In the rules of fashion, it’s all about knowing how to match. But what exactly should match, anyway? We know that our belts and shoes should coordinate, according to the non-existent fashion rulebook. We know that you’re not supposed to pair brown and black. But what about the less clearly defined style considerations? Among the most hotly debated is this one: Should your socks match your pants or your shoes? We’re no high fashion authority (except for when it comes to funny socks), but with socks in our wheelhouse, we will settle this debate once and for all.
Rule No. 1: Create a Little Contrast
The short answer to this question is that your socks shouldn’t match either your pants or your shoes, unless you’re going for a monochromatic look. Why? Because, with nothing to break things up, it creates the appearance that you’re wearing footie pajamas (no judgment, of course, footie pajamas are amazing). If your socks perfectly match your shoes, it might look like you’re wearing boots when you’re actually wearing dress shoes. It’s far better to create a little contrast and to break things up with color!
Rule No. 2: Pick Something Else to Match
OK, so now that we’ve established that you shouldn’t go all matchy-matchy on the socks, shoes and pants, what do you match? Do you just go grab a pair of men’s striped socks and call it a day? Actually, that’s a really good idea. Stripes are fantastic at pulling together a bunch of different hues without creating a choppy effect, but more on that later. Another great thing you can do is draw from your accent color, say from your tie, pocket square or belt.
Rule No. 3: Go for a Fun Print
Prints and patterns, including classics like stripes and argyle, are your ticket to a bold but timeless style when it comes to matching your socks to the rest of your outfit. They break up the monotony while infusing a little pop of personality. If you’re more conservative or want to keep things traditional, choose a pair of striped, dotted or checked socks that feature the color of your pants or shoes.
These days, it’s not unusual to see totally off-the-wall socks sported with dress apparel. With prints, you can go as crazy or as subtle as you like, but we’re definitely proponents of the wilder the better. A little sneak peek of some sloths, pizza, cats or tacos when you sit down? Yes, please. Browse our collection of men’s funky socks to find a vibrant print or pattern that matches your personality.
Rule No. 4: Avoid White Socks
Funky stuff not on tap for today? No problem. There’s just one thing you need to remember to keep it chill while still avoiding meandering into Drab City: No white! Not now, not ever! Wearing white socks with dress shoes is a major fashion faux pas, and one that we actually think shouldn’t be broken. Keep your white socks for white sock occasions, like when you’re on a jog or hitting the gym.
Rule No. 5: If You Must Match, Match Your Pants
Feeling like a little matching is in order? Totally fair! If you must match something, match your socks with your pants. When you match solid-colored socks to similarly colored shoes, it looks like you have on boots. But if you match solid-colored socks to similarly colored pants (and have a contrasting shoe hue) then it just looks like you have longer legs. Pro tip for those of you looking to elongate!
Rule No. 6: Do Whatever You Want
You already know this, but we have to say it: Do whatever you want. Fashion is about self-expression, and there are no rules to self-expression! As long as you rock your socks with confidence, you’re going to make a good impression no matter what. So sock on, everyone!