Fashion & Style

Wearing socks: dos and don'ts

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These are fabulous costume socks but aren't appropriate for the office
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Wearing socks: do not mess up a perfectly good outfit with bad socks

Socks aren't a big deal, are they? Really? Why? Wearing the wrong pair of socks with the wrong outfit can screw up an ensemble in a New York minute. Study the art of wearing socks: do's and don'ts to keep yourself out of the less than fashionable crowd.

Granted, the clothing should not make the man or the woman but alas, it often does. You are at a super-charged, high-powered meeting when you notice the guy running the show is wearing ... white stockings with a black suit. Should that matter? No, but it does. Suddenly, his credibility plummets in your eyes because of his fashion faux pas. If the man can't even dress himself properly how can he run a trillion dollar company?

Pay attention to details. Do not overlook your foot covering. A small gaffe such as this can cause people to chuckle when they see you rather than gaze upon you with utmost respect and admiration.

The "Rules"

Should you match the color of the stockings to your shoes or to your pants? Mens socks should ideally match the pants because this creates a sold line when you cross your legs and your pant leg rises up, exposing your footwear and maybe even your leg. If the pants are black, the socks should be, too.

Don't wear stockings with sandals or with shorts. Sandals are to be worn with bare feet. If you feel the need to wear drogues while sporting shorts wear the ankle-length type, which aren't so visible.

Men aren't the only ones who screw up a perfectly good outfit by the wrong pair. Women do the same. Of course, if you are lounging around the house goofing off with your kids no one cares if you are decked out in Mickey Mouse socks but at work, you need to tone it down.

Women and men have so much to choose from when it comes to stockings including over-the-knee, knee high, anklets, plaids, textures, bold designs, plain white and different fibers and thicknesses. Socks can be worn over pants or concealed underneath. They can be coupled with a mini skirt, keeping the legs warm, extending the wear you get out of a short skirt. They can peer out over the top of a boot and be worn over jeans. Socks are versatile and a great way to introduce personality, pattern and design into your wardrobe.

No, drogues don't have to match the pants you are wearing precisely but on the flip side, donning neon orange stockings with a conservative gray pants suit is asking for trouble unless you work in a highly creative, non-conventional atmosphere where the crazier the better.


Socks are chosen for a purpose by both men and women. If you are hiking in sub zero weather you need a specific kind of outdoor sock that keeps you warm and supports your feet. If an athlete, you require a certain type of sock. What is appropriate underneath tennis shoes cannot be worn with high heels. And, of course, color, length and fiber should be taken into consideration when buying socks.

Those with diabetes have to be especially careful about their feet. They require therapeutic stockings that safeguard their feet and toes. Big men require extra-wide as do those who experience foot swelling.

Athletic stockings generally provide some cushion but aren't too bulky. Runners like some padding in their stockings because this provides protection to the ball and heel of the foot. Walkers want comfort and support as well a wicking properties that pull moisture away from the skin, keeping feet dry, preventing blisters. Hikers desire some cushioning in their stockings as well as moisture management. Heavyweight stockings are best for mountaineers because of the added padding and bulk they provide.

Snowboard and ski drogues are padded underfoot and in the shin areas. These don't keep the wearer particularly warm but they do protect the foot from rubbing inside the boot and from pressure points.

Decide when you will be wearing a particular pair of stockings and proceed from there. Match the sock to the activity. And, of course, on Halloween you can go hod wild and wear the most outrageous pair of socks ever!

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