Introduction

The high summer season brings with it many a style conundrum. For example, do you opt for casual pieces and looser fitting cuts in order to remain comfortable in the heat? Or stay true to your sartorial beliefs by utilising summer tailoring, remaining sharp and on point throughout?

It doesn’t stop there. Further question marks are raised over contentious issues such as shorts length, appropriate footwear styles and, somewhere between the two, socks.

Sockless has quickly become the go-to look for style-conscious men this summer, due to a combination of current industry trends and the UK’s recent glorious weather. But are we all dismissing the humble sock’s credentials too quickly? Would a great pair of socks add something extra to your high summer outfits?

Today we present the options open to you when it comes to styling your socks in the summer…

Sockless

Going sockless has become the default option for the majority of sartorially-inclined men as the mercury rises. And for good reason: it’s comfortable, keeps you cooler in hot weather and helps channel that highly desirable Mediterranean aesthetic.

Taking socks out of the equation also creates a much cleaner look; minimalism at its very finest.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Sockless Lookbook

the kooples ss12h&m ss12zara man spring 2013he by mango spring 2013 coords=boohoo aw13h&m ss12custommellow ss13reiss ss13pull & bear ss12ti for men ss13hartford ss13ami ss14
Key Considerations

Yet going sockless on a regular basis requires measures to be taken to maintain your feet’s hygiene and the shape/condition of your footwear, particularly leather styles.

Talcum powder, odour spray, shoetrees and invisible socks are all worth investing in. Whilst no-show socks aren’t entirely necessary for pulling off this look, many men, me included, find they make the process much more comfortable, in comparison to going barefoot.

If you are the type of man that likes to feel leather against his skin, drying your feet out with talc and spraying with a deodorising foot spray before you step out the door is imperative in maintaining your personal hygiene and minimising odour.

For those who have spent good money on their shoe collection, shoetrees, especially those of the cedar variety, are an essential purchase – they will help to absorb moisture and control odour after a sockless day. They also do a great job at preserving your shoes and extending their life, keeping out creases and the like.

When it comes to the styling of a successful sockless look, very little effort is required; it is as simple as leaving the socks out of your ensemble. This approach works just as well with a classic polo, shorts and loafers combination as it does with a cotton suit and brogues, although it creates a very casual air and so is not suitable for formal occasions or the majority of professional office environments – always check the dress code.

  • Topman Nep Socks Liners 3 Pack SocksTopman Nep Socks Liners 3 Pack Socks
  • Falke Invisible Step Nude SocksFalke Invisible Step Nude Socks
  • Churchs Norfolk Wood And Metal Shoe TreesChurchs Norfolk Wood And Metal Shoe Trees
  • Boots Pharmaceuticals Advanced Footcare 24 Hour Foot Odour Protection Spray 100mlBoots Pharmaceuticals Advanced Footcare 24 Hour Foot Odour Protection Spray 100ml
  • Odoreaters Antiperspirant Deodorant Foot & Shoe Spray – 150mlOdoreaters Antiperspirant Deodorant Foot & Shoe Spray - 150ml
  • Fenjal Classic Talcum PowderFenjal Classic Talcum Powder
Socks In Summer

Donning socks in the summer could, oddly enough, be a great way to stand out from the crowd. However, picking the right pair makes all the difference. Natural fibres are definitely what you should be gravitating towards in order to remain comfortable in the heat; your sock drawer should be considered just another section of your wardrobe that transitions and adapts to the current season.

A block-coloured sock can inject a sense of life and playfulness into any look. They can be used to coordinate and tie a look together or, alternatively, make a statement by contrasting them against your shoe or trouser colour. Just remember to bear in mind your colour wheel to avoid any unsightly colour clashes.

Bright, summer-appropriate hues can really elevate a look and catch the eye, whilst pastel hues can subtly show knowledge of current colour trends. Steer clear of anything too bold in smart environments and demonstrate some restraint – monochromes may seem the ‘boring’ option, but they are fit for purpose.

For those that really like to put an individual stamp on their outfits or are confident with colour, why not go that one step further and integrate an of-the-moment print or pattern? Avoid novelty styles at all cost and instead aim for something like an on point anchor motif, timeless stripe or classic argyle pattern.

Classic Styles
  • Asos 5 Pack SocksAsos 5 Pack Socks
  • Uniqlo Men Extra Fine Cotton Pique Socks BUniqlo Men Extra Fine Cotton Pique Socks B
  • Burton 5 Pack Grey & Navy Bird Embroidered SocksBurton 5 Pack Grey & Navy Bird Embroidered Socks
  • 7 Pack Of Bright Socks7 Pack Of Bright Socks
  • American Apparel Solid Calf-high SockAmerican Apparel Solid Calf-high Sock
  • Topman Herringbone 3 Pack SocksTopman Herringbone 3 Pack Socks
  • Reiss Eisenstein Check Socks BurgundyReiss Eisenstein Check Socks Burgundy
  • Beams Plus Three-pack Striped Cotton SocksBeams Plus Three-pack Striped Cotton Socks
  • Asos 3 Pack Argyle SocksAsos 3 Pack Argyle Socks
Statement/On Trend Styles
  • Jack & Jones Lanky Stripe 5 Pack SocksJack & Jones Lanky Stripe 5 Pack Socks
  • Jack & Jones Wetton Camo 5 Pack SocksJack & Jones Wetton Camo 5 Pack Socks
  • Asos 5 Pack SocksAsos 5 Pack Socks
  • Black Zebra Print Happy SocksRiver Island Black Zebra Print Happy Socks
  • Yellow Stripe Happy SocksRiver Island Yellow Stripe Happy Socks
  • Red Argyle Happy SocksRiver Island Red Argyle Happy Socks
  • Uniqlo Men Colour SocksUniqlo Men Colour Socks
  • Uniqlo Men Extra Fine Cotton One Point Patterned SocksUniqlo Men Extra Fine Cotton One Point Patterned Socks
  • Topman Multi Coloured Twist 3 Pack SocksTopman Multi Coloured Twist 3 Pack Socks
Socks & Trousers

Shorts may be your first port of call come summer but sadly they don’t always quite make the sartorial grade – especially when a degree of formality is necessitated. Despite recent debates on shorts in the office, lightweight trousers are a perfect alternative to the cropped staple, whatever the occasion.

With the current popularity of the angle-grazer trousers and turn-ups, the sock has the potential to become the defining point of your look. Blend some print between your chino and suede bucks this season for a summer style statement that won’t cost you a fortune.

Men's Summer Socks & Trousers Lookbook

jigsaw summer 2013river island ss12happy socks aw13jigsaw summer 2013pull & bear ss12pull & bear ss12happy socks aw12zara august 2011matalan ss13
Socks & Shorts

Of course, we are all well versed in wearing socks with trousers. Come the winter, Victorian rules apply: ankles are covered and socks are in. But what about socks and shorts pairings when the sun is out?

Previously considered a faux pas, this bold style combination breaks all of the ‘rules’ and requires a certain degree of confidence to pull off. However, when done right, it’s a fashion forward way to really stand out from the crowd.

The only prerequisite to pulling off this look is to keep your socks standard length. We shouldn’t have to tell you, but stay away from trainer socks – they are solely reserved for the gym, always.

Long length socks should also be avoided; they have their merits when worn with trousers but not with shorts. You risk crossing into catholic schoolgirl territory once they start approaching the bottom of the knee. Don’t let the wrong sock choice be the sartorial chink in your armour.

Men's Summer Socks & Shorts Lookbook

uniqlo ss13new look ss13pull & bear ss13happy socks aw12pull & bear heritage ss13ted baker ss13asos ss13happy socks aw12Chevignon ss13
Style Debate: White Socks

Menswear purists will state that the white sock is for exercise purposes only. The next best option, which could be worn outside of physical activity, is a luxurious cream alternative. Yet recent streetwear trends and accompanying lookbooks are currently fighting a campaign against this rule in droves – and it’s not just the traditional streetwear labels that are advocating the style.

High street giant Primark have wholeheartedly backed the white sock for SS13, as have ASOS and Japanese label Beams Plus in recent lookbooks and campaigns. It seems the white sock is once again having a moment.

However, this recent rise doesn’t give anyone permission to don white socks with suiting – they’re strictly casual. Pair with trainers or other appropriately laid-back footwear and stay away from anything that approaches the smart-casual line. A sweatshirt and shorts work, a shirt and chinos do not even come close.

It’s best to side with caution when utilising white socks anywhere outside the gym. They do stand out and they do tread dangerously close to a land absent of style substance, yet when incorporated as part of the right look, in the right situation and on the right person they work unerringly well.

On the wrong person, with the wrong look and in the wrong situation? You face an unsalvageable style disaster.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's White Socks Lookbook

primark ss13primark ss13primark ss13asos ss13asos ss13asos ss13nonnative Summer 2013ami ss14h&m 2012
Men’s White Socks
  • Topman White Black Tube Socks 3 PackTopman White Black Tube Socks 3 Pack
  • Asos 5 Pack SocksAsos 5 Pack Socks
  • River Island White Coloured Stripe Socks PackRiver Island White Coloured Stripe Socks Pack
  • American Apparel Stripe Calf-high SockAmerican Apparel Stripe Calf-high Sock
  • Uniqlo Men Nd Tennis Socks Us+eUniqlo Men Nd Tennis Socks Us+e
  • Calvin Klein Ultimate Coolmax Sport SocksCalvin Klein Ultimate Coolmax Sport Socks
Final Word

Going sockless has obvious merits during the summer, so it is no wonder the trend has exploded over recent months.

It has become the default approach for the majority of men, but this saturation means that something as simple as the right pair of socks can effortlessly separate your look from the crowd in a manner that exudes style, confidence and an individual flair.

But now we want to hear your view:

  • Are you a sockless advocate?
  • Or do you think socks are underused and under appreciated come summer?
  • What do you make of socks and shorts pairings?
  • Can white socks ever be worn outside the confines of the gym?

Let us know in the comments section below…