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Keep Your Socks Low-Key. . .

The latest batch of new socks to arrive from Dapper Classics early this week.

I've been a fan of zany socks, now commonly referred to as "statement socks," since the early 1980s.  If the rest of one's attire for the day is kept pretty straightforward -- consider the usual informal, business/smart casual uniform found in so many places these days: darker dress jeans, tucked-in shirt with buttons up the front, leather dress shoes, and a (hopefully) matching belt -- brightly patterned statement socks work reasonably well peeking out at ankle level if that's your thing.

However, the moment you begin moving in a more formal direction and adding items like a blazer or sports jacket, a pocket square, with possibly a necktie, or you are in an environment or situation that calls for more formal, full-on business attire, statement socks become a less attractive alternative. 

Why?  My own thinking is that as our attire increases in formality, it becomes important to make certain that our various items when combined present a more sober, unified, uniform appearance without any one thing standing out from the rest.  Whatever you do, you don't want to be such a riot of color and pattern that you stray into early 1970s British Glam Rock territory.  Think Bay City Rollers, T-Rex, Gary Glitter (Boo!  Hiss!), Sweet, Slade, et al here. 

A lot of fun in its time, but hardly the image we want to present as we take a stand against the coffee-colored, frayed, and stained mess that the democratic, egalitarian notion of business casual in actual practice has become.  You know what I mean?  You look like s--t.  I look even worse.  But hey, it's ALL good, and company morale is through the roof.  Now, let's go have a brewski and compare our new tats while we plan next month's pajama day at the fussball table and leer at that new intern with green hair from Marketing!  Um, yeah.

Returning to the point at hand, while I still enjoy interesting socks, over the last several years I have come to the gradual conclusion that wild socks have a more limited application than might initially be apparent.  So, as the occasional pairs have worn out, or just reached the end of their useful life, I have replaced them with various new pairs in mid- to dark blue.  This is not to suggest that I eschew pattern and/or color all together, but I find blue socks in various shades to be much more versatile by comparison. 

Thank about it.  If we don't get hung up on matching our socks to our pants, mid- or dark blue pairs go with almost anything from khakis, to dress jeans, charcoal gray flannels, to a navy, mid-blue, charcoal, tan, or even brown suit without issue.  Charcoal dress socks, while serviceable with the aforementioned colors, are not particularly interesting to the eye.  Brown and tan socks are more limited in their use.  Black socks are just. . .  Black socks.  Too stark for anything but the most formal wear.  And who among us dons a tuxedo or morning dress more than a few times in life?  I have a single pair that was sent to me once as a promotion a number of years ago, and I think they have been worn once, if at all.  These should really be filtered out when next I come across them in the ol' sock drawer.

No.  For me, the preferred dress sock color has gradually become mid- to dark blue with an understated pattern that will not distract from the rest of my attire however formal or casual it might be on any given day.  Regular visitors will know already that I am a fan of suits and routinely wear them twice or three times per week in all but the hottest summer weather, so, less flamboyant socks that can be worn with a variety of attire without clashing are in order. 

I typically purchase socks online from Dapper Classics a few times a year to replace worn out pairs when a sale comes comes around, or when there is a Sock of the Month that is both attractive yet understated enough to work with my particular aesthetic.

Socks, I think, are not necessarily at the forefront of many men's minds when it comes to kicking up their daily style by several notches.  Nevertheless, it would serve people well to pay more attention to accessories like these since they can have considerable impact on our overall look during any given day, situation, or occasion.  Socks in the mid- to dark blue color range with low-key (or even no) pattern, will serve us better, regardless of what we wear to work and in our personal lives, than virtually any other color out there.  Unless a guys is lounging at the beach or by the poolside, of course.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


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