8 Tips on Wearing Colorful Men’s Dress Socks

The traditional rule of thumb for men’s dress socks that the color should match your trousers is outdated and boring. Colorful dress socks range in everything from bold solid colors to classic patterns, such as argyle and paisley, to whimsical designs featuring animals or cartoon characters. With so many options, it can become overwhelming and difficult to decide which socks to wear, when it’s appropriate to wear bright socks and what outfit to accompany your snazzy new socks. Here are 8 helpful hints and tips on wearing men’s colorful dress socks.

1.Coordinate with your Outfit

The first thing to understand about adding colored or patterned socks to your outfit is that coordinating does not mean matching. Just because your suit is navy blue does not necessarily mean your socks should be a shade of blue. A simple way to coordinate your socks is to pull a color from something else in your outfit such as your shirt, tie, pocket square or jacket. If you are wearing a red tie with yellow stripes, consider a fun patterned pair of socks in yellow such as the men’s stache socks or red monkey socks.

colorful dress socks

2. Consider the Color Wheel

Before you experiment with mixing and matching shades and patterns, it’s best to have a basic understanding of the color wheel. Red, blue and yellow are the three primary colors and between those are the three secondary colors of purple, green and orange. If you really want to advance your color theory knowledge, you can include the six tertiary colors of vermilion, magenta, violet, teal, chartreuse and amber. For the perfect contrasting combinations, choose colors that are opposite from one another on the color wheel. These are called complementary colors and mixing them just right will make you look intelligent, stylish and professional.

3. Choose Patterns Wisely

While brightly colored dress socks are often cheerful and entertaining, it is important to choose your patterns wisely. If there are other elements in your outfit that are loud or patterned, like a checkered jacket or Hawaiian shirt, it may be best to keep it subtle with your socks. Pull a color from the pattern and choose a bold solid-colored pair of socks in the same hue. Also keep the pattern in mind when attending specific events. Wearing socks covered in hamburgers at a vegan party might not be generally accepted and may even be offensive. When in doubt about which pattern to choose, opt for solid color or reliable classics like polka dots or wide stripes.

4. Match the Occasion

There are certain occasions when gimmicky novelty socks are appropriate, such as holiday parties and seasonal events. Brightly colored socks showcasing fun, recognizable images can be both comfortable and amusing. Fancy socks with red candy canes and gingerbread men are perfectly acceptable for a family or company Christmas party. There are orange jack o’lantern socks for Halloween, baseball socks for home games, beer pong socks for college reunions, and a variety of music socks for concerts. Celebrate Independence Day in style with red, white and blue flag socks. No matter what the holiday, occasion or event, there is sure to be a corresponding pair of dress socks.

5. Go Crazy When Casual

Casual attire is the best time to go crazy with the patterns and color combinations in your socks. A fun night out on the town with friends or casual Fridays at the office are great opportunities to let your imagination run wild. Whether you are wearing jeans and a t-shirt or khakis with a collared polo shirt, adding a pair of funky waves socks or orange triangle socks can really spice up your look. Like a handsome pocket square in a jacket, a flashy pair of socks with an otherwise casual outfit shows you put some thought into what you are wearing.

colorful men's dress socks

6. Know When to Avoid Multi-Colored Socks

Bright socks are fun and entertaining, qualities that are not always appropriate for the situation. There are some occasions that are more about showing respect than expressing your individuality. Wearing socks with neon yellow smiley faces against a turquoise background may not be the best choice for a funeral or serious business meeting. When it comes to weddings, it depends on things like the couple, the venue and the theme. Weddings are not nearly as formal as they were in the past, but some brides might not appreciate a deviation if she has a strict dress code. When in doubt, consider the location. Colorful socks are suitable for a tavern or a bowling alley, but not necessarily in churches and courthouses.

7. Determine How Much Sock to Show

Once you have decided which fancy socks you want to wear, it’s time to consider how much sock to show. If your pants are too high and you show too much sock, it looks like your pants just aren’t a good fit. However, if your trousers are too long, no one will ever see your carefully chosen socks. Recent trends in men’s fashion include the decreasing length of men’s pants, which ultimately shows more of your socks. Another trend is to roll up or cuff pants to give out a casual, surfer vibe. If you are unsure about the length of your pants, a good rule to follow is that your pants should just skim the top of your shoes while you are standing.

8. Be Confident

Wearing men’s colorful dress socks is all about adding personality to your outfit. Build your confidence by starting out with classic patterns such as stripes or argyle, which has been a traditional dress sock style for men for nearly a century. Keep it simple with two or three tones of muted colors such as navy blue, maroon and forest green. As you become more confident, add more eye-catching colors like neon orange and vibrant turquoise. Embrace your uniqueness and don’t be afraid to try new things. You’ll become an expert at wearing multi-colored dress socks in no time.

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