Putting One's Best Foot Forward
by Ben St. George
This week we’ve had a fresh batch of seasonal pima cotton socks touch down from the Brianza, Italy workroom of Marcoliani, one of the world’s finest sock-makers who have been elegantly finishing outfits since 1947. With a broad selection of new summer patterns to hand, we thought it high time to shine a light on this stalwart, but at times underappreciated, accessory.
The sock is a universally adopted accessory- we all wear them, and almost every day. And yet despite being one of the most used items in one’s wardrobe, so often the humble sock is overlooked or, indeed, forgotten about entirely. To paraphrase Simon Crompton, shoes show how much money you can spend, but socks show how much you care. They often get lumped in with underwear, but socks are really an accessory, much like a tie - something to finish an outfit with, be that in a conservative and understated way or with a touch of colour.
So where to begin? A good way to think about socks as accessories is that they are there to enhance the colours and patterns of the rest of our outfit, but never overpower them. Clothing and footwear should always come out trumps.
For plains, a good rule of thumb is to colour-match your trousers - this will literally always look good. Navy and flannel grey go with almost everything - having a few pairs of each is highly recommended. Green, red and purple tones are all remarkably versatile - especially if they err darker. We’d recommend resisting the urge to wear black socks with everything - they’re great, obviously, with a black suit or trousers, but if you’re wearing something else springing for a colour will look smarter.
Neat patterns - that is, spots and small motifs - add interest but still generally fall on the more formal end of the spectrum. If you’d like to add some additional interest to a suit or tailored outfit, these are an excellent choice. Just remember the rule of twos when deciding which matching patterns.
Stripes are more casual again - finer stripes still work well with smart dress, but wider or bolder stripes are better suiting for more laid back attire. These can be a great way to add fun and vibrancy to denim or chinos and look great with casual footwear.
Paisleys and complex designs are a bit of an outlier - they tend to be bold, though their non-geometric nature and typically more classic styling can lend them well to tailoring as well. Use common sense here and especially with more traditional outfits, a subtle pattern will always look best.
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