Socks are an important piece of clothing, even though most men don’t pay much attention to them. They are not only a visible part of our outfit, but are also important because they are functional. They absorb our perspiration, protect us from abrasion and so much more. A bad pair of socks can harm your feet and mood, while a good one can go a long way.
In this article, we have a look at socks from different angles, such as design, length, functionality and other factors.
We will start with a brief history of this piece to understand some background info and then we will go in the details.
Socks have been around for a lot of years. The Ancient Greeks wore them, the Romans wore them too, but the exact date of their appearance can’t be known, as the first pairs of socks probably “dissolved” by now. We know that in ancient times though, socks were made out of animal skins and hair, in order to offer protection and keep warm. The socks history has seen a huge change in 1589, when the knitting machine appeared. Until then, socks were knitted by hand. After this year, machines and workers worked together until 1800. The introduction of nylon in 1938 also changed the way people saw socks, as until then, they were made out of wool, cotton and silk (which, as you will read, are still preferred fabrics). Socks have also become part of different stories or holidays, such as Christmas, as it is celebrated in the Western world, where Santa brings gifts and places them in people’s neatly arranged socks. Socks also have different variations, such as the Koren beoseon.
But socks are more than just a functional piece, they can also be a fashion statement. We have a few “rules” as we like to call them and pieces of information that might help you learn about socks. Of course, we want you to create your own style and follow these “rules” just as guidelines.
It’s important to know more about socks as it this will give you better insight into the world of fashion, style, and clothing, and you might discover things you didn’t know and which you can use in different situations.
Let’s start with the general rules.
1. First of all, the socks you are wearing must match your pants. This is a guideline that will give you a look you won’t go wrong with. However, once you know your style and want to express your identity through socks, and clothes in general, you can break this rule and be more personal. You can get socks that are colorful, have patterns or are different in other ways and even pair them with your tie or shoes.
2. It is said that socks are to merge the shoe and the pants (if you are wearing long pants of course), and you are not supposed to show skin between them. Of course, we don’t believe in rules and think that if you can pull it off, you should do it.
3. Socks, like the rest of the pieces you are wearing, must go with the whole outfit and the occasion. Don’t wear sports socks at a black tie event or vice versa.
4. Try to avoid socks that have holes in them. Unless that’s your trademark look. Of course, then you are probably weird in a weird way.
5. Learn you sock size, as otherwise you will be either having your circulation stopped by your socks or you will be swimming in them. If you’re not sure, try several sock on until you know exactly what your size is, but mind the fact that sizes can vary by manufacturer.
Types of socks
Now let’s talk about the types of socks there are according to the size and the occasion you want to wear them at.
1. Regarding the length aspect of the sock, there are three types of socks: low-cut sport, ankle-dress, and knee-length socks. Of course, the low-cut type is for sports, relaxation, very casual dressing, and occasions at which you wear short pants, while the other types are for dressier occasions. We need to mention that knee-length socks are rarer, as they cost more to produce, so finding them will be harder and they are probably going to be more expensive. However, you don’t need to panic (haha, we hope you were not in a fashion panic), as ankle-dress socks will do the job really well.
From left to right: low-cut sport, ankle-dress, and knee-length socks
When it comes to purpose, there are more types of socks:
1. Dress socks. This type is made to be worn at most occasions where you need to wear a suit or a casual outfit. Usually these socks are made in neutral colors, mostly dark colors, and if they have a pattern, this is usually the classic argyle. Usually, if you wear light-colored dress socks, you should wear them with a light outfit.
Socks with Argyle pattern
2. Sports and Athletic Performance Socks. These are the socks you wear at the gym, while hiking and so on. They can be low-cut socks or very high socks (depending on the sport you wear them for). Some socks are made to enhance a man’s athletic performances, using techniques that wick sweat, trap in heat (for winter sports usually) or increase comfort.
3. Protective socks. This type of socks is not very common, as it is not created to be worn casually. Protective socks are usually designed to help the wearer in extreme conditions, such as mountain expeditions or swimming (there is a type of socks that can be worn while swimming, that protect the feet from getting too cold even though they are wet).
Socks and design
Socks usually come in three types when it comes to color
1. Neutral. Neutral socks are perfect for formal events. If you want to have a good look for this type of event, we recommend that you match your socks to your pants and not to your neckwear. What’s also a rule we go by is to match the textures as well: shiny pants go with shiny socks, while a tweed suit doesn’t go. Neutral socks can be worn with casual outfits too. But when you are wearing a casual outfit, you can match your socks (for example if they are navy blue) to your jacket or another piece on the upper half of your outfit.
It is said that white socks are to be worn only when doing physical activities. If that is a rule to live by is up for you to decide.
Solid color socks
2. Sold color. It is quite a modern thing for men to wear colored socks, but we encourage it, like it and think that it’s a safe experiment you can try. Block colors mean chalky or non-chalky colors that don’t fall under the neutral spectrum (beige, black, blue, khaki, etc). In our opinion, socks shouldn’t be the main focus of your outfit. Of course, it is fun to do so once in a while. They should be a supporting piece of everything you wear. Lower, in the further reading section, you can find directions about choosing the colors of your clothes, so that you get a better look at what accent colors are. Usually colorful socks are (in our opinion) to be worn when you already have another colorful piece, otherwise, if you are wearing a rather neutral outfit, the socks will be the only thing people will remember about you.
3. Patterns. Nowadays socks with patterns or prints are more widespread, which is a very good thing. It is highly recommended that the pattern of your socks should be matched to a color on the upper part of your outfit. We also would say it’s best not to match your patterned socks with another pattern that you are already wearing. Meaning, you can have two patterns, but you shouldn’t match them. Wearing funny socks can be tricky, as the message that comes across needs to be in tandem with the context you are wearing them in, for example, when are Bart Simpson socks appropriate for a 40 year old dude?
Purple striped socks
When it comes to fabrics, socks are being made out of a variety of materials, each having it’s own particularities:
1. Wool. The classic material for socks, wool is the fabric that socks have been made out of for a lot of time. Wool socks come in all prices and they go great for all types of guys.
2. Cotton. Cotton is also a very popular fabric when it comes to men’s socks. It is often blended with man-made fibers to improve the fit and strength of the sock. It is very durable and conforms to the shape of the foot, offering excellent fit. They are easily washed (you can use pretty much any type of washing product) and are easily maintained.
3. Cashmere. Cashmere is, of course, a luxury fabric and it’s properties, although similar to wool, are a lot finer. The thing with cashmere is that it needs to be maintained with a lot more care than other fabrics. We think it is recommended to avoid a washing machine or dryer when it comes to cashmere. So, washing socks by hand requires not only the skill, but also the time and patience that come with this.
4. Silk. Silk is also a fine fabric that you can consider when it comes to socks. It is often blended with high-quality wool in order for the sock to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. And how nice is that, to have clothes that change their properties by the season? Silk, like cashmere, is lighter than wool and will make the socks be almost bulk-free.
What if you do not want to wear socks
Sockless is the way to go for many men. Not wearing socks is hard to pull off in winter, so for most men there is a limited time in which they can be sock-free. Not wearing socks is a trademark of casual occasions, so of course you should not go sockless at a black tie event, or at least that’s what’s recommended. The problem with going sockless is that you need to have really, but really good shoes, otherwise you will sweat, slip and be really uncomfortable. Not to mention blisters and other surprises that might come along. We have a tip for you. If you like the look of being sockless, but still want to get all the comfort socks provide, go for no-show socks. They are a great option and feel just like normal socks.
No show socks
There you have it! Now, you can use this information to get the pair of socks that fits you, your budget and needs. And even if socks are not such a big part of your wardrobe, make sure they are a well-taken-care-of part. Having the right pieces will improve your mood and will help you do everything better! For the better,
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. What type of socks do you like to wear? Do you like to be more liberal or conservative when it comes to socks?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Further reading: The Professional Way To Choose The Colors Of Your Clothes