Men's dress socks used to be a crucial part of their wardrobe, whether for business or for an evening out. Men who are serious about looking good still focus on wearing good socks, but many men prefer to save money in this area, trusting that socks are not something readily noticed. If you are someone who would like to have good socks but have cost concerns, there are a number of options.
Guidelines for Wearing Dress Socks
Basic though it may seem, there are rules about dress socks that every man should know. If you want to break them, that is your choice, but you should still be aware of what's considered appropriate.
The general rule is that a sock should be a darker color than the trousers. They can, however, be a different color. Traditionally, they match the tie and handkerchief, thus creating a complete outfit. In the 1920s and 1930s, socks were bright and fun, with bold patterns and colors. The well-dressed man was mindful of being too garish, but he could still make some interesting choices. Argyle was the most popular pattern and socks generally contrasted with trousers unless black tie was worn. After World War II, men's dress clothes became more conservative and socks were more subdued.
Today, if a patterned sock is worn, its background color should match the trouser leg or the shoes. Pale and even white socks may be worn with a cream summer suit, although off-white is still preferred.
The American style calls for socks that match the trouser leg. This is flattering because it makes the leg appear longer - a crucial consideration, as American men too often wear their trousers too short. Even when trousers are the correct length, a sock should still be long enough to fit over the calf. Knee-length is more appropriate, although these days can be harder to find.
A dress sock is defined by its fabric. Silk and cashmere are the most common and preferable, although very fine cottons may also be worn.
Shopping for Mens Dress Socks
Good men's dress socks can be found at most men's suit shops and high-end department stores. Ideally, if you are buying a suit at a better shop, you will also buy socks there and get the advice of a salesperson so that you choose the right shade and length.
Traditional Dress Socks
If you prefer to stick to the classic styles, you can't go wrong at Brooks Brothers. They have a large selection of socks, many of them over-the calf, in fine fabrics and either plain dark colors or subtle patterns, all designed to match standard suits.
Dress Socks Complete the Look
If you really care about the way you dress, especially if you need to dress business casual or wear a suit, it's worth investing in a pair or two of dress socks. Considering the cost of dress shirts and pants, as well as suit coats, why risk spoiling your look with the wrong socks. If you're going to dress to impress, make your look complete.