Bold socks with loud colors and crazy patterns have become extremely popular over the past couple of years, but does that mean you should wear them?
I’m going to share my thoughts about if and when men should wear bold, fun socks. I’ll also talk about when not to wear them, which is very important because I’ve seen lots of guys making this mistake.
Huge thanks to MeUndies for supporting The Modest Man by sponsoring this article. You know I’m a huge fan of MeUndies boxer briefs, and now they sell socks made from the same comfy fabrics.
There are two things I love about MeUndies socks:
- First, while they do offer some bold prints, most of their socks come in traditional, versatile colors like heather grey, black and dark green.
- Second, while so many companies only sell “one size fits no one” socks, MeUndies chose to make their socks in three different sizes. As someone with a size 7 foot, I really appreciate this decision.
Note: their cotton socks are thicker and offer more cushion than their modal socks. Personally, I like the thin, lightweight nature of modal, especially during warmer seasons.
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Bold Socks vs. Novelty Socks
First, we need to make a crucial distinction between bold socks and novelty socks. Bold socks call attention to themselves, but they’re not obnoxious. They’re not tacky.
Novelty socks, on the other hand, are meant to be funny, rather than to add style to your outfit. And even though they’re sometimes worn ironically, it’s my opinion that novelty socks have no place in a man’s wardrobe.
The only scenario where novelty socks might be appropriate is a themed party (like a “tacky holiday sweater” party).
Otherwise, let’s leave the novelty socks for the kids!
Bold Socks vs. Traditional Socks
This isn’t a hard and fast distinction. It’s more of a spectrum with bold on one end and traditional on the other.
Traditional socks are solid colors or tasteful, subtle patterns in, well traditional colors (usually subdued and not overly saturated).
Bold socks, on the other hand, feature non-traditional patterns and brighter colors.
I know this definition isn’t totally concrete, but you know bold when you see it.
When NOT To Wear Bold Socks
When you wear bold socks, you’re saying, “Hey everyone, look at my socks!” In other words, you’re calling attention to yourself, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
But there are certain situations in which you shouldn’t do this. For example:
Funerals, job interviews and formal business environments
These are typically serious settings, so wearing “fun” socks would be distasteful.
When TO Wear Bold Socks
Of course, there are plenty of situations where fun, attention-grabbing socks are not only appropriate, but a great way to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Weddings, parties and going out on the town (concerts, clubs, bars, etc.)
These are all casual and/or festive settings, so wearing fun socks is totally appropriate.
Also, bold socks are totally fine in most casual and business casual workplaces. My last corporate gig was in a business casual office environment, and I rocked colorful, fun socks about once a week.
I used to have a pair of grey socks with a pink, floral pattern, and I got compliments on them every time I wore them.
Just be aware: if you wear them all the time, you will become “that guy” (every office has one).
How To Match Your Socks
Lots of guys are confused about how to match their socks to the rest of their outfit.
To start, just focus on matching your socks to your pants. Here’s a good rule of thumb (or…foot):
Your socks should be the same color as your pants, but a couple shades darker.
This monochromatic combo will always look good, and it will always be appropriate. So if your suit is charcoal, black socks are perfect.
Of course, you can add visual interest and personality to your outfit by choosing analogous or complimentary colors (for example, navy chinos with red socks).
If you like socks with fun patterns, you can mix it up with monochromatic, analogous and complimentary colors.
Just keep in mind: bold socks are like an accessory, and it’s easy to go overboard with accessories. I like to limit myself to 2-3 accessories per outfit.
For example: a watch, a tie and a pocket square.
Another example: a watch, a pocket square and bold socks.
That way, you’re accessories aren’t competing for attention, and you don’t run the risk of looking like you’re wearing a costume or trying too hard.
To summarize, bold socks can be a great way to add some excitement and personality to your outfit.
But you shouldn’t wear them in serious environments like at job interviews or funerals.
Regardless of what kind of socks you wear, they’ll match your pants if they’re the same color but a little darker.
If you wear socks that contain multiple colors or fun patterns, try to coordinate them to the rest of your outfit by choosing complimentary colors, or picking up other colors in your outfit.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll never be confused about socks again!
Do you wear bold socks, or do you stick with traditional socks? Let me know in the comments section!
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