Socks are one of the simplest items in your wardrobe, and picking them out should never be complicated. But wardrobe consultants and professional stylists explain that the question, “How do I match socks with the rest of my outfit?” comes up frequently. The fact is, socks are a major source of confusion for many men. But once you understand how the rules of sock-matching work, it’s easy to know what to do and what to avoid.
The Main Rule to Know
The main thing to remember is that the color of your socks should match your pants, not your shoes. One good reason for that is that continuing the same basic color from the ankle upward tends to visually lengthen your leg. In a subtle way that can make you look taller. You should also realize that white socks are for sports and gym activities and for occasionally wearing with short pants. Don’t wear white socks in other situations.
Bending the Rule
Pants and socks rarely match 100%, but as long as the shade of color is close, it will work. If you wear black or dark gray pants, then socks in black or charcoal shades are fine. With a pair of dark brown pants, wear dark brown socks. Pants in various shades of darker blue can all be worn with navy blue socks. When the pants have stripes, are plaid, or have other multiple colors in the fabric, just pick socks that match the most dominant color in the pants.
When You Can Break the Rule
A stylish look that really pops can be achieved by wearing socks that have contrasting colors in stripes or patterns. It’s like wearing a necktie that’s mostly one color, but has stripes or patterns in other colors within its design. That can add variety and break up the monotony of a single solid color sock. If you’re wearing blue suit pants or blue jeans, for instance, you can pick a sock in a similar blue tone that also has extra colors embedded in its design.
When wearing casual attire, you have more flexibility. You may want to wear a colorful pair of socks for bold contrast or a playful look. Rather than matching your shoes or pants, they might match your shirt, belt, or jacket. Patterns of color like stripes, dots, or patterns work best. But use restraint when breaking basic fashion rules in this way. Otherwise those wild socks may become an unwanted distraction from your overall appearance. You don’t want people to pay so much attention to your socks than they don’t appreciate your overall appearance and style.