Spring Up Your Sock Game!

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Spring is upon us once again, and this means good things for the aspiring dandy. You can ease up on a lot of the layering that's necessary to keep warm in the fall and winter, and you can finally relax your shoulders and literally feel a bit lighter with the warmer temperatures. Most sartorially important, though, is that the seasonal color palette blasts wide open in the springtime. We can hold off on grey sweaters and navy wool pants for a while. Unfortunately, too many guys are unsure of how to incorporate bolder spring colors into their wardrobes. Having worked in retail for many years, I've heard “Yeah, the (insert brightly colored article of clothing here) is cool, but I can't pull it off.”

Bollocks. Of course you can pull it off.

So how is the aspiring clotheshorse to start throwing canary yellows, pinks, lavenders, and all manner of springtime dandy-ness into his wardrobe? Just like a soundly-constructed house is built from the ground up, so is your wardrobe. With that in mind, start at the bottom and try some colorful socks. Unless you're the kind of stickler who buys sized hosiery (yes, it exists), you don't have to worry about a poor fit. As an added bonus for those of us without a ton of cheese in the checking account, buying a fleet of colorful socks is far less expensive than stocking up on colorful shirts or ties. Some guidelines are as follows:

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socks

  1. The traditional rule for socks is that they should match your pants. When wearing a non-standard color, start with coordinating instead of matching. Let's say you're work dress code is business casual and you're wearing navy pants and a white shirt. Instead of navy socks, try some solid bright blue ones. They're still blue, but you'll score some springtime swag points with the brighter shade.
  2. Since we're already bending the rules here, remember that socks don't have to match or coordinate with just your pants; they can speak to another part of your outfit or stand alone altogether. Are you rocking a gold tie with your blue shirt? Try some yellow socks. Is that gold tie a striped one by any chance? Lend some continuity of pattern to your get-up by throwing on some green striped socks. Or pink.
  3. As it gets warmer outside, sometimes the best sock is no sock at all. You can go barefoot, but I find this to be uncomfortable and sanitarily questionable. You can use Goldbond powder, but various retailers offer men's “loafer socks,” or as I like to call them, “man-peds.” You'll get the sockless look and you won't need a hazmat suit to deal with your shoes at the end of a long day.
  4. Always practice a strong sense of sartorial decorum. In terms of the socks you choose to wear, this means that while lavender ones with cream polka dots might be killer with light grey pants and a blue shirt, it might not fly at work, for example. If you're dressing for most job interviews, a funeral, or are applying for a mortgage loan, stick to the rules and wear grey socks with your grey dress pants.

Next time you're out shopping, pay particular attention to the socks you see offered. If the rest of your wardrobe is pretty basic with blues, greys, khakis, and the like, you will likely be able to go hog wild with your sock game. Start with a couple pairs and live in them for a while; decide what colors and patterns you're into, and then go seek out some more. You'll have a solid collection in no time.