Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sock It Real Good

QUESTION: Hi, I'm a guy. Could you tell me what shoes go with white socks and what shoes go with black?

ANSWER: First of all, thanks for your question! I am so pleased to receive a query from a male reader! (Girls! There is hope! The men are willing to learn! Hehehe!)

Now to answer your query, let me clarify that it is a common misconception for men to coordinate their socks with their shoes. Because when it comes to sock color coordination, there are in fact 2 schools of thought:

1) Socks should be matched against the pants (American)

2) Socks should be paired with the shirt/tie/jacket (Italian)

The explanation for (1) is that if the socks are matched against the pants, then there is a "flow" yet at the same time, it sets apart the clothes from the shoes, without looking uncoordinated.

For example, a navy suit and brown shoes should be worn with dark blue socks rather than brown socks. A dark gray suit and black shoes should be paired with dark gray socks instead of black socks.

(2) however appeals to the more "fashionably daring". This can be a bit tricky though. If done right, then you might just catch the eye of Scott Schuman (more popularly known as The Sartorialist). If done wrong, then you might be lumped together with the likes of Mike Velarde...and you wouldn't want that.

I suggest that you go for what you feel most comfortable with. (1) is traditional and conservative, whereas (2) allows you to have fun with socks to the point that it may be considered an accessory.

Socks were invented for plenty of practical reasons. But its use cannot be entirely limited to matters of comfort and hygiene. Keep an open mind and experiment pairing your socks with your outfits if you wish and go on with what you feel right about. Either way, you won't go wrong - if this skill is honed to perfection. As Scott Schuman says "It is the little details like this that separate a Sartorialist from the simply well dressed."

(Photos courtesy of


Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog ! For me there can be only one type of socks: blacK.

Anonymous said...

This is just my observation--most new yorker men wear black socks only.We just wear white socks with sneakers when we go to the gym to workout. I have lots of friends who make fun of men who wear white socks with leather shoes.I dont know if this is just a new york thing but ive been living here for 20yrs and seems like its a very common practice--BLACK SOCKS except when you wear your sneakers.

cd_mfo said...

Thanks rosemary and anonymous New Yorker for sharing your opinions! Come to think of it my husband, dad, and brother are all black sock wearing type of guys. I suppose it is the safest option because one doesn't have to think about doing the matchy thing at all! Not the most fashionable style though, but it is quite practical!

Conchita said...

right on with you comments! maybe it depends how fashion forward you are. when you see the men in sartorialist they have a certain panache coz they're willing to experiment.

or maybe it's the environment... some men are just exposed more to fashion than others.

raissa said...

please no white sock/black shoes LOL I still see a few around.

I guess my dad wears his socks the American way - match with his pants and he wears tons of black socks too LOL

takejiro said...

this is really helpful. my guy sometimes asks me this expecting me to know the answer. now i know what to say next time. :)

cd_mfo said...

I'm happy to help takejiro! You can always throw questions my way ok! =)

Anonymous said...

hi there! speaking of socks, would you know where might i find toe socks which come in vibrant colors and styles, such as stripes in manila? Googled for them and came across feelmax but they are just too costly. All Flip Flops used to carry havaianas socks, expensive also at P395 each i think.- perry

cd_mfo said...

Hi Perry! Try the socks section of SM or Robinsons department stores. I saw a couple at the tiangge stalls in Greenhills as well! Less than P100 for a pair. You can also check out the Christmas bazaars! I remember seeing colorful striped socks at the Karl Edwards Bazaar at the Fort, usually these are export overruns so they are of very good quality!

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