A 3-Step Guide to Choosing the Right Men’s Dress Socks

Dress socks are a versatile men’s closet staple that can be worn in both casual and corporate settings. However, certain guidelines do govern how they’re meant to be worn. Whether you work in a conservative office environment or are just looking for ways to give yourself a style boost, our guide will teach you how to choose the ideal dress socks for every occasion:

Guide to Choosing the Right Men’s Dress Socks

Guide to Choosing the Right Men's Dress Socks

Step 1: Consider the Length

There used to be strict rules governing the length of one’s socks with respect to the attire or event, back when any skin exposure was considered highly scandalous. Attitudes about this have relaxed over the years, but it is still considered improper for any part of a man’s leg to show if he is wearing formal wear.

Over-the-calf or executive socks are considered the dressiest of all sock lengths. They’re long enough to reach up to the space below the knee, completely preventing any skin from showing even when you’re sitting down. Mid-calf or crew length socks are a popular modern option that can also be worn with business attire and in other formal settings. They should rise halfway up the calf at a minimum and keep your skin covered even with your legs crossed.

Step 2: Select a Material

The main function of socks is to wick sweat away from the skin. The material you choose ultimately affects how the socks perform.

Cotton is one of the most popular base materials for socks. It is a comfortable, highly absorbent fabric that is suitable for warm weather. However, it isn’t too effective at wicking moisture off the skin on its own. Manufacturers get around the issue by blending it with synthetics that can compensate for the absent feature. Go for a cotton blend material if you are going to be wearing your socks throughout a hot day.

Wool socks are a nifty option that most men reach for when the temperature starts to drop. It is also a very breathable material that can keep you cool on warm days. Just like cotton though, it doesn’t do too well at wicking moisture away from the body. Wool blends are an excellent compromise as long as they aren’t too bulky; the added volume can ruin the sleek lines of a well-tailored suit.

See Also: How to Stretch Tight Jeans

Step 3: Pick Your Color

Most men associate dress socks with the color black, and it is by far the safest option in most cases. Dark shades such as black, navy, or brown go well with most pants colors and create a traditional, understated look. If you’d like to venture away from black and dark colors but would still like to keep within safe limits, matching your socks to the color of the trousers you’ll be wearing is a similarly inoffensive choice that can modernize your style.

Those aspiring to become savvier dressers have a near-limitless color palette to choose from. Bold solid colors are a great way to add some pop to your outfit. Many fashion experts recommend choosing shades that have similar undertones to some other element of your outfit for a cohesive look. A splash of bright color can brighten up a dark or black ensemble, too.

The only color you should steer clear of when it comes to dress socks is white. White might have been the de facto sock color of choice in your boyhood days, but they don’t deserve a place in any adult male’s closet.

Socks can seem like such a minor detail, but they can make or break an entire outfit. Choose your dress socks wisely, and make sure they’re intact and in good shape before wearing them to your next event.


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