A Simple Guide to Sock Matching

October 21st, 2014

You have a lot of hard decisions to make from day to day, don’t make choosing socks one of them. Here’s a simple guide.

When in doubt, socks should be one shade darker than your trousers:


If those are in the laundry, as an alternative go with socks one shade lighter than your shoes:


If you want to add a little texture follow the rules above but include a subtle pattern, like these herringbone cashmere socks:


If you’re experimenting with “statement” hosiery, or looking to add a little flavor to a simple outfit, start with a subtle stripe where one color is already included in your look:


If you’re looking for something with even more punch, go with vibrant colors that contrast against a more neutral look:


Final note: socks come in a variety of weights. Keep your thin socks with your smooth fabrics and sleek shoes, and your beefy socks with your heavier cloths and sturdier footwear. Consistency in weight makes all the difference.

Thanks for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Shop Custom Menswear Made in America


Take me to the Shop

  • Jonathan

    who makes the suede shoes? They look nice.

    • Lars

      Unsure as to the make of these specific ones but I have a pair almost exactly the same by Oliver Sweeney.

  • porter4484

    Keep it simple.

  • Al

    Ah crap, I thougt it was same shade or lighter. For some reason I’ve always felt weird with a darker sock than my pants.

    • lb

      yup, just think.all your collegues and bystanders have been looking at your socks to pants for all these years, thinking you’re an idiot.

  • AFH

    The trad Brit style has been to feature a solid contrast colour – frequently red. The problem with navy on navy is that the subtle differences in colour mix may actually be quite dissonant – I don’t think a dark contrasting shade is particularly outlandish, if anything it’s a safer choice. Dark red, dark green or dark purple; you can’t go too far wrong with those choices. I like a dark orange or a middle blue as well.

  • wistfulwriter

    I’ve seen too many young men trying to make bold statements with loud socks. Case in point: I saw a fellow wearing a overly tight French blue suit and white shirt with solid-colored red socks and black shoes. I didn’t have the heart (or the gall) to tell him he was doing it all wrong.

    • http://www.lucidlingo.com.au/ Gazman

      Did the right thing. Nothing more pompous than offering gratuitous advice, especially regarding dress sense.

      • 67pct

        Nah yo, that dude was well within his rights to speak up. Shit lookin awful, you doin a brother a favor tellin he got shit wrong.

  • TO

    I thought the other bits in the last sock matching guide were class- can they be added to this (updated) version? If I remember, one of them was the ‘exception’ with khaki/tan pants…

  • Jaws

    Pick 1 of 4 solid colors depending on shoe choice: Navy Blue, Brown, Grey, Black

    Ignore advice otherwise lest you be douche

    • tommyjohn_45

      what about a standout sock makes you a douche?

      • R

        The fact that Rob Kardashian tried to make a career with them for one…but I couldn’t care less what a dude wears honestly, just felt the need to answer the question.

      • Stuart

        Paul Smith also built a menswear empire around clean cut suits with loud accents, e.g. vibrant linings and “standout” socks. Just food for thought.

        • Rob

          There was definitely a time and place when “standout” socks or “fun” socks had their place in mens fashion. However, to most, that time has past, as with most trends. If this trend was not on the Dan’s list for trends hoping to fall off, it should have been.

          • tommyjohn_45

            A person’s style should be reflective of their personality. If someone enjoys wearing a bold sock, then they should wear a bold sock. It’s not a matter of being trendy.

            • R

              Correct, however, if ones style is solely reflective of ones personality; trends cease to exist to begin with. The truth is, bold socks are a trend, you’re portraying a moment in time. The trend is apart of your interest at that moment. A sock is a sock, as a suit is a suit, over time there will be variances of the silhouette and makeup. Thats the trend, whereas, the suit and sock in its most basic form remain timeless.

              • Jerimy McCray

                That’s sounds boring and laxy, it sounds like you are saying be boring because people will never not like like it(.trends are dependent on public opinion) . Its it that basic will never be frowned upon but you’ll also never turns heads or or inspire others. Plus, trends can be turned into lasting style by infusing with your own style. When I was younger timberland boots were all the rave. Today I don’t see them as much but, I still see people wearing them in their own way and looking good. Basic will get the job down for today but everyone will forget about and the person wearing it tomorrow.

                • marreta

                  I agree with you. Whenever I see old photos of people (including myself) wearing the trend of that time they stand out…as a follower! Swept up by the currents of the sea of fashion. Style on the otherhand is a subtle thing that is much like a soft touch rather that a striking fist. A caress that arouses interest. It’s slight and therefore more mysterious, lingering, and effective. Crazy socks fal into the latter category. They are garish and strike at the eye like an Andy Warhol leaving a decidely shockin affect on the eye even though it might be just a small swath of material peeking through from beneath the hem. Textures, small solid patterns, and subtle earthtone enriched original hues are more pedigree to the stuff of style in line with a Rembrant. Men of style deter from this sin. The eye should never be forced to a MANS ankles. Nor do many of us desire to be tricked to gaze there by cotton candy and lollypop colors. Humor, whit, and seduction are more confidently expressed through the action of body language and elocution. The lines of the body and features of the head and face are to only supported by the cast of clothes, never ever upstaged by what is at times, when this fashion transgression is made, a crude blurt from an insecure patron seeking approval or acceptance by trying a tad too hard

                  Just a thought. I’m no expert on the subject.

                  • Deon

                    This is confusing. Personal style has no rules. You guys are talking fashion. Fashion goes in and out. Style is whatever and whenever you want it to be. Applying rules to style is contradictory to what style is. Style is making your own rules, not adhering to the rules (read opinions) of others. This conversation thread reminds me of when I walk into retailers, big and small, and a myopic, seemingly out of touch salesman/woman tells me that I “can’t do this”, or it “can’t fit like that”, or it “has to be this way”. If I wanted a uniform I’d go somewhere else. I want to express myself. I want to promote my message. Lastly, if you say “these are the classics”, “this is what you should do”, how is that any less being a follower than someone who indulges in trends?

                  • 67pct

                    What he said. He got that on point. Mature views right here.

                • r

                  so u dress for others, i take it…y do u give a shit about turning heads, and being remebered by others? lame

      • 67pct

        Why you want people to look at your ankles for? That’s what makes you a douch for wearing loud socks. People be lookin at the wrong place on your outfit. Being classy is about being able to make a statement without getting all loud and bossy about it. Its about being able to do it for only the people who care enough to notice. Anytime you get up in someone’s face with some shit, that’s not classy anymore.

        • tommyjohn_45

          If you’re offended/annoyed by ‘loud’ socks, you’re taking fashion too seriously. Sure, if someone’s wearing a muted suit and some hot pink polkadot socks, you’re going to look ridiculous, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun and adding in pops of color. 99% of the working world wears black or earth toned socks, which is boring. Why not choose a color you love?

  • Caboom

    In my opinion, socks and pocket squares are two great ways to stand out in the crowd! They’re small details that speak LOUDLY about your style IQ!