How To Match Socks
There are a few different rules and regulations when it comes to your hosiery. As with anything clothing-related, it’s best to start by obeying these rules (especially in conservative situations) and bending them as your sartorial muscles begin to strengthen.
The rule of thumb is that sock color should match or very closely match the color of your trousers. If nothing else, you will be dressed correctly and inoffensively by obeying this rule. On the other hand, you might not have that much fun.
As socks are often patterned, typical pattern coordination guidelines apply.
Below, we explore the various outfits with which we can pair socks. Keep in mind that all of these suggestions are subject to your environment and that common sense, good taste, and your audience trump everything.
How To Wear Socks With A Suit
When wearing socks with a suit, color choice should be dictated by your environment. If you’re in a business professional dress code or wearing a suit to a funeral, you should absolutely wear grey socks to match your grey trousers. On the other hand, if you’re on a date or just wearing a suit for fun, you can coordinate your socks with another part of your outfit, such as your shirt or tie (more on that below).
There’s one incredibly important thing we have to mention before moving on; when wearing a suit or any outfit that involves a dress trouser, it is imperative that your socks are long enough to keep your legs covered up while you’re sitting down in addition to standing. While the sockless look has been a thing for a few years and will likely continue to be a thing, if you’re wearing proper socks, they must be long enough.
What Socks To Wear With Jeans
Jeans allow you a ton of wiggle room as it relates to your socks. You can obviously wear the same color socks as your denim (that is, some shade of blue), but the casual nature of a pair of jeans is such that you can wear basically anything you want when it comes to socks.
Consider coordinating with your shirt, sweater, or sport coat by mirroring one or more of the colors.
This will obviously require you to be well-read on the topic of color, and we have a color guide that’s very helpful in that regard.
Socks To Wear With A Tuxedo
Though there’s a bit of variation allowed with tuxedos, a true black tie ensemble calls for black silk hosiery. If you’d like a bit of design, they may have clocks on the outside of them.
If you’re wearing a tuxedo in a creative black tie scenario, you can get away with a more boldly designed sock, but we still suggest keeping the colors dark and rich as you would a cummerbund or vest: deep plum, burgundy, forest green, and the like.
Best Socks To Wear With Shorts
If you’re wearing socks with shorts, they should be no-show socks (or pedis, or man-peds, whatever you like to call them). The shoes one would wear with shorts will look good with no-show socks, and anyone who lives with you will thank you for having worn some kind of sock after you get home and take your shoes off.
For more about no-show socks, we explore them in greater deal below as well as recommend our favourite brand.
The only real exception to this is if you live in Bermuda and are wearing the national garb of Bermuda shorts, shirt & tie, blazer, and dress shoes with over-the-calf socks.
Under no circumstances whatsoever should you wear the tube socks-with-sneakers-and-shorts ensemble seen on so many middle-aged fathers. It is truly atrocious.
Do You Match You Socks With Shoes?
As it happens, you should not match your socks to your shoes. We opt to match socks to trousers instead of shoes because matching them to shoes will produce a boot-like look when you’re not, in fact, wearing boots. It’s not a sartorially smart decision to make.
Of course, this changes when your shoes happen to match your trousers. If these two items are the same color, then yes, you can match your socks to your shoes.
Coordinating Socks With A Tie, Pocket Square, & Other Accessories
Coordinating the colors of your socks and tie is a very smart move that, when pulled off well, lends continuity and closure to an ensemble all at once.
In this case, “matching” really means “coordinating.” While you can certainly wear deep purple socks in the same shade as your deep purple tie, these items are too far apart from each other physically to look unstudied. A better choice would be a lavender sock with plum tie, electric blue socks with a navy tie, or yellow socks with green dots paired with a forest green tie.
You’ll want to know all about complementary and monochromatic color schemes to pull this off well. Click either of the preceding links to get more information on those topics.
Matching Socks With A Shirt
Coordinating your socks with your shirt is another thing you can do to add some color and general fun to your outfits. The same guidelines apply that we use for coordinating socks with ties.
Different Styles Of Men’s Socks
Not all socks are created equal. There are many different styles to suit various occasions and personalities.
We should probably start with “no socks” as an option. The obvious choice for flip-flops and slides, going sockless with regular shoes is less desirable. Our personal experience has seen insoles being ripped out as they stick to your feet when taking shoes off, terrible odor, and general physical discomfort.
Unless it’s the summertime and you’re wearing sandals or espadrilles, opt for some kind of sock.
Men’s No-Show Socks
No-show socks came on the scene for men over a decade ago. Originally only available in white and black, they’re now available in as wide a range of colors and patterns as regular socks. This is perhaps confusing as the whole point is that they don’t show, but then again, underwear comes in a a bunch of different colors too.
Invisible socks should cover the soles of your feet, your toes, and the bottom of your achilles tendon, but not much more. Again, the whole point is to be able to wear them with any shoe and still appear to not be wearing socks.
These are an excellent option for warm weather and work with shorts and jeans. There is much rancorous debate over whether or not these are appropriate with suits.
Our opinion is that common sense should make that call, and common sense is based on who your audience is going to be and the sartorial environment you plan to be in.
Wear proper socks to a funeral in the summertime. If you’re a guest at a daytime summer wedding, though, feel free to throw on some no-show socks with that natty suit of yours.
Although lots of brands produce no-show socks, not all of them are equal. Lower quality no-show socks may fit poorly and then slip down your foot, bunching near the toes.
The aforementioned Boardroom Socks recently introduced its own in 2021. Like its other wares, they’re crafted in the USA from Merino wool while careful use of nylon and spandex in the blend ensures a correct fit. Meanwhile, silicone backing grips the heel to make sure that they don’t fall off.
Boardroom’s no-show socks are currently available in black or beige. Since it’s inevitable with any brand that a little sock will show, this colour choice is quite handy to make them as subtle as possible.
Men’s Athletic Socks
Athletic socks are completely appropriate for athletic endeavors. Typically hitting just above the ankle, their colors tend to be limited to white, black, grey, navy, or combinations thereof.
Generally, dress socks aren’t adapted for sports while athletic socks are a poor choice when dressing formally. Most athletic socks will also alter the fit of your shoes, so make sure that you wear proper socks when shoe shopping, too.
However, there are some rare exceptions. For instance, Almi Apparel has aspired to develop hybrids socks that can be worn both professionally and athletically.
Their socks are made with a 200 needle machine, which is the standard for fine-knit dress socks. Similarly, the padding is thin enough for dress shoes but still offers support. Meanwhile, Swiss silver technology is used to neutralise odour-causing bacteria, which reduces smelly feet.
Nevertheless, brands like Almi are a rarity. Therefore, you’ll have to invest in a diverse selection of socks if you want to ensure that you’re prepared for every occasion. That being said, it’s not always a bad idea as Soxy is a brand that has a diverse collection of stunning athletic socks!
Men’s Fashion Socks