The Art of Coordination: Should Socks Match Pants, Shoes, Suits, or Ties?

The Art of Coordination: Should Socks Match Pants, Shoes, Suits, or Ties?

For some gentlemen, socks are serious business. Which is likely why there is both a National Sock Day (December 4) and a National Lost Sock Memorial Day (May 9)!

But are there style rules on how to match socks? Do you know if or how to match socks with your suit? Should socks match pants or shoes? Socks and ties are frequently gifted to men – is that because matching ties and socks is a trend? So many sock questions, and here, so many sock answers! Let’s discuss …

Do I Have to Match My Socks?

Let’s start at ground level. Yes, your socks should match one another!

Mismatched socks are cute for your kids’ Wacky Wednesday at school, and are acceptable when young adults are getting the hang of doing their own laundry. But they are a no-go for the well-dressed or professional gentleman.

Non-matching socks are not a gentleman's choice.

What Are Your Socks Supposed To Match?

This is a fair question that is oftentimes followed by: Should your socks match your pants or shoes?

Matching your socks to your trousers or to your footwear are the two most cited solutions to the sock dilemma. Both are standard – it all depends on your preference and the look you want to achieve. And there are other choices as well. Let’s take a look at several approaches to sock selection:

Socks Matching Pants: A Classic Choice

Matching your socks to your pants is a safe bet. Doing so creates a seamless transition from your trousers to your shoes, visually elongating your legs. Pairing dark navy trousers with dark navy, lightly-patterned socks, for example, produces a effect that’s understated - and both timeless and currently on trend.

Socks matching pants is a classic choice

Socks Matching Shoes: A Cohesive Finish

Coordinating your socks with your shoes is another handsome choice. A deep black loafer with socks of a similar hue, for instance. Your socks blend harmoniously with your footwear, demonstrating your thoughtfulness and facilitating a sense of cohesion.

This approach works particularly well when you want to draw attention to your shoes.

[Find out here What Color Shoes to Wear With Your Suit]

Should socks match pants or shoes?

Socks Matching Suit: A Power Move

Are your socks supposed to match your suit? Not necessarily, but doing so can be a fashion power move as well as a subtle way to add flair to your formal attire.

For instance, if you're wearing a navy blue striped 3-piece suit, opt for navy blue socks with stripes. This will draw the eye upward, emphasizing your suit's color and pattern – and hinting at your keen attention to detail. 

How to match socks with a suit

Socks Matching Tie or Bow Tie: A Subtle Touch 

For those with a curated collection of fine accessories, matching your socks to your tie or bow tie is a satisfying and sophisticated choice.

While this coordination may go unnoticed to everyone but you, your quiet refinement will give you a little extra pep in your step. An example here is a classic gray suit with a predominantly blue tie and blue striped socks. 

Should socks match your tie?

Socks Matching Your Mood: A Bold Statement

Gentlemen with a penchant for socks may take pleasure in defying the mandate to coordinate. A colorful or patterned sock secreted under required business attire may be just the level of rebellion needed to satisfy your mischievous streak.

 How to match socks to your mood

A word to the wise here – make sure your trousers are long enough to conceal your socks while you’re standing and walking. You want your socks to be an “easter egg,” not a garish faux pas. If you’re in doubt, save your striking socks for casual Friday.

Socks Matching A Theme: A Sentimental Alternative

One way to incorporate colorful socks into your otherwise monotone wardrobe is to consider a theme.

Pink socks for breast cancer awareness, collegiate colors to celebrate your team’s victory, and patriotic socks on a symbolic holiday are all acceptable examples of how you might sneak some excitement into your ensemble. Coloring outside of the lines attracts attention, though, so be sure your outfit is sharp. 

Socks Matching [Fill In The Blank]: An Unnecessary Concern

Should your socks match your shirt? Your belt? Your … ?? It’s not necessary. If sock coordination is a bore, take their color out of the dressing equation. Just load up on black, navy and a neutral color. There are a number of fine accessories to enjoy layering in and coordinating with, like pocket squares, jewelry (see watches, cufflinks, and tie bars), and outerwear.  

 What are your socks supposed to match

Show us how you share your creativity and self-expression by tagging us on social media @RHanauer. Our feeds are chock-a-block with tips and inspiration too – find us on Instagram and Facebook