Like all accessories, socks can make or break an outfit.
Unless you're a fan of long baggy trousers or are going sockless, they'll generally be on show at some point during the day for the rest of the world to see. So how do you make sure you match your socks to your outfits in the most stylish way?
Follow our tips for the dos and don'ts of matching socks, together with the best colour combinations that are tried and tested winners.
Read on for the full guide or use the links below to jump straight into each section:
- How To Match Socks With Suits
- Best Colour To Wear With Jeans
- Best Socks To Wear With Brown Shoes
- Best Socks To Wear With Black Shoes
- Best Socks To Wear With White Trainers
- Tips On Buying Socks To Match Your Outfits
- Best Brands For Men's Socks
How To Match Socks With Suits
The advice for years has always been to match your socks to the colour of your suit. This meant black socks with a black suit, grey/charcoal socks with a grey suit and so on.
Unless you're going to a funeral or work at a ridiculously formal place, you can now throw this rule out of the window. Instead, opt for printed or patterned socks to inject some colour (and personality) into your suit.
Light pink, burgundy, baby blue and navy designs look great paired with a grey suit, while grey printed socks look particularly good worn with black suit trousers.
If you're wearing a brown suit, look to similar earthy colours with hints of orange, as they'll also complement the rest of your outfit (i.e. with tan shoes and a matching belt).
The Best Colour Socks To Wear With Jeans
If you're wearing blue denim with trainers, opt for a neutral colour like grey as a failsafe option. You'll be able to avoid any colour clashing and let's face it – you probably want your new kicks to be the star of the show.
For more formal occasions when you're wearing blue jeans with brown shoes, look to burgundy, pastel pink or beige socks (with a print or stripe design) to keep your sock game on point.
It's a similar story with black or grey jeans. Whether you're wearing black/white trainers or black shoes, grey socks will always work and subtle prints and stripes can help to lift the outfit compared to basic black socks.
The Best Socks To Wear With Brown Shoes
Depending on the rest of your outfit, most socks will go with brown shoes APART from black.
Sock designs incorporating navy shades and pastel pinks work well with tan shoes and blue jeans, where as dark shades of red and green will give a sophisticated look when worn with dark brown shoes and beige chinos or a grey suit.
The Best Socks To Wear With Black Shoes
When you're wearing black shoes with a smart outfit it's always best to choose socks that include black and grey. At the weekend you can afford to be more adventurous with bold primary colours and vibrant prints.
Under no circumstances wear white, navy or brown socks with black shoes as it'll kill your outfit instantly.
The Best Socks To Wear With White Trainers
So far we've focused on traditional men’s ankle socks. When it comes to trainers it's a whole different story.
If you're wearing your white trainers to the gym, classic white ankle socks are fine (don't go overboard with printed designs – just plain white is all you need.)
For everyday wear, you may want to opt for low-cut or invisible socks. They'll stay hidden inside your trainers and should be your go-to sock match for all downtime outfits when trainers are involved.
Buying Socks To Match Your Outfits
Rather than it being an afterthought, think about what colour socks will go with most items in your wardrobe before you buy them. Socks shouldn't just match your footwear; they should also match the rest of your outfit. This doesn't mean you have to buy socks that match your shirt colour, but they should at least complement each other.
If you go out and buy orange socks but tend to wear pink shirts, you'll end up with a whole colour clash that won't do your style any justice.
After doing a quick wardrobe audit, decide on a few different colours based on the tips above. Our advice is to have a mixed collection of striped, printed and plain socks so you have options for different occasions.
Then decide how much you're prepared to pay – a decent pair of designer socks will cost around £10, where as you'll get 5 pairs for the same price from cheaper high street brands.
The best socks will be made from 100% natural fibres (either cotton, wool or cashmere) and will let your feet breathe. They do cost more so there’s no need to wear them all the time.
The best option is to have a few pairs of cheaper socks for downtime days and some more expensive nicer pairs for work and formal events.
Now you know what to look for, below are some of the best brands for statement socks to get you started...
The Best Brands For Men's Designer Socks
Our Top Tips On Matching Socks To Outfits
- Unless it's a formal event you don't need to match your socks to your suit, but they should at least be in complementary colours.
- Pastel pink or navy socks look great teamed up with tan shoes and blue denim, while burgundy and green socks work best with darker brown shoes.
- Socks featuring grey hues mixed with vibrant colours will inject some colour into your outfit when you're wearing a black suit and black shoes.
- Grey socks are the best option if you're wearing black jeans with trainers or shoes – look to printed or argyle styles to add interest.
- Brown socks should be your failsafe option when wearing with a brown suit.
- Invest in a mix of printed, plain and striped socks in colours that will complement the rest of your wardrobe. This will maximize your matching options.