is that your socks should match your pants. This will extend the leg line in a smooth, uninterrupted manner. It also avoids making you look like you’re wearing boots, which can be an unfortunate side effect to matching your socks to your shoes.
- Dress socks are generally available in two lengths: crew (hits at about mid-calf) and over-the-calf (hits just below the knee). Crew socks are fine for more casual wear, but anytime you’re wearing tailored clothing, opt for over-the-calf socks. This will ensure that you will show no bare leg even if your pants ride particularly high while seated. Athletic socks are for athletic endeavors.
- As you get more advanced, you can start using your socks to coordinate with other elements of your outfit. If you’re wearing a conservative combination of charcoal suit, white shirt, and navy blue tie, why not try some lighter grey socks with faint blue stripes to lend some continuity with the navy tie? If you add a blue pocket square with red dots to that ensemble, who’s to say you can’t wear some blue/red argyle socks to tie back to the pocket square? The point here is to look at the colors and patterns going on in your outfit and play off of them with your socks.
Having Good Judgment With Your Socks
We say it all the time, but it bears repeating: always exercise good judgement with regard to your sense of occasion. In terms of socks, this means that if you’re applying for a mortgage at the bank, you wear grey socks to match your grey suit. On the other hand, if you’re going out to dinner with your better half, why not match the purple in your tie? Let the situation dictate the socks you wear, but don’t be afraid to shine when you’re able. Without a doubt, wearing bright socks will ensure you are remembered. Make sure you’ll be remembered in the manner you’re hoping to be.