Though socks are truly nothing more than a small part of an entire outfit, they still do hold a very important place in menswear considering the recent resurgence in using them as subtle accessories. Considering the fact that socks are commonly used to ensure a smooth transition between the pants and the shoes, one certainly can not deny their role in completing an outfit.
Despite the fact that socks were originally mainly found in darker, more conventional colours like black and dark grey, they have recently been appearing in a wide array of different colours ranging from the more tame hues like royal blue and imperial purple to the more vibrant tones like tangerine and even mint! These new colours create many new style possibilities that open the door for subtly matching with other accessories like ties, pocket squares and even cufflinks!
If ever you plan on being more adventurous with your suit, using colored socks is definitely a great way of making a subtle style statement. First and foremost, for the less adventurous, I would strongly suggest using the more gentle, yet bold, tones like burgundy and even burnt sienna to make your suit “pop” in a more discreet yet evident manner. The good thing about these more muted colours is that they almost act as neutrals that can be matched with a wide variety of colours, from blacks to greys and even to navy blues.
Accordingly, if you want to stick to the traditional rule that says your socks must match your pants and shoes, then more subdued coloured socks are the perfect way of finding a hue that is exactly between both respective colours of the shoes and pants. For example, as mentioned in this past SuitUpp post, “if you are wearing a tan suit and brown shoes, you want your socks to be a dark brown color that will fit well in between”.
However, another more daring way of going about with coloured socks is by having them be a lighter or even a completely different colour form the rest of the suit, like ash grey, violet, teal or even rose! This option is definitely a more risky alternative, but as they say, the bigger the risk, the greater the reward! The main benefit to wearing socks that are either brighter or lighter than the suit itself is that it creates a stark, yet incredibly classy, contrast that can be appreciated by all when noticed.
Seeing as the only time this more colourful style choice will truly be noticed is when you’ll be sitting down and your pants raise slightly, this alternative to darker colours is one that doesn’t necessitate as much daringness as expected! As explained in a post by A Suitable Wardrobe, another advantage of wearing socks that are either brighter or lighter than the rest of the suit is the fact that they enable the eye to “ focus on the combination of trousers, socks and shoes [...] which ought to be considerably more interesting” than the effect created by darker socks where the eyes simply slide down to the shoes while completely bypassing the pants and socks themselves. In other words, socks that are lighter or more colourful than the rest of the suit have the benefit of creating a more captivating combination between the pants, the shoes and the socks themselves.
All in all, coloured socks are a great way of spicing up any rather drab suit outfit seeing as they easily and efficiently add a much needed burst of life through the discreet contrast they create. This just goes to show how sometimes the most subtle details are the most effective ones! After all, everything is in the details, right?