Berle's Complete Guide to Matching Socks with Trousers

Admit it: this one particular moment vexes you.

You know the moment. You’ve just showered and you’re ready to conquer another day. Suddenly you’re faced with a fateful decision: what to wear. After a considerable amount of frustration, you’ve got it down to one decision: finding the right pair of socks to match your trousers.

Then, you freeze. You have no idea what constitutes “matching socks and trousers” in the first place.

It’s not your fault. No one, at any point in your upbringing, ever advised you on how to dress well. It is a skill that is acquired over time as you develop your own sense of style and esteem. You’ve had to practice and experiment, and ultimately build up your sense of style like a pyramid: one brick at a time. Today, you don’t have to add that brick: we’re going to do it for you.

Hard Rules: The Dos and Don’ts

The first thing to do is to stop making the basic mistakes you see around you all the time—and the only way you can do that is to become aware of them in the first place:

From now on, white socks are only for the gym. Unless you’ve been dubbed the “King of Pop,” you should avoid white socks unless working out. They tend to stand out – and not in a good way.

Stop matching socks to shoes. Brown socks for a brown pair of shoes? If only life were that simple. Match your socks to your trousers, generally in a way that complements and contrasts—not simply because the colors are the same. If you keep reading this guide, eventually you’ll find that checkered yellow-and-blue socks can indeed go with brown shoes.

Don’t mix functions. Athletic socks with dress shoes are an obvious no-no, so don’t make the same mistake in more subtle ways. Keep the dress socks with formal trousers. Wear wool socks with a warm pair of chinos.

Basic Principles: Certain Socks Match with Certain Trousers

  • Allow your socks to pop. A boldly colored pair of striped socks can stand out, especially when you’re wearing a solid-colored pair of trousers (which, of course, describes just about all trousers). Unless you have another brightly-colored item that your socks might clash with (a shirt, a belt, etc.), you’ll generally be safe.
  • Preview your choice. Lay down the socks by your pants just to see if those two items match. If they don’t, then you already have your answer—no need to start adding to the outfit to see if it all “pulls together” magically. Matching your socks with your trousers may, in fact, be the first decision you make in putting together an outfit.
  • Contrast, complement—but don’t clash. Generally, it’s easy to pick a pair of socks that won’t directly clash with your trousers unless you have some brightly-colored trousers. But the more unconventional your trousers are (say, light red or pale yellow), the more you’ll want to “ground” them with the choice of sock. It’s when you’re wearing an ordinary pair of trousers like denim that you can spice them up with a flashier sock.

This is more of an art than a science, and you’ll find that with practice, dressing well and being stylish gets easier over time. Shop all of the collections at Berle today to find your next pair of stylish trousers that will keep you looking and feeling good this summer.


July 17, 2015 by Berle Editor
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