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After spending eons as the invisible, bastard stepchild in the footwear ensemble, socks are having their moment in the sun. A burgeoning industry is now developing, with bright colours, different textures and materials as well patterns and designs that otherwise were absent from the male wardrobe. Thanks to designer brands like Etro, Paul Smith and Kenzo, the designer sock has become a regular in men’s closets. For many of you that are unsure of whether or not you can pull off a statement or bold pair of socks, I’ve got six tips that will help you decide when, where and how to wear them.

  • Life isn’t black or white, so why are you? Unless you are going on a run or going to a funeral, plain black or white socks aren’t doing anything for your style other than supporting the fact that you’ve not really got any. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a classic pair of socks. Don’t fool yourself that it’s Armani – if its black or white, brand doesn’t matter.

 

  • You don’t get points for matching. Generally, the conservative approach for the casual sock wearer is simple – your socks should be a shade darker or a shade lighter than your slacks/ jeans/shorts. If your pants are the same colour as your socks, you might as well be wearing jeggings (yes, these exist for men as well).

 

  • Branded doesn’t define style. If your socks are literally an advertisement for the brand you’ve purchased it from, you are basically a walking ad for the company. It may win you points with your label-obsessed friends, but they’ll remember your sock brand more than they will remember you.

 

  • Pendants are to necklaces what socks are to shoes. Sure, you can wear a necklace bare, but the pendant is the statement. Your socks also add the pop between your trousers and your shoes. Make sure they complement your ensemble and stand out on their own. If I’m wearing jeans and tan leather oxfords, I like to add a dash of colour – a solid bright red or orange pair of socks to add a splash to the outfit. But remember, if you put the Hope Diamond on a thick gold loop chain, it’s going to be too much. Make sure your socks and shoes don’t clash.

 

  • Patterns, designs and fabrics should enhance and not overstate the look. Be mindful of what else you are wearing and not wearing. Also be aware of where you are going. This is crucial, as you need to know your audience, because your socks can leave quite the impression in the room. Do you want to blend in, stand out, be remembered or be forgotten? If you are taking the road less travelled in hosiery, make sure you are sending the correct message – it matters.

 

  • Without shoes, do I like my look? This is the most important one for me. There’s never a time we put on our socks after our shoes. There is a 100 per cent probability that we will be shoe-naked and exposing our socks at some point, somewhere. While it may just be to ourselves before leaving or once coming home, we have to be aware that we may be judged for just our socks too. If you are stopping at a temple, visiting someone with a no-shoe policy in the house or simply taking off your shoes for a moment to take a pebble out of it, you need to be mindful of this. Make sure your socks are clean, and don’t tarnish the reputation your wardrobe may otherwise be sending.

 

  • For me, socks are an entertaining, fascinating way to send a subtle message to the people I meet about who I am, how I see the world and also what defines my style. The next time you think about buying a pair of socks, go one step further and imagine it in your collection. Of course, it matters how your wear it and for that, confidence is key. Let’s sock up, folks!
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