If you consider yourself a snappy dresser until you look in your sock drawer, you aren’t alone. Choosing socks can be as complicated as choosing the right tie for your suit and shirt. Here are our basic rules to help match sock colors with your pants and shoes.
White socks are for the gym. Enough said.
The Basics: Matching Socks
If you don’t want to become overwhelmed in sock choices, these tried-and-true rules for matching socks will work for you:
Avoid White Socks – White socks are for the gym. Enough said.
Match Socks with Your Pants – Always match your socks to your pants, not your shoes. If you choose to match your socks to your shoes instead of your pants, you will look like you are wearing boots.
Match Patterned Pants with Solid Socks – Solid socks are a must if you are wearing pants with a pattern, such as plaid, houndstooth, or pinstripes. Just choose the most subtle or dominant color in the pattern like grey, black, or navy, and you’ll be fine.
Match Solid Socks with Solid Pants – When choosing solid socks to go with solid pants, you will not be able to find an exact match. The general rule is to choose socks in the same color family as your pants but go for contrast using darker colored socks with lighter pants and vice versa. For example, match light grey pants with grey or black socks.
The Advanced Sock Matching Rules
If you consider yourself savvier than the average man when it comes to fashion, you can take things to the next level with these advanced sock rules.
Two Tone Socks with Solid Pants – If you don’t like the stark contrast of solid against solid, an excellent option is a two-toned sock. This arrangement provides less contrast and has a refined look that is more neutral. Two-toned socks work with subtle patterns such as shadow stripes or subtle argyles in the same color family.
Complementary Colors – Look for interesting color combinations, such as charcoal and blue socks with a grey suit, or orange and brown socks with a tan suit if you are a little more daring. Just keep the details of your tie and pocket square in mind: If you are opting for a dazzling sock, keep your tie and pocket square solid colors with no pattern.
Mixing Pant, Shoe, and Sock Colors – If you want to tie these three elements together, it will take more thought. For example, if you are wearing a classic oxblood leather shoe with a navy suit, look for combinations in your socks such as blue and red or burgundy and red. The blue and red are more of a fashion statement, while the red and burgundy are subtler for a more reserved look.
Correctly matching your socks with your pants and shoes will provide a highly polished look.
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