Are you planning on going jogging soon? Do you have an appointment with your personal trainer later? Are you filming a Hanes commercial later? If the answer to all of these questions is no, then you have no business wearing white socks. Let’s talk about about socks, and other common, but easily avoidable fashion faux pas men seem so intent on committing.
Your socks should match your pants. It’s that simple. Don’t get sassy, don’t talk back, “But I thought they were supposed to match your shoes!”, just listen to me. If you’re wearing khaki pants and brown loafers, your socks should be khaki; grey slacks with black boots, you better hope you own a matching shade of grey socks; and if you’re wearing white pants, it doesn’t matter what color your shoes are, change your pants–it’s way past labor day.
One notable exception
If you want to intentionally break the one and only sock rule in an effort to enhance your outfit, go for it, but you better be confident in your sock-selecting-skills. For example, I’ll regularly wear socks with a color accent (an argyle, for example) that matches an accessory on my upper body (tie, scarf, pocket square, pasties, etc.).
One notable super-rule
Even if you can’t exactly match the hue or shade of your pants, there is one thing you should always, always, always do you very best to do: make sure your socks match each other. It takes a real fashonista to pull of the black and blue look, and, I’ll be honest, I don’t think you got what it takes.
Oh, and if I ever see you wearing socks with sandals, I will shoot you.
What should I do?
Go into the top drawer of your dresser where you and most all humans keep their socks, and throw away all of your mid-calf white socks (or repurpose them into household rags). If you’re physically active (as you should be), having several pairs of white ankle or no-shows is advisable, but nothing else. We’re trying to break a bad habit, so we need to be severe.
Now, go into your closet and make note of all the colors of pants you own (jeans included). These are the colors of socks you need. Go to the store (or go online, where I do all of my sock shopping), and buy accordingly. I stock up on shades of grey, because I find they tend to go really well with most casual looks, but that’s a personal preference.
So you need to buy more socks. What else are you doing wrong?
I want to run through a few more common faux pas gents tend to make. I’ll order them by severity, from most important to avoid to helpful, but not necessary. Peruse the list and let me know if you have anything to add.
Don’t make an entire outfit from one hue or shade, unless you’ve got something intentional in mind. When your entire outfit blends together, you look like you’re wearing coveralls. You don’t want to look like you’re wearing coveralls.
Try to create some variety in your outfit. If you’re wearing a dark wash of blue jeans, where a bright or light-colored shirt. If you’ve got black slacks on, avoid a dark blue shirt and tie (I call this one “Who died?” or “The Accidental Funeral”). Experiment with different shades and tones and hues. Have fun. Seriously, have fun damnit.
A hickey from Kenickie may have been like a Hallmark Card, but the look of his hair is from (and should stay in) another era. If your hair still looks wet, hours after it’s dried, you’re using too much, or the wrong kind of, hair product.
If you have longer hair, I recommend a light mouse with low shine. If you have medium-length hair, go with a wax or texturizing paste. For short hair, go even lighter. The less you use, the better you’ll look (and it’s better for your hair and scalp).
Ties and Pocket Squares
If you’re in a job or lifestyle where you find yourself dressing sharp, make sure you have a good selection of ties. You’ll want traditional stripes and solids for formal occasions, tight patterns and bolder colors for weddings/banquets/the like, and some skinny ties for nights on the town. Almost every tie I own came from TheTieBar.com. The quality is solid, the selection is amazing, and the price is ridiculous. They also have a Tie of the Month Club, which would be a great gift for a budding professional.
If you wear a suit, nothing says “baller” like a pocket square in a coordinating color with the rest of your outfit. And they’re cheap, particularly if you make them yourself. Any fabric will do, find something you like, cut it into shape, and fold it accordingly. Boom: you’re a baller. I told you it was easy. (If that doesn’t sound easy, The Tie Bar also sells pocket squares.)