Why the right pair of socks can make or break your outfit

We are continuing on our wardrobe journey today.  Last time we started off talking about underwear. Now, I want to discuss the next article of clothing you put on: your socks. These are a small detail in your outfit, but they are oh so important. Socks can make or break an outfit.

There are a few different types of socks and they all have their purpose. The main categories of socks are dress socks, casual socks and athletic socks. An athletic sock is a sock that is made for a workout. It will have more breathability for cooling your foot and provides a little more cushion for comfort. A gentleman does not ever wear an athletic sock unless he is being athletic.

A casual sock is similar to an athletic sock but a little less performance-oriented. Designed for relaxing and casual attire, this type of sock might be worn with a casual sneaker and jeans. This type of sock is never meant to be worn with dress shoes or your formal and business casual attire, which brings us to dress socks.

Dress socks should always cover your calf. They are to be worn with any dressier shoe — pretty much anything that isn’t a sneaker.

A fourth type of sock that is worth mentioning is the sock often referred to as the invisible sock (or the “no sock” sock). This sock is designed to look like you aren’t wearing socks. Its purpose is to allow you to have that “no sock” look without the blisters or the smell of not actually wearing socks. This is a great sock to wear with your loafers or driving shoes.

Now that we have outlined the different types of socks, let’s talk about how many and what kinds you should have. If I were to break it down simply for you, I would say to think of what kinds of socks you wear the most and stock up on a two week’s basic supply of that sock. Then, add two pairs of workout socks for every day of the week that you work out. (For example, if you work out two times a week, you should have at least four pairs of workout socks). For those of you who need it spelled out for you, let’s go over an example of what the average man should have in his sock drawer:

  • Five pairs of black dress socks
  • Five pairs of navy dress socks
  • Five pairs of gray dress socks
  • Six pairs of athletic socks (assuming you work out three days a week)
  • Five pairs of casual socks

I can already anticipate that some of you have some burning questions. I am going to try and answer some common questions here.

Should you have holes in your socks? Definitely not! Throw them away at the first signs of a hole.

Can I wear those white tube socks circa 1983? Unless you are an 18 year-old hipster, these are not fashionable at all. Ever. I would recommend leaving this style of sock to the ’80s if you want to maintain your style credo.

Should I match my socks to my pants, my shirt or my tie? The basic answer is to match them to your pants. They don’t have to match exactly, but navy socks and blue pants is a good match. However, if you want to show a little flair, try matching your socks to your tie or pocket square. So, to answer the question: match your socks to whatever you want, but match them to something in your outfit that isn’t your shoes.

Socks are a small but essential detail to your outfit. If you show attention to detail in your wardrobe, people will notice. Be sure to stock up on the basic sock wardrobe, and add a few colorful options to play around with.

Have more questions about your sock style? Let us know.


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