To be clear, this is not an in-depth guide telling you how to wear socks. Firstly, you shouldn’t need an in-depth guide telling you how to wear socks. They’re socks. Rather, think of this as a bit of friendly advice to those of you who – for some unfathomable reason – see socks as optional.
Socks are, at their most basic, underwear. But, despite the fact that we’d never forgo pulling on our boxers every morning, there are those walking chilly-ankled among us whose socks drawers, it seem, lay bare. So, for those of you so openly flouting these sartorial rules, it’s time to pull up your proverbials. In other words, and to paraphrase the artistic stylings of hip-hop trio Salt-n-Pepa, let’s talk about socks.
If you’re not wearing them, you should be
As you read this, are you bobbing around on a superyacht in some balmy bay or tropical waters? No, we thought not. So why did you decide not to wear socks this morning?
You can just about get away without wearing socks with boat shoes and espadrilles. But, when it’s Monday morning on the Central Line, none of your fellow commuters want to see that three or four inches of leg you’re oh-so unglamorously flashing. Our first piece of friendly advice is that almost any outfit needs socks. Your work suit, a pair of jeans, your running gear, some simple chinos. The list goes on.
So, for those of you who dabbled with the sockless life back on a boat last summer, and still haven’t found the energy or basic politeness to return to the world of the adequately clothed, shape up.
Basic socks are good enough
As Christmas has just rumbled by, it’s likely that you got caught in the novelty sock crossfire at some point, and are now the not-so proud owner of a pair patterned with a cartoon character or hilarious – feel the sarcasm – slogan. First thing’s first, bin them.
Next up, turn to the type of socks you should be wearing. Darker colours are always advisable, although a subtle stripe or texture is always encouraged. You should always attempt to match your socks, be it tonally or colour-wise, to your trousers. Never set out trying to match your socks to your shoes – unless they’re black.
And, even if your friends strut about with socks in various paisley patterns or shades of garish green, you can stroll safe in the knowledge that you’re committing fewer fashion faux pas with your whole outfit than their ankles alone. And, if they try to tell you that ‘colourful socks show self-expression’ and ‘black socks are boring’, tell them to put a sock in it…
Keep your simple socks in good shape
Polyester offers little support, and wears incredibly easily. Cotton, even, has its downfalls and doesn’t wick away sweat or moisture from your feet. But wool, the holy grail of fuzzy footwear, with its hard-wearing fibres and warmth, will well and truly knock your socks off.
So invest in the best, and keep them well. Throw any socks away when they develop holes, stains or lose their shape so badly that they resemble little more than elasticated foot sacks. Never wear white socks with formalwear, or black socks with sportswear. Throw away any single socks, because matching is of paramount importance. And, if you ever even look at socks and sandals in the same glance, take a good hard look at yourself.
And that’s all we have to say on the matter.
Uncertain about your jeans etiquette? Allow us to set the record straight with our guide to white jeans