Men’s socks

Tasteful men’s socks are an essential component of a stylish wardrobe. Though often neglected, socks can stylishly elevate an appearance or, when poorly selected, completely ruin one. Sock colour, material, and type should under no circumstances be left to chance.

Men’s socks—a stylish appearance from heel to toe

The sock: a mere few centimetres of fabric that underpin an entire look. Typically speaking, the style-conscious gentleman takes his due time selecting trousers, shirts, and corresponding footwear, yet seldom affords men’s socks the same degree of attention. Socks are, in fact, extremely important: they prevent feet from forming uncomfortable pressure points, warm the skin, and support temperature regulation. Poorly selected men’s socks in a clashing colour not only ruin an otherwise smart outfit, but are also detrimental to foot health.


Men’s socks—from foot rags to an item of clothing in their own right

The predecessors of today’s men’s socks lie in antiquity. Greeks and Romans were probably unfamiliar with elegant ribbed structures, and were unable to even imagine a stunning modern shadow pattern. Instead, their so-called »socci« were plain rags that were simply wrapped several times around the foot. Over the centuries the form and materials used to make this provisional legwear changed, but men’s socks as we know them today were still a long way away.

In the 13th century the sock was joined up with the trouser leg, a union that lasted about 300 years. It was only in the 16th century that the sock regained its independence and attained great popularity, particularly among men, as an item of clothing in its own right. The 18th century saw the wide distribution of women’s socks, which, thanks to the Industrial Revolution, were mass-produced. Nowadays, not all socks are created equal. Whether finely ribbed or smooth, with an elongated cuff or bi-coloured, the quality of the sock is determined by the thread with which it’s made.

Cotton, wool, and Merino wool—the stuff that premium socks are made of

Inexpensive socks made of synthetic fibres usually lack sufficient breathability, aren’t entirely opaque, and quickly develop an unpleasant scent. Men’s socks made of cotton, wool, or Merino wool are a more elegant, skin-friendly choice.

Socks made of the finest combed cotton are elegant in appearance and support foot comfort, even at high temperatures. Men’s socks made of »fil d’Ecosse« impress with their smooth surface and silky shine. Socks made of finely crimped Merino wool are known for their low weight as well as their extraordinary insulating and temperature-regulating effects. In the cold months, you should reach for men’s socks with additional cushioning on the soles.

High-quality men’s socks are also distinguished by reinforcements on the heels, soles, balls of the feet, and toes. Thanks to these, quickly thinning surfaces on highly stressed portions of the sock become a thing of the past. Men’s socks with hand-linked toes boast a hardly discernible toe seam, which ensures that uncomfortable pressure points don’t form.

Harmonising men’s socks with your outfit

It’s a well-known rule of etiquette that you should always pair suit trousers with knee socks, and never with short socks. When it comes to traditional dress codes, your socks should be as dark as your shoe. At the same time, there shouldn’t be too great of a contrast between your socks and your trousers, or between your socks and the rest of your clothing. But beware! If your sock and shoe are too similar in colour, this can create an unintended ‘boot’ effect. As such, black men’s socks don’t work well with certain combinations.

The secret lies in the details

An anthracite suit worn with brown shoes works best with grey or dark-blue socks—top off the look with a dark, burgundy-striped tie. Those with style and courage to boot can combine their navy suit with burgundy socks and a matching tie. Brown socks, though oft-maligned, flatter brown tweed and suit fabrics, both of which also work well with burgundy and bottle-green socks.

In terms of colour combinations, modern men’s fashion kicks things up a notch. In the English-speaking world, gentlemen have been favouring colourful men’s socks since the turn of the 20th century. They’re fond of combining their black suits and classic Oxfords with red, blue, orange, or green socks. When doing so, they take care to repeat the sock colour somewhere above the waist; for example, with a tie or pocket square.

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