Look Down – and be Dazzled…

The humble sock is a wonderful way to show a little panache and individuality. Time to put your best well-hosed foot forward

Article by Marie Dubald – founder of Jeya Narrative. Article courtesy of her site

When purchasing a pair of socks, comfort and durability should always preside in the decision-making process. But no longer are socks perceived as a mere utilitarian item; style has become an essential part to its recent revival. And with such an array of colours and patterns now available, there are no more excuses to wear socks that are unsightly, holed or -dare I add- white…

Whether you are City-type who likes to don a suit at every occasion or prefer sporting chinos or jeans, whether you are the conventional type or like to stand out just a touch more, socks have become a considered purchase and are the easiest way to inject a little personality and colour into your outfits.

Confidence at your feet
Socks can help elevate one’s game as well as their mood. In a sea of black, grey and dark blue suits, adding a pinch of colour in your footwear will perk up any outfit and make the wearer feel confident.

Taking care in selecting the right socks for the right occasion is testimony to your attention to details and reflects positively on you as a person. The revival of socks symbolises a greater shift in attitude whereby men take pride in their appearance and where details not only matter but are paramount. Socks are a way to portray confidence in a subtle way – they are eye-catching enough to make a statement but not too brash to be a style faux-pas.

Wanting to look stylish as well as be comfortable is not purely for show to the outside world. The discerning man likes his comfort at home too, as demonstrated by the recent prominence of loungewear. Socks have thus gradually become an essential part of one’s attire, even at home. Recent years have seen a surge in everyday essentials, such as socks and underwear, traditionally purchased as an after-thought, being revisited and redesigned. Fabrics and fits are being updated to suit the modern gentleman and his quest for individuality.

When looking to convey a little rebellious spirit, socks might just be the perfect way to make a statement. The Red Sneaker Effect report indeed states that non-conformity in dress acts to assert power, status and self-assurance. *

This, the report states, is linked to our level of self-confidence. The less confident we feel, the more we try to blend in, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, the greater our confidence level, the more we experiment with given codes of conduct, not minding any critical reactions and judgements that might arise as a result. In the end, whose opinion of your sartorial endeavours matters more than our very own anyway?

*[We ought to bear in mind though that the report dates from 2014  and since then, much has changed in the menswear scene and more rules than ever before have been broken.The dress code has become more casual as a whole and the greater choice of garments available make it easier to go bold and extreme.]

Socks also remain one of the most cost-effective way to update a wardrobe each season whilst injecting a little personality into outfits.

“There has been a down turn in the ‘formal accessory’ category, which is reflected by the shift towards a more casual work outfit across most sectors. Accessories are the perfect way to mix up and completely change a look without having to invest in lots of new clothing.”

– Alexander Hudson, Banvard & James

Code of conduct
“It is permissible to wear socks of entirely different colour from the rest of the costume, provided the rest of the costume is of one series of colours. The matching of socks to the tie I do find affected.”

– Hardy Amies, ABC of Men’s Fashion  

Whilst novelty socks may not be your thing (best to leave that to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau), you can quite easily use colour and texture to make a statement. But beware, there are a few basic rules to bear in mind when it comes to socks:

  • Match the colour of your socks to another colour featured in your outfit – or go bold and contrast if you feel more daring
  • Mix and match your patterns. Use a different pattern on your pocket square to your socks, though you can use the same accent colour (preferably in a difference shade though)
  • The discerning gentleman will prefer solid colours or discreet patterns only.
  • If you are averse to colour and prefer to wear plain, darker colours, always make sure that your socks are at least one shade lighter or darker than your trousers.
  • Ease into colourful socks with dark deep colours such as dark blue, grey and burgundy, then when you feel a little more adventurous try greens, lighter blues and red.
  • To ensure your socks are as striking as possible, tone down your outfit.
  • Experience with texture. Ribbed socks especially make for a visually impactful sock despite being in one solid colour.

“All socks, particularly woollen, look well when finely ribbed. The ribs make the ankles look slim and help with the fit as they make the sock cling to the leg.”

– Hardy Amies, ABC of Men’s Fashion

In a sea of grey corporate suits, any dash of colour will make you stand out. But, make sure to do so for the right reasons. Nobody likes a show-off, and neither do your peers or your future employer. Your outfit as a whole, should look like it’s been put together well, aspiring for an effortless, borderline nonchalant look. Work it too hard and it’ll become noticeable and you’ll stand out like a sore thumb.

Start with a well-tailored suit or trousers and shirt; focus on quality, timeless pieces that will work with a variety of colours and textures. Understand it to be your blank canvas and use colourful accessories to show off your personality. Whether you go for striking pink or a more subdued dark green may give a subliminal message on your personality and creativity, but even more essential than style, you, as the wearer, should own your outfit and feel confident in it. riddle_stop 2

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