Conservatively Patterned Socks

There’s an old piece of wisdom that says men should match their socks to their trousers. Doing so elongates the leg line, which in turn supposedly makes the man look taller. I’ve never been quite sure of this rule (or the logic). It works fine for navy or charcoal trousers, but matching brown socks to similarly colored pants and shoes seems off to me. I also don’t care for light colored socks, so wheat and mid-grey trousers need a different colored hose. 

In the end, I’ve found that navy socks go with everything. It’s richer than black and complements any color next to it. Thus, most of my socks are a solid navy, with charcoal a close second. I also have a few pairs in odd colors such as dark bottle green and aubergine, which I wear whenever I want a bit of irreverence. Those are never worn to match trousers, of course, though sometimes they complement a secondary color in my tie. 

It can be a bit boring to only have solid colored socks, however, so you can mix in some conservative patterns. This takes a bit more focus in the morning, but can add real character to your ensemble. Time-honored combinations include a two-toned houndstooth with glen plaid flannels, fine herringbone with a chalk striped suiting, or well spaced pin-dot hose with windowpaned wools. The key here is to find a pattern that both complements and contrasts your trousers. If you stick to neutral colors and conservative, traditional patterns, this should be easy. 

Marcoliani and Bresciani makes some of the best patterned socks out there. Marcoliani can be found through Kabbaz & Kelly, Howard Yount, and O’Connell’s. If you’re in the Bay Area, you can also find them at The Hound Clothiers. Bresciani can be bought through A Suitable WardrobeBerg & Berg, and Mr. Porter. Both of these brands are expensive, but the construction is top-notch and the patterns are tasteful.

For more affordable options, keep an eye out for Pantherella socks on Sierra Trading Post. They have more synthetic fibers in their composition, which means they’re a bit less breathable and durable, but their patterns are equally tasteful and they can be had for as little as $5 a pair (just wait for the heavy markdowns). Uniqlo also has these dotted socks which you can buy through Suddenlee, but they’re cotton and not over-the-calf. I recommend waiting for the Pantherella sales instead, if you can wait. 

Photo credits: MostExerent, SpooPoker, and Pocket Square Guy.



Staying Warm
I was joking with friends a few weeks  ago that Napoleon should have waited for global warming before he  invaded Russia. Even in early December, Moscow didn’t feel that cold and  I was able to get by with some good sweaters and a fall coat. In the  last few days, however, it finally feels like winter. It’s  about 25°F here and snow has fallen. My neighborhood looks  like a Russian winter wonderland. 
In weather like this, most people know that they should wear  sweaters, scarves, and heavy coats. Down-filled parkas, duffle coats,  and heavyweight overcoats are good for protection. A pair of  cashmere-lined leather gloves can also be very useful. 
Perhaps a little neglected, however, are good baselayers. I strongly recommend Smartwool for almost all this stuff - long johns and long-sleeve undershirts, mainly, but they also make very warm wool socks. You can get them at REI.  They come in different weights and thicknesses, and they’re the best  I’ve ever come across. Get the pair that matches your lifestyle and  weather conditions. If you get ones that are too thick, you can actually  find yourself to be too warm in the office. 
I’ve also been reasonably satisfied with Terramar, which you can find heavily discounted at Sierra Trading Post.  I don’t find the construction to be as nice, or the garments to be as  warm, but they still serve pretty well. For something even more affordable,  consider Uniqlo’s HEATTECH.  I have no personal experience with them, but they’re well regarded by  many and are currently on sale. The long johns and long-sleeved shirts  are $12.90, warm-lined pants are $14.90, and socks are $9.90. Uniqlo  unfortunately doesn’t have an online store, but you can purchase  anything from them through Suddenlee (who will ship nationwide). Just enter the sale prices into Suddenlee’s checkout process.
You might also want to consider putting a pair of felted wool insoles into your boots. The Great English Outdoors sells  a great pair for a fair price. I guarantee that if you have a have  some good baselayers, felted wool insoles, and a good coat, you’ll be  ready for winter almost anywhere. 
(As an aside, it’s worth noting that even though it’s snowing and  bitterly cold here, many Russian women still wear skirts and high heels.  If anyone ever wants to start a war with Russia, they should probably  know that fact.)

Staying Warm

I was joking with friends a few weeks ago that Napoleon should have waited for global warming before he invaded Russia. Even in early December, Moscow didn’t feel that cold and I was able to get by with some good sweaters and a fall coat. In the last few days, however, it finally feels like winter. It’s about 25°F here and snow has fallen. My neighborhood looks like a Russian winter wonderland. 

In weather like this, most people know that they should wear sweaters, scarves, and heavy coats. Down-filled parkas, duffle coats, and heavyweight overcoats are good for protection. A pair of cashmere-lined leather gloves can also be very useful. 

Perhaps a little neglected, however, are good baselayers. I strongly recommend Smartwool for almost all this stuff - long johns and long-sleeve undershirts, mainly, but they also make very warm wool socks. You can get them at REI. They come in different weights and thicknesses, and they’re the best I’ve ever come across. Get the pair that matches your lifestyle and weather conditions. If you get ones that are too thick, you can actually find yourself to be too warm in the office. 

I’ve also been reasonably satisfied with Terramar, which you can find heavily discounted at Sierra Trading Post. I don’t find the construction to be as nice, or the garments to be as warm, but they still serve pretty well. For something even more affordable, consider Uniqlo’s HEATTECH. I have no personal experience with them, but they’re well regarded by many and are currently on sale. The long johns and long-sleeved shirts are $12.90, warm-lined pants are $14.90, and socks are $9.90. Uniqlo unfortunately doesn’t have an online store, but you can purchase anything from them through Suddenlee (who will ship nationwide). Just enter the sale prices into Suddenlee’s checkout process.

You might also want to consider putting a pair of felted wool insoles into your boots. The Great English Outdoors sells a great pair for a fair price. I guarantee that if you have a have some good baselayers, felted wool insoles, and a good coat, you’ll be ready for winter almost anywhere. 

(As an aside, it’s worth noting that even though it’s snowing and bitterly cold here, many Russian women still wear skirts and high heels. If anyone ever wants to start a war with Russia, they should probably know that fact.)

“Fashion is a dangerous road to go down. Anybody who is going to have children later in life had best not be too fashionable because the photos will come back to haunt them.” — Graydon Carter in the Wall Street Journal, who continues “I think the absence of socks on men wearing suits and brogues is a problem. They’ll live to regret that.”
Sierra Trading Post
There are some really good sales right now at Sierra Trading Post. Once you sign up for their DealFlyer newsletter, you’ll be notified of their daily coupons. Lately, they’ve been offering 35% off your whole order, as well as free shipping if you spend more than $100. That gives the following deals:
Derek Rose pajamas: Excellent pajamas available in multiple designs and colors. Starting price is $78. A bit expensive, to be sure, but Derek Rose is one of the better makers out there. 
Falke and Pantherella socks: Two top-tier hosiery manufacturers, though Pantherella’s quality has taken a dive in recent years. Still, you can get over-the-calf wool socks for about $5 right now, which makes this one of the best deals I’ve seen on socks. 
Johnstons of Elgin scarves and throws: Johnstons of Elgin is a 200+ year old manufacturer of woolen and cashmere goods. They’re not as nice as Colombo or Begg, but they’re very good and much more affordable. Johnstons’ cashmere scarves can be had right now for $39, while their lambswool scarves are $13. At those prices, these are a real steal. 
Tretorn sneakers: These aren’t the Nylites that the menswear bloggerotti have been wearing, but I could see this model still working very well for fall. For $45, it’s not bad. They also have other styles for as little as $26. 
Smartwool baselayers: Smartwool makes some of the best garments for cold weather. If you live in a cold climate, it may be wise to get a few of their baselayers and socks before winter arrives. They’re not the most stylish, but since they’re worn under your garments, they’re also not seen. I even recommend wearing them at home to save money on your heating bill. 
Trickers shoes: Trickers are a bit too rounded for my taste, but they’re quite popular among men’s style enthusiasts. Of the ones available at Sierra Trading Post right now, I like this boot the most, and the extra discount brings it down to $316. 
Bill’s Khakis M3 pants: Bill’s Khakis look a bit frumpy online, but I assure you they’re excellent. The M3 is their slimmest model, but it may need some tapering once you get them. That job should run you about $20, but when the chinos themselves cost $52, these are still a great deal.

Sierra Trading Post

There are some really good sales right now at Sierra Trading Post. Once you sign up for their DealFlyer newsletter, you’ll be notified of their daily coupons. Lately, they’ve been offering 35% off your whole order, as well as free shipping if you spend more than $100. That gives the following deals:

  • Derek Rose pajamas: Excellent pajamas available in multiple designs and colors. Starting price is $78. A bit expensive, to be sure, but Derek Rose is one of the better makers out there.
  • Falke and Pantherella socks: Two top-tier hosiery manufacturers, though Pantherella’s quality has taken a dive in recent years. Still, you can get over-the-calf wool socks for about $5 right now, which makes this one of the best deals I’ve seen on socks.
  • Johnstons of Elgin scarves and throws: Johnstons of Elgin is a 200+ year old manufacturer of woolen and cashmere goods. They’re not as nice as Colombo or Begg, but they’re very good and much more affordable. Johnstons’ cashmere scarves can be had right now for $39, while their lambswool scarves are $13. At those prices, these are a real steal.
  • Tretorn sneakers: These aren’t the Nylites that the menswear bloggerotti have been wearing, but I could see this model still working very well for fall. For $45, it’s not bad. They also have other styles for as little as $26.
  • Smartwool baselayers: Smartwool makes some of the best garments for cold weather. If you live in a cold climate, it may be wise to get a few of their baselayers and socks before winter arrives. They’re not the most stylish, but since they’re worn under your garments, they’re also not seen. I even recommend wearing them at home to save money on your heating bill.
  • Trickers shoes: Trickers are a bit too rounded for my taste, but they’re quite popular among men’s style enthusiasts. Of the ones available at Sierra Trading Post right now, I like this boot the most, and the extra discount brings it down to $316. 
  • Bill’s Khakis M3 pants: Bill’s Khakis look a bit frumpy online, but I assure you they’re excellent. The M3 is their slimmest model, but it may need some tapering once you get them. That job should run you about $20, but when the chinos themselves cost $52, these are still a great deal.

The Color Purple

Most men rely on standard colors for their wardrobe - blues, greys, and browns, in various shades and textures. These are good foundational colors since they’re easy to wear and complement each other well. However, only relying on these colors get a bit boring, and eventually cease to excite the eye. As such, it’s good to have a few secondary colors in your wardrobe just to break things up a bit. Salmon pink, hunter green, and bordeaux are all very nice, but today I’ll talk about purple. 

Purple can make a statement since it’s a unique color. However, it’s so closely related to blue that it can also feel familiar and sophisticated. Purple is also much more versatile than men give it credit for. It complements many of the standard colors men wear and serves a good substitute for blue. For example, a dark, deep purple tie goes well with a tan jacket and light blue shirt, and can be used any time you would otherwise wear a navy tie (though the conservativeness of navy can make it more useful). 

I also recommend purple socks. Michael Drake, co-founder of Drake’s of London, wears them as a personal signature of eccentricity. This past summer, I often wore purple socks with light blue shirts and pants in either a grey tropical wool or tan linen (first picture above). I’ve found that this ensemble goes especially well with brown suede shoes. 

Hardy Amies once said of purple, “I can see no use for this handsome, not unmasculine colour except for ties, socks and handkerchiefs.” I, however, think it can be used for more than accessories. For example, lavender shirts go quite well underneath navy or tan suits. You can pair it with a conservative, charcoal tie, and then have a secondary color in the tie pick up the lavender in your shirt or the color of your suit. This practice seems to be common in Moscow. From my observation, one in six men here on the street will be wearing a lavender shirt, and it always looks good (assuming the shirt fits well). 

The standard palette of grey, brown, and blue is a nice foundation, but don’t neglect to have some secondary colors here or there. Purple works with a number of colors and wearing it well can add variety into your wardrobe. Just don’t overdo it. Wearing too much of it will make you look like Barney, and doing things such as matching purple socks to purple ties will make you look too studied. Purple, in my opinion, should be worn with a healthy dose of nonchalance. 

(pictures above taken from Ethan Desu, A Bit of Color, Men of Habit, and me)

Gilt is having a really interesting sale on Pantherella’s wool over-the-calf socks. Pantherella has been adding more and more nylon in their socks over the years in order to save cost. However, Gilt has labeled these either 100% wool or 90/10 mix of wool and nylon (adding just a bit of nylon helps retain the sock’s shape). That would make these even better than Marcolianis, which are either 100% wool or 80/20 blends. 
Gilt is selling these in packs of three for $35, which make each pair of socks about $11.50. Compare that to Marcolianis, which sell pure wool socks for $27 and $22 for blends. 
If Gilt has labeled these correctly, then these are probably Pantherella’s old stock, which used to be some of the best socks you could buy. I’ve long recommended that men wear wool over-the-calf socks and these are great deals to get them. 
If you’re not a member of Gilt, you can become one through this invitation link. For the sake of full disclosure, I get $25 if you sign up and buy something, which would be nice, but I’m posting this more because I want everyone to be able to take advantage of this sale. 

Gilt is having a really interesting sale on Pantherella’s wool over-the-calf socks. Pantherella has been adding more and more nylon in their socks over the years in order to save cost. However, Gilt has labeled these either 100% wool or 90/10 mix of wool and nylon (adding just a bit of nylon helps retain the sock’s shape). That would make these even better than Marcolianis, which are either 100% wool or 80/20 blends. 

Gilt is selling these in packs of three for $35, which make each pair of socks about $11.50. Compare that to Marcolianis, which sell pure wool socks for $27 and $22 for blends. 

If Gilt has labeled these correctly, then these are probably Pantherella’s old stock, which used to be some of the best socks you could buy. I’ve long recommended that men wear wool over-the-calf socks and these are great deals to get them. 

If you’re not a member of Gilt, you can become one through this invitation link. For the sake of full disclosure, I get $25 if you sign up and buy something, which would be nice, but I’m posting this more because I want everyone to be able to take advantage of this sale. 

Q and Answer: What Color Shoes Should I Wear With a Navy Suit?
Peter writes: I was recently given a fantastic vintage navy blue suit from the ’70s by my father. The  only thing stopping me from wearing it every opportunity I have is the  fact that I do not know what shoes to wear with it. I have seen images  of men wearing brown and black oxfords and derbys and I really have no  idea what is correct. Also, how does the choice of shoe alter which sock  is appropriate?
What color shoes to wear with a navy suit is a matter of perpetual debate. The general answer is that it depends on the circumstances and personal preference. The specific answer? Well, let’s run it down.
Brown: Once, wearing brown shoes with navy was heresy unless you were a Boston Brahmin or a particularly wild Italian. However, brown is the default choice for daytime wear today. The color makes a comfortable partner for navy blue, particularly in darker hues like chocolate. Whether brown shoes are appropriate in the workplace is up to you; there are traditional gentlemen in London who still think brown shoes are inappropriate at a business no matter what color your suit is.
Black: This is the traditional choice, particularly in the English tradition. Black shoes are more suitable for business and the evening, and while I don’t go to a lot of suit-wearing business meetings, when I wear a navy suit at night, I reach for the sharper, more formal black footwear. 
Burgundy: Burgundy or cordovan shoes are the wild card here. (Note that “cordovan” is a color, “shell cordovan” a material.) They pair well with navy and are suitable for day or night wear. They’re certainly a somewhat bolder choice than chocolate brown or black, but I think they acquit themselves well. When I wear a navy suit during the day, I find myself pulling out my burgundy shell cordovan Florsheim longwings.
As far as socks are concerned, your default should be to match your trousers - that means navy socks. This applies no matter what color shoes you’re wearing. In fact, you can pretty much wear navy socks with anything other than shorts. If you don’t choose navy, you’ll want something with some contrast, and that contrast should compliment the rest of your outfit. It can pull a color from your accessories, for example. It can also be a wildcard - once in a while, with a white square, blue shirt, blue tie and blue suit, I’ll wear red socks.
(By the way: while this guy looks good, I don’t recommended fitting a suit like this.)

Q and Answer: What Color Shoes Should I Wear With a Navy Suit?

Peter writes: I was recently given a fantastic vintage navy blue suit from the ’70s by my father. The only thing stopping me from wearing it every opportunity I have is the fact that I do not know what shoes to wear with it. I have seen images of men wearing brown and black oxfords and derbys and I really have no idea what is correct. Also, how does the choice of shoe alter which sock is appropriate?

What color shoes to wear with a navy suit is a matter of perpetual debate. The general answer is that it depends on the circumstances and personal preference. The specific answer? Well, let’s run it down.

  • Brown: Once, wearing brown shoes with navy was heresy unless you were a Boston Brahmin or a particularly wild Italian. However, brown is the default choice for daytime wear today. The color makes a comfortable partner for navy blue, particularly in darker hues like chocolate. Whether brown shoes are appropriate in the workplace is up to you; there are traditional gentlemen in London who still think brown shoes are inappropriate at a business no matter what color your suit is.
  • Black: This is the traditional choice, particularly in the English tradition. Black shoes are more suitable for business and the evening, and while I don’t go to a lot of suit-wearing business meetings, when I wear a navy suit at night, I reach for the sharper, more formal black footwear. 
  • Burgundy: Burgundy or cordovan shoes are the wild card here. (Note that “cordovan” is a color, “shell cordovan” a material.) They pair well with navy and are suitable for day or night wear. They’re certainly a somewhat bolder choice than chocolate brown or black, but I think they acquit themselves well. When I wear a navy suit during the day, I find myself pulling out my burgundy shell cordovan Florsheim longwings.

As far as socks are concerned, your default should be to match your trousers - that means navy socks. This applies no matter what color shoes you’re wearing. In fact, you can pretty much wear navy socks with anything other than shorts. If you don’t choose navy, you’ll want something with some contrast, and that contrast should compliment the rest of your outfit. It can pull a color from your accessories, for example. It can also be a wildcard - once in a while, with a white square, blue shirt, blue tie and blue suit, I’ll wear red socks.

(By the way: while this guy looks good, I don’t recommended fitting a suit like this.)

We Got It For Free: Gold Toe Socks
I’m somewhat of a sock evangelist. To me, some of the worst sartorial transgressions have nothing to do with flip-flops and hooded zip-ups. If someone doesn’t care much about their appearance, I say let them be. The worst transgressions are when someone puts in the effort, but then skimps on things they think the rest of the world won’t notice - like socks. 
It is noticeable, however. Cheap hosieries will frizz, have an ugly, matte cotton appearance, and look much like colored gym socks. They also tend to be short and have weak elastic banding, so they slouch and sit near your ankles, thus leaving your pale, bare calf exposed when you sit down. Moreover, because they’re made of cheap materials and have poor construction, they’re quicker to develop holes at the toe seam. Given these problems, I’ve never understood why men are more willing to spend another $100 on a shirt or tie they don’t need when the same amount could go into rehauling their sock wardrobe. 
So when the nice folks at Belt Outlet offered to send me some Gold Toe socks to review, I happily obliged. They sent six pairs: over-the-calfs in wool and mercerized cotton, as well as mid-calfs in tweed, pima cotton, and two kinds (1, 2) of wools.  I’ve been wearing them for a month now and by far the best performers have been the over-the-calfs in wool or mercerized cotton. 
First Dimension to Quality: Do Your Socks Stay Up?
There are two primary dimensions to the quality of socks. The first is whether they stay nicely stretched over your leg the entire day. In this regard, Gold Toe’s over-the-calfs are best. Since they don’t sit below the calf muscle like mid-calf socks, they won’t be pushed down by your calves as you walk. The only downside to over-the-calfs is that they’re more likely to stick to the back of your trousers if you’re wearing lightweight wools with a bit of nap, like flannel. This shouldn’t be a problem with most of your trousers, however. 
Gold Toe mid-calfs were OK. They perform better than many other mid-calf socks in their price range. Throughout a day, I would only have to adjust my socks maybe two or three times. If left alone, they wouldn’t slouch so low as to expose my calf, but they would fall down enough that some of the excess material would bunch a little at the bottom. 
Second Dimension to Quality: Material Composition
The other important dimension is the material composition in a pair of socks. Wool here is the best since it helps keep your feet warm during the winter and wick sweat in the summer. It also has more “spring back” than cotton, so the material won’t flatten out at the end of the day and look shiny. If you do buy cotton socks, I strongly recommend the mercerized versions. Mercerization is a chemical process that increases the cotton’s luster, strength, affinity to dye, and resistance to mildew. Contrast this with the pimas, which are more likely to flatten out, get wet, stay wet, feel slimy, and then bunch up in the process. 
The problem with Gold Toe’s wools, however, is that they’re mixed with more nylon than higher-end socks. My Marcoliani socks, for example, are either 100% wool or an 80/20 mix of wool and nylon. These Gold Toes are around 60/40. When nylon is added to a pair of wool socks, it improves how well the socks stretch, which adds to durability, but when too much is added, the material is more prone to break. After two washes, for example, I can already see some breakage at the cuff. 
Conclusion
Despite the breakage, the big advantage here is the quality to price ratio. Gold Toes will cost you about $4-7 a pair, whereas Marcolianis will cost about $20-25. Many men just aren’t able to spend that much for socks. For them, I think Gold Toes are an excellent buy. I recommend the over-the-calfs in wool or mercerized cotton in navy, as those will match anything. They’re only $6-7 a pair, which is pretty affordable. I guarantee once you give these a try, you’ll suddenly realize the inadequacy of your current hosiery. If you don’t believe me, read This Fits’ recent experience.  
To learn more about socks, check my extensive article here. 

We Got It For Free: Gold Toe Socks

I’m somewhat of a sock evangelist. To me, some of the worst sartorial transgressions have nothing to do with flip-flops and hooded zip-ups. If someone doesn’t care much about their appearance, I say let them be. The worst transgressions are when someone puts in the effort, but then skimps on things they think the rest of the world won’t notice - like socks. 

It is noticeable, however. Cheap hosieries will frizz, have an ugly, matte cotton appearance, and look much like colored gym socks. They also tend to be short and have weak elastic banding, so they slouch and sit near your ankles, thus leaving your pale, bare calf exposed when you sit down. Moreover, because they’re made of cheap materials and have poor construction, they’re quicker to develop holes at the toe seam. Given these problems, I’ve never understood why men are more willing to spend another $100 on a shirt or tie they don’t need when the same amount could go into rehauling their sock wardrobe. 

So when the nice folks at Belt Outlet offered to send me some Gold Toe socks to review, I happily obliged. They sent six pairs: over-the-calfs in wool and mercerized cotton, as well as mid-calfs in tweed, pima cotton, and two kinds (12) of wools.  I’ve been wearing them for a month now and by far the best performers have been the over-the-calfs in wool or mercerized cotton. 

First Dimension to Quality: Do Your Socks Stay Up?

There are two primary dimensions to the quality of socks. The first is whether they stay nicely stretched over your leg the entire day. In this regard, Gold Toe’s over-the-calfs are best. Since they don’t sit below the calf muscle like mid-calf socks, they won’t be pushed down by your calves as you walk. The only downside to over-the-calfs is that they’re more likely to stick to the back of your trousers if you’re wearing lightweight wools with a bit of nap, like flannel. This shouldn’t be a problem with most of your trousers, however. 

Gold Toe mid-calfs were OK. They perform better than many other mid-calf socks in their price range. Throughout a day, I would only have to adjust my socks maybe two or three times. If left alone, they wouldn’t slouch so low as to expose my calf, but they would fall down enough that some of the excess material would bunch a little at the bottom. 

Second Dimension to Quality: Material Composition

The other important dimension is the material composition in a pair of socks. Wool here is the best since it helps keep your feet warm during the winter and wick sweat in the summer. It also has more “spring back” than cotton, so the material won’t flatten out at the end of the day and look shiny. If you do buy cotton socks, I strongly recommend the mercerized versions. Mercerization is a chemical process that increases the cotton’s luster, strength, affinity to dye, and resistance to mildew. Contrast this with the pimas, which are more likely to flatten out, get wet, stay wet, feel slimy, and then bunch up in the process. 

The problem with Gold Toe’s wools, however, is that they’re mixed with more nylon than higher-end socks. My Marcoliani socks, for example, are either 100% wool or an 80/20 mix of wool and nylon. These Gold Toes are around 60/40. When nylon is added to a pair of wool socks, it improves how well the socks stretch, which adds to durability, but when too much is added, the material is more prone to break. After two washes, for example, I can already see some breakage at the cuff. 

Conclusion

Despite the breakage, the big advantage here is the quality to price ratio. Gold Toes will cost you about $4-7 a pair, whereas Marcolianis will cost about $20-25. Many men just aren’t able to spend that much for socks. For them, I think Gold Toes are an excellent buy. I recommend the over-the-calfs in wool or mercerized cotton in navy, as those will match anything. They’re only $6-7 a pair, which is pretty affordable. I guarantee once you give these a try, you’ll suddenly realize the inadequacy of your current hosiery. If you don’t believe me, read This Fits’ recent experience.  

To learn more about socks, check my extensive article here

Q and Answer: What Socks with Plimsoll Sneakers?
Dave asks: I just saw Derek’s post on plimsolls. I picked a pair up for the summer recently and coming from the high-top world primarily I’m not sure exactly what the recommended sock situation is for these. Navy/dark socks, or a white athletic sock (these are navy shoes, by the way)? A shorter sock, a no-show sock, no socks at all? Does it event really matter if I am wearing pants?
I’d say that this is one that depends on context.
There are plenty of situations where no socks (or no-show socks) are perfectly appropriate. Typically with shorts for example, socks will just look silly. Similarly, there are plenty of folks interested in a summertime breeze on their ankles who prefer a sockless look. This can be particularly appealing with a slim pant that’s rolled at the ankle (the “I subscribe to the Sartorialist” look). No socks has the convenience edge here, but no-show socks have the “less gross” edge, and will do less damage to your shoes.
When I’m not wearing shorts, I usually wear crew socks with sneakers. I’m not crazy about white tube or gym socks when I’m not exercising, but some cling to them. I certainly can’t recommend wearing black socks, which will make you look like a grandpa (in a bad way). I generally wear more brightly colored casual socks when I’m wearing plimsolls with casual pants like jeans or khakis. I love these ones, from Lands’ End, and if you’re lucky enough to live within access of a Uniqlo, you’ve got a near-bottomless supply of cheap ones. Of course, stores like H&M and Gap often have options as well. I find that a good pair of red socks are enough to punch a white-tee-jeans-and-white-sneaks outfit up a bit.

Q and Answer: What Socks with Plimsoll Sneakers?

Dave asks: I just saw Derek’s post on plimsolls. I picked a pair up for the summer recently and coming from the high-top world primarily I’m not sure exactly what the recommended sock situation is for these. Navy/dark socks, or a white athletic sock (these are navy shoes, by the way)? A shorter sock, a no-show sock, no socks at all? Does it event really matter if I am wearing pants?

I’d say that this is one that depends on context.

There are plenty of situations where no socks (or no-show socks) are perfectly appropriate. Typically with shorts for example, socks will just look silly. Similarly, there are plenty of folks interested in a summertime breeze on their ankles who prefer a sockless look. This can be particularly appealing with a slim pant that’s rolled at the ankle (the “I subscribe to the Sartorialist” look). No socks has the convenience edge here, but no-show socks have the “less gross” edge, and will do less damage to your shoes.

When I’m not wearing shorts, I usually wear crew socks with sneakers. I’m not crazy about white tube or gym socks when I’m not exercising, but some cling to them. I certainly can’t recommend wearing black socks, which will make you look like a grandpa (in a bad way). I generally wear more brightly colored casual socks when I’m wearing plimsolls with casual pants like jeans or khakis. I love these ones, from Lands’ End, and if you’re lucky enough to live within access of a Uniqlo, you’ve got a near-bottomless supply of cheap ones. Of course, stores like H&M and Gap often have options as well. I find that a good pair of red socks are enough to punch a white-tee-jeans-and-white-sneaks outfit up a bit.

Andy sends this amazing vintage advertisement. Apparently it was part of his American Studies curriculum - a segment on the insanity of advertising parables. Still, even seventy five years later, this is a pretty good argument for over-the-calf socks, I’d say.

Andy sends this amazing vintage advertisement. Apparently it was part of his American Studies curriculum - a segment on the insanity of advertising parables. Still, even seventy five years later, this is a pretty good argument for over-the-calf socks, I’d say.