Introduction

Here at FashionBeans we are huge advocates of paying attention to the finer details of an outfit. With the high street being dominated by many of the same retailers, it’s important that we strive for originality through adding individual touches to a look.

After our very own Matt Allinson gave you his reason’s as to why its completely acceptable to stop wearing socks as early as April, today we’re going to be discussing wearing socks in the summer – aiming to help settle the debate of socks vs sockless.

Why Socks?

You are probably thinking: “Out of all the accessories we now have available to us as a modern male, why would we ever choose to wear socks in our summer outfits?” You picture your father wearing white socks paired with trainers and long canvas shorts, or one of the biggest style mistakes a man can make – the dreaded socks and sandals combination.

Of course, the safer option would be choosing to go sockless, but wearing socks in the summer can actually add a touch of uniqueness, especially when it seems that everyone is currently on the sockless bandwagon.

Before we start, I need to make the following clear. When considering socks in the summer, we’re not talking about ankle (trainer) socks. I’m fed up of seeing a large majority of guys wearing trainer socks within their summer outfits. Trainer socks are purely for training. They are not stylish and, in my honest opinion, ruin looks. The old excuse of “I have to wear ankle socks as going sockless creates shoe odour” isn’t viable anymore, with such a huge range of invisible socks available on today’s market.

If you’re going to show your socks, opt for something with length and think carefully about how you’re going to wear them.

Alongside the benefit of being able to create unique looks that are full of character, socks also provide you the opportunity to add colour to an outfit or help establish an underlying trend influence. The safari trend has been highlighted as one of the key looks for this spring/summer 2012 season, and the addition of socks works particularly when creating an outfit inspired by it – especially when paired with substantial footwear or desert boots. Opting for dark green or beige (earth tone) coloured socks can top off underlying influences of the trend, helping to create a traditional British military, or tropical feel.

A dash of colour can be added to a dull look through a pair of socks, and even a subtle touch of print can be established by opting for printed or patterned socks. There are a great deal of benefits to wearing socks in the summer – it’s just a case of shifting out of your style comfort zone and not playing it safe by going sockless.

How To Wear

You are probably thinking a whole section dedicated on how to wear socks is a pretty redundant idea. Everyone knows how to wear socks, right? But as previously mentioned, wearing socks in the summer does take a little more thought in order to get right. You need to consider what a pair of socks can add to a look; whether it be a dash of colour and flair, a small touch of print or simply used to reinforce the look or trend you are going for.

Always make sure you choose the core elements of your outfit first, and accessorise with socks when needed. Believe it or not, socks can be used to create a statement, or they can be used much more subtly. Think back to the autumn/winter season when you began implementing coloured or patterned socks into your look. The higher you turned up your trouser leg the more of a statement you created, whilst the brighter the pair of socks, the more they drew attention towards them. The same rules apply in the summer.

Socks In The Summer Lookbook

Wearing Socks In The Summer Lookbook

Wearing Socks As A Statement

If you want to create a statement, opt for a bold design that will become a focal point of your look. Contrast the socks against the colour of the footwear you’re wearing, and opt for striking colour ways or patterns.

Make sure you also focus on the length of the socks, as creating a statement means you need to show as much sock as possible. Pull the socks up to a reasonable length and if you are wearing trousers/jeans, cuff them slightly higher than normal – both of these techniques will help to draw the attention down towards the socks you’re wearing.

Wearing Socks Subtly

If you want your socks to be a subtle addition to an outfit that simply ties together a look or enhances the underlying theme, then opt for a lighter tone that doesn’t contrast or clash against the colour of the footwear you’re wearing (and trouser colour if you are not wearing shorts). Think tonal combinations and you won’t go far wrong. For example, if you’re wearing dark brown loafers, opt for light brown, burgundy or beige coloured socks.

Also make sure that you roll your socks down as much as possible to create a ruffled yet subtle effect. It ensures that less of the sock is on show, but the choice of sock will still compliment the footwear and clothing you’re wearing.

If you study the lookbook above, you can see some great examples of how to use the correct type of sock to help reinforce the theme you are going for. Bold pastel colours work extremely well at emphasising preppy attire [top left | 2nd row right]; navy, red or white can help reinforce the nautical trend [2nd row centre]; whilst thicker textured socks can emphasise an outdoors inspired aesthetic [4th row centre].

Leading By Example: Hackett SS12

Hackett’s SS12 lookbook heavily featured socks, and in my opinion they utilised them very well in a variety of ways. Don’t forget that trousers will also be worn in the heat of summer, and this really allows us an opportunity to be a bit braver with colour and sock length. Trousers can neutralise socks easily, so they can be used to add a much needed dash of colour, without creating too much of a statement.

Check out the Hackett lookbook below, and take note of how they utilise socks as a statement with shorts, neutralised with trousers and to subtly emphasise the safari aesthetic:

Hackett Spring/Summer 2012 Lookbook

Men’s Socks

If you’re looking to implement socks into your summer looks, there’s a great range available to us right now. Bright designs and unique prints and patterns will help establish a statement, where as lighter tones, pastel colours and darker variations will create more of a subtle feel. Remember socks are versatile and timeless – you’ll be able to use them all year round:

  • Topman Pastel 3 Pack SocksTopman Pastel 3 Pack Socks
  • Uniqlo Men Colour SocksUniqlo Men Colour Socks
  • Paul Smith Polka Dot Socks 57445Paul Smith Polka Dot Socks 57445
  • Royalties Cable Knit SocksRoyalties Cable Knit Socks
  • Richard James Ribbed Cotton SocksRichard James Ribbed Cotton Socks
  • Falke Light Pink Shadow Stripe Ankle Socks FalkeFalke Light Pink Shadow Stripe Ankle Socks Falke
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Sailboat Embroidered SockPolo Ralph Lauren Sailboat Embroidered Sock
  • Paul Smith Fleur-de-lys Socks 57415Paul Smith Fleur-de-lys Socks 57415
  • Richard James Embroidered Cotton SocksRichard James Embroidered Cotton Socks
  • Paul Smith Striped SocksPaul Smith Striped Socks
  • Richer Poorer Mens Walk On SocksRicher Poorer Mens Walk On Socks
  • Happy Socks Stripe SocksHappy Socks Stripe Socks
  • American Apparel Stripe Calf-high SockAmerican Apparel Stripe Calf-high Sock
  • Paul Smith Accessories Navy Ankle Stripe SocksPaul Smith Accessories Navy Ankle Stripe Socks
  • Reiss Birch Fair Isle Socks RustReiss Birch Fair Isle Socks Rust
  • Austin Reed Richard James Orange Stripe SocksAustin Reed Richard James Orange Stripe Socks
  • Red & Navy Aztec SocksRed & Navy Aztec Socks
  • Happy Socks Animal Print SocksHappy Socks Animal Print Socks
Final Word

Overall, socks are a key men’s fashion accessory that provide the modern male with many benefits – even in the summer. We’re not saying wearing socks is a must this season; it’s just an alternative to the ever so popular trend of going sockless. Sometimes opting for the safe option isn’t always the best when it comes to style, so why not look to compliment or contrast your footwear with socks this summer.

So, what do you think:

  • Are you a fan of socks in the summer?
  • Or do you think we should consider the sock as a 6 month a year option only?
  • Do you like to create a statement with your sock choice, or use them to subtly tie an outfit together?

Let me know in the comments section below…

Paul