Socks are very often an overlooked item of underwear by men and not given the full consideration they deserve when looking to dress up an outfit. Why men seem to hold them with such little regard is bemusing. They are usually an after thought to an outfit, if that at all, and often regarded only for their practical function of having something between the foot and the shoe.
However, the more fashion conscious and discerning males who appreciate the qualities of a fine pair of designer socks will reflect with puzzlement about how they ever managed to get by with only a handful of worn out and faded basic socks. For them, they are now part of a fellowship of men who can appreciate what a difference they can make to fulfilling a harmonious outfit. A good pair of socks is like what a ring is to marriage. They finish the package off and can bind the whole look together in a make or break sense.
But make or break they can. It is not just about buying socks that are expensive and have a trendy designer label. There are sock etiquettes to observe if you want to make sure you avoid potentially embarrassing faux pas and make the right choices that will really add credit to the overall look.
So, I decided that what many men would benefit from is a simple list of my five top tips to help you make the right choice when buying men’s socks. Ones that will help you avoid mistakes, apply the right etiquette and enable you to wear socks that pull an outfit together, be it a smart or casual look.
So, here are my top five tips on picking the right pair of socks.
This is key to buying any pair of socks and after all they are probable the most abused item of clothing you will wear. Most of us will spend the best part of 12 hours a day walking around in the same pair of socks, and so you need ones that are up to the job. Poor quality socks soon start to lose their colour and appear tatty, so splash out as it is cheaper in the long run.
There are several common fabrics used in the manufacture of socks such as wool, cotton, cotton blends, cashmere, silk and even bamboo, each holding several benefits for wearing. Cotton is probably the most widely used material for socks and provides a light, cool and natural feel, making them a popular choice for most occasions. It is worth looking for cotton socks that are blended with Modal, which is a fiber extract from wooden cellulose. This natural raw material provides a softer and silky look and feel to cotton socks, whilst improving comfort as it is very breathable and absorbent. If you like cotton socks then you will equally be satisfied with socks made from the light, soft and silky feel of bamboo, which is 4 times more absorbent than cotton. However, if you are looking for a much harder wearing, heavier and warmer sock then you would be best advised to consider wool, a wool blend or cashmere. You need to be careful with these as they generally need more care, so pay attention to the washing and care label.
Probably the most important factor to getting the overall look right is the colour of your socks. The aim of the game here is to seamlessly pull together your top and bottom half, and to match them harmoniously with your socks. It is always advisable to try and match any smart formal socks to the colour of your trousers, but try not to match them exactly. It is often better to let people see that they are a different colour to the trouser, but one that is within a similar spectrum. Bold and vibrant colours should always be reserved for casual wear and it can be great fun to contrast the colours with everything else you are wearing. However, if you are not feeling quite so brave then always work on matching them to the top half of your outfit, such as picking out the colour in your shirt as opposed to matching them with trousers as is the case for sprat formal socks.
Plain or Patterned
Generally plain socks work best with smart formal wear and where plain or patterned can be matched quite well with most casual wear. The tip here is to not introduce too much pattern and generally only go for patterned socks if the majority of your casual look is plain and visa versa. However, one word of caution here is to avoid patterned socks all together if you are wearing heavily patterned trousers. You would be far better to go with a plain sock in the instance.
Smart or Casual
Never mix the two together and always stick with smart socks for formal looks and casual for casual looks. Two big don’ts are comical sock and white socks, which should be kept well and truly out of sight in your gym bag.