How to Match Dress Socks

When putting together stylish men’s outfits for business meetings, a date, or other important occasions, there are a lot of little aspects that you’ll want to take into consideration. From what color tie to choose to how you should lace up your shoes, there always seems to be another wardrobe detail to figure out.

One aspect, in particular, can be challenging to learn, and that’s matching dress socks to your shoes and pants. Many men stick to the primary colors, such as black or navy, to avoid needing to make this choice. However, it can still be hard to know what color to wear when your shoes and slacks are not the same color.

What should you know about matching your socks to your outfit when dressing up? Today, we’ll help you find out.

How to Match Dress Socks

First, start with a few basic rules to help ensure that you don’t choose any socks that are entirely unacceptable for your men's outfit.

Rule #1: Avoid Men’s White Dress Socks

In 99 out of 100 cases, white men’s socks won’t be the right choice for your outfit. Sure, white socks have their place like any other kind of socks, but they aren’t the right choice for wearing with slacks and dress shoes. There may be some unique exceptions, but for now, it’s good to avoid white ones while you’re learning about what socks to wear.

Rule #2: Choose Mid-Calf or Higher Lengths

For most formal occasions, you’ll want to choose quality socks that come over the calf or even higher. This type of socks will give a more professional and sleeker appearance because your ankles won’t be peeking out.

Rule #3: Match Socks to Pants

Rather than trying to match your dress socks to your shoes like most people assume they should do, you’ll find more success when dressing up with a nice pair of slacks and shoes if you match socks with pants instead of trying to match socks with shoes.

Let’s break down what this means in practice.

  • With solid pants, choose men’s patterned dress socks or solid color socks of a contrasting color.

If you wear a pair of solid socks that are close to the same color as the pants, even a subtle difference in tone will cause you to look messy. If you find an exact match to the pants, your body’s proportions may be a bit unbalanced because there’s no break in the color.

Instead, you’ll want to choose something that will add a bit of visual interest to your ankle while also separating the ankle from the leg. Selecting a contrasting solid color or a complementary patterned socks design will help you have a sleek and finished look.

  • When you’re wearing patterned dress pants, this is a great time to wear matching solid colored dress socks.

By doing this, you can elongate your legs. This is important when wearing patterns as they can cause you to look disproportionate or bottom heavy when not appropriately styled.

If you have brown patterned pants, for example, you can wear a pair of solid brown socks. These men’s solid color socks will break up the pants and separate them from the shoes, giving a nice distinct line to the look. These lines are everything when you’re looking to create an impressive image with a classy outfit.

Rule #4: Right Socks for the Right Occasions

The rules of what socks to wear can change depending on what type of event or setting you’re getting ready to participate in. Some styles just aren’t appropriate for certain situations, so you want to keep the context in which you’ll be wearing the socks in on your mind when you go to choose them.

If you’re going to a very formal or black tie event, you don’t want to wear bold or bright patterns. Instead, choose subdued colors and patterns that are made from high-quality materials.

If your business office attire policy is a stickler for following a conservative dress code, you’ll probably want to stick to subdued patterns and colors during regular business hours. Break out the bold patterns and colors during happy hour or on casual Fridays at the office.

As you can see, it’s essential that you have the right socks for the occasion. Even if you think they’ll never be noticed, they will be, so choose wisely! You never know when you’ll sit down and unexpectedly allow a peak of them to be seen by everyone.

Rule #5: Avoid Gimmick Socks For Business Office Attire

When you’re an adult dressing for the office or other important events, it’s time to let go of the gimmicky socks. This means leaving the socks covered in pizza, guitars, or beer at home when you head to work.

Sure, themed socks can be fun for some specific special occasions, but wearing them daily can be seen as unprofessional and juvenile. It’s fine to wear something with patterns on it or in a bold color, but you don’t want to choose something too busy or immature for your age, position, or workplace.

Rule #6: Don’t Show Too Much

Consider how much socks should show with your outfit. If you show too much of the socks, it might look a bit messy or even too young for your appearance. There’s a time and place for crop cut slacks that show off a lot of your socks. Choose that occasion wisely.

At other times, stick to a more standard approach to the height of your socks and the length of your pants. When you’re standing, most men find that they want their pants to touch the top of their shoes. This means that you wouldn’t always see your socks, but they will be visible in different situations as you go about your day.

Rule #7: Have Fun!

The final rule that you need to learn when figuring out how to match socks to your outfit for any occasion is to have fun with the composition! Picking out your socks doesn’t need to be dull or restricted to the primary colors of grey, blue, and black. Instead, you can incorporate those fun patterns and colors that you love most!

Final Words

Many men wouldn’t consider contrasting colors as their first choice for a socks option, but they can be worn fashionably when done with confidence. What style of socks will you choose?

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