Two Classic Sock Patterns To Breathe Life Into Your Outfit

Tired of plain socks, but not into wild prints? Read on!

The menswear market is saturated with options when it comes to eye-catching patterned socks. However, many of these are not suited for someone who wants to err on a conservative or classic side; repeating avocado or doughnut prints may not be right for your personality. The good news is that gentlemen have had some option in the sock aisle for many years, and you can utilise those to add a dash of character to your look in a classical and tasteful manner.

Pattern 1: Stripes

Striped socks have been a sporting staple for generations, with rugby and football teams donning striped socks on the playing field. These patterns can be utilised in dressier socks too; when paired harmoniously with an outfit, they can be an excellent way to add life to your look.

I recommend that you wear these if you are wearing another garment with stripes, and try to make your sock stripes proportional. For example, wear a rugby top with plain colour pants and a striped sock with thicker stripes (as above). You can also pair horizontally striped socks with a vertically striped shirt as the two garments do not connect; again, keep the stripes in proportion with your other garment.

A favourite of mine is to pair a striped business shirt with narrowly striped jacquard print socks, as seen below (click to enlarge images):

Pattern 2: Argyle

I know what you younger men are thinking: ‘Argyle belongs on golf sweaters and grandfathers’. For a long time I felt the same, but when I decided to try an argyle sock earlier this year I fell in love with the look. Again, go with a colour palette that harmonises with your outfit when buying argyle socks. It makes your look surprisingly fresh and youthful!

For the above, I picked a grey base to go with the pants. The white, black and sky blue worked well with the navy/black and white striped polo I was wearing with it.

My argyle sock collection currently consists of these, a pair of light blue argyles with white/navy diamonds and a red pair with navy/cream diamonds. These choices – alongside a pair of black ones with monochrome details – cover the essential bases for pairing argyle socks with nearly any outfit.

Want to try argyle socks? Here is a good place to start:

I have found that Uniqlo has a good range of decent quality argyle socks at cheap prices (I do not get a commission or anything for recommending these, I simply think they are great value for money and I own several pairs), which is perfect if you are wanting to see if the pattern suits you without spending heavily. They usually cost just under $5AUD per pair.

If you prefer higher tier names, I have had good experience with Tommy Hilfiger socks. The argyle ones from GAP are pretty neat too.

That’s all for today!

If you are looking to liven up your sock drawer, you do not need to go for wild patterns. You can go for a refined option too. This is not to say that you should not try some of the wilder options though. As a friend of mine likes to say: “How can I be in a bad mood if I look down and see bananas on my socks?”.

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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