Great style is all in the details, or at least, that’s what we believe at WERD. And in my personal experience, that detail can start at the ground up. We’re not just talking about dress boots or sleek, shiny loafers – we’re talking about a pair of the best dress socks on your feet.
I remember my youthful days wearing standard dress socks, and I remember putting on a pair of high-quality dress socks as I got into the menswear world. Perhaps you recall the same sensation. But if you’ve put a lot of thought and research into the dress boots or shoes on your feet, you’d do well to take that same approach to shopping for a pair of dress socks.
There are times when it’s best to shop for quality rather than quantity (like when shopping for one of the best polo shirts, for instance), and there are times when you can get the best of both worlds, with a bit of added value thrown in the mix for good measure.
Gold Toe makes it easy to hit all the right marks, using comfortable, soft mercerized cotton and nylon for both durability and a smooth feel on your foot, and the brand’s signature reinforced heel and toe are also markers of top-notch design.
Gold Toe socks first caught my eye online for, well, the classic gold toe, but then I found the fit, comfort and durable fabric worked very well for me.
For the guy that wants maximum coverage, over-the-calf dress socks are the way to go, and you might say that nobody does it better than the aptly named sock purveyors at Boardroom Socks.
The USA-made construction is a mark of premium quality, while plentiful color options should suit every palette and style. Bonus points for the fact that they’re made from soft, durable, highly useful merino wool for all-day comfort, day after day… after day.
If your job requires you to suit up (or at least, to step out wearing chinos or tailored trousers multiple days of the week), you’re going to need the right dress socks close at hand. Make that multiple pairs of stylish, wear-with-anything dress socks.
Van Heusen’s helpful 7-pack has you covered from Monday morning meetings to a refined Sunday brunch, with a mid-calf, stay-put fit and breathable poly-spandex fabric. Plus, there are more than enough color options available to match with every set of dress pants in your wardrobe.
It doesn’t get much more classic or timeless than Brooks Brothers in all manner of menswear essentials, from the company’s Oxford shirts to its crisp navy blue blazers. Round out any tailored look you can dream up with a set of finely crafted Egyptian cotton socks in a design that goes with just about anything in your dress wardrobe.
The color is classic and versatile, the quality is second-to-none, and Brooks Brothers is certainly a name you can trust consistently when it comes to your basics drawer.
The menswear giant that is MR. PORTER never skimps on the details, and that’s particularly true with the brand’s in-house, namesake line. You’re spending a bit more here to get a pair of finely crafted dress socks, made from a variety of fabrics including stretch cotton-blend and cashmere for maximum comfort.
Wearing uncomfortable shoes for far too long tends to catch up to you throughout the day, as does wearing the wrong pair of socks. Whether that’s a pair of socks without the right fit or a pair of socks without enough cushioning and comfort, there’s a lot that can separate the best dress socks from average pairs.
And that’s why London Sock Co. offers a ready-made solution. I’m a big fan of its clear-cut buying process – you can buy sets with socks for every single day of the week, for instance – and they’ve saved the heavy lifting by offering distinct color sets, too. Materials like lightweight Scottish knit cotton are a welcome relief for tired feet, as well.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get—a feeling I appreciate – from realizing a beloved designer has just what your menswear wardrobe needs. For some, that might be Ralph Lauren’s iconic polos, but for others, that might mean a straightforward pair of well-made dress socks.
These boast crisp, dressy ribbed texture and a soft, stretchy poly-spandex blend. The best part might be the fact that they come in sets of three for super-easy shopping.
That lofty perch should hold true with these dress socks, which come in easy-to-match solids or unique stripes, each with a small CK logo. The real winning factor here is the soft cotton blend, which can stand up to the demands of all-day dress shoes and cold-weather dress boots.
Its ribbed socks are a classic dress sock style made modern, and done up in timeless colors to match plentiful dress trousers and suit pants.
When I want dress socks with some distinct texture, I opt for a ribbed design. The design sets these apart from other solid-colored socks, and ribbed dress socks are a time-honored pairing with tailoring.
The cotton-nylon blend should prove durable yet soft, so we’d consider adding a pair in each color to your basics drawer – and the price makes it all that much easier to do so.
Some patterns in your sock drawer never quite go out of style, and argyle is certainly one of those time-tested patterns. It can be tough to wear argyle if your outfit features a lot of pattern (for instance, if you’re wearing plaid dress pants), so take heed.
But on that note, argyle can be a fun way to add a touch of pattern to more minimal, dressy looks in the right situation. And with Alpine Swiss, the argyle pattern is complemented nicely by a stretch cotton fabric blend.
Happy Socks rose to fame as guys looked to add more personality and color to their outfits (even everyday combinations like jeans or chinos and a polo).
They still offer up a vast range of vibrant pattern and color options, making it easier than ever to add some flair beneath the hem of your pants.
Its dress socks would be a nice way to offset pieces like chunky leather loafers and rolled chinos or denim – your socks are one of the first things you put on as you build out an outfit, after all.
Are these pricey dress socks the most economical pick? Not exactly, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a heck of a lot of fun–and made with premium quality in mind, to boot.
The eye-catching bandana pattern is a whimsical choice that’ll add some flash (in the right situation) to solid-colored dress trousers, but be sure the timing is right to rock some visually appealing pattern.
Dress socks come in all manner of colors, textures and styles–true dress socks, though, should hit at your calf, if not above your calf (look for styles that note this with the terms “crew” or “calf” socks, or “over-the-calf” or “above-calf” socks). That way, your ankles aren’t exposed as your pants move while you sit down.
My personal preference is for a dress sock that hugs the bottom of the calf without sliding down, but to each their own.
Another rule of thumb: Look to match your stylish dress socks to the color of your pants, or at least, in the same wheelhouse (shades of grey or black work with dark-colored dress trousers, for example).
In some situations, you can opt for a darker shade of sock with a lighter pair of dress pants (for instance, navy socks with tan chinos), but (in my opinion!), you should swear off wearing ultra-light or white socks with dark pants.
When I’m dressing, I like to offer a slight touch of contrast depending on what I’m wearing – for instance, I prefer navy or charcoal socks with rust or tobacco chinos, perhaps with a slight touch of pattern or texture.
There’s some debate about this among menswear purists, but again, to each their own. And let’s be clear here: No white socks with dress pants!
Fabric is crucial to keep in mind. You’ll find most dress socks are made from cotton or cotton blends with added stretch via nylon or polyester, the better to make them lighter and more breathable.
Merino can also be incorporated in socks thanks to its anti-microbial, moisture-wicking properties.
One more note before we cover off on the best dress socks. It’s perfectly fine to throw in a bit of bold color or pattern with your dress socks selection, but again, when in doubt, subtle is best.
If dressed ultra-formally for a boardroom meeting wearing, say, a classic charcoal or dark suit, keep your socks in the same color family as your pants and forgo a wild pattern. If, on the other hand, you’re in a more casual situation–perhaps one where you’ve paired up a blazer with an Oxford shirt and contrasting chinos–a touch of pattern works just fine.
This is where my preference for a pair of charcoal or navy socks, with a touch of pattern, might work well with olive, tan or rust chinos, for instance.
Now, if that seems like a lot of rules, bear with me: It’s not as complicated as it might seem. If ever you hit a fork in the road, go for subtle, stylish, classic dress socks.