4 Things to Consider When Shopping for Dress Socks

Socks are an essential component of every man’s wardrobe. Their main function is to absorb sweat and wick moisture away from the skin, but they also provide much-needed cushioning and protection. Dress socks are a closet staple that can be worn in both casual and corporate settings. They come in a wide variety of colors and styles, so it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the choices while shopping for the perfect pair. Below are 4 things to consider when you’re out shopping for dress socks:

The Essential Features

Good dress socks should have a snug fit to prevent unsightly bunching and blisters. They should also be slim-fitting because dress shoes tend to follow the contours of the feet tightly. A slim fit also creates a more streamlined appearance overall.  

The Length

Dress socks should only be either one of two lengths: over the calf or “executive”, or mid-calf or “crew”. Anything shorter than that is not suitable for formal wear. 

Over the calf dress socks should end just below the knee, covering the entire calf area. This length is considered the “dressier” of the two options and offers a couple of advantages. Good quality executive socks don’t sag; the tapered shape of the calf prevents them from sliding down and pooling around the ankles. They also completely prevent any skin from showing, regardless of the way a man sits or walks. 

Mid-calf socks go up past the ankles and should end halfway up the calf. They are a much more modern take on the dress sock, but they should still provide your legs with adequate cover. However, crew socks do tend to slip down the calf. As these two are by far the most popular length in men’s socks, they should be easy to find at most retailers. 

The Material

Socks are available in a variety of materials to address specific needs. The most common fabrics used are cotton, wool, and synthetics

Cotton is a highly absorbent and durable fabric. Dress socks made in them are usually reasonably priced and will keep their shape for a long time. However, they may not be very effective at wicking moisture away from the skin. 

There’s nothing more comforting than pulling on a pair of wool socks on a cold morning. However, these socks can be too thick, adding unnecessary bulk to your leg area. 

Synthetic fabrics are great at pulling sweat away from your body and keeping you cool. The main issue with synthetic socks is the lack of cushioning. In short, they’re thin and lightweight but can be uncomfortable over time.

Fabric blends are the ideal compromise. Cotton-blend or wool-blend fabrics combine natural fibers with synthetics for socks that will keep your feet both dry and well-cushioned. 

The Color 

When it comes to dress socks and colors there’s only one rule that all men should abide by: avoid white at all costs. White socks can cheapen even the most expensive outfit and make you look juvenile. 

The safest way to coordinate socks is to match their color to the trousers you’ll be wearing. When in doubt, sticking to dark shades is best. Black is a timeless option that should go well with almost everything. Shades of brown, navy, and burgundy are also suitable choices for formal wear. 

However, there’s no need to restrict yourself from the endless palette of colors available. Bright colored socks can add eye-catching brightness and contrast to a dark ensemble. Traditional patterns such as argyle, dots, and stripes can also create visual interest. To maintain a cohesive look, match the color of your socks to the color of another element of your ensemble. 

It’s always a good idea to invest in high-quality dress socks. Take your time in shopping for one now so you can avoid rushing to look for a pair when you need one. Once you have a good pair in your wardrobe, they’ll serve you well from boardwalk barbecues to boardroom meetings and everywhere in between.