Showcasing socks by making them an integral component of the look is an example of Maximalism. Statement socks have become increasingly popular with my clients who want to add warmth and texture, add avant-garde interest, or simply change things up. There are many ways to showcase socks in an outfit, and the visual effect will vary. You have to think about how the socks will complement the shoes, and the outfit overall.
First, the socks themselves. Here are some great pairs that will make a statement. The thick ankle socks in fun patterns work well with booties and sneakers, and create a casual vibe. The refined nylon, crushed velvet, or fishnet versions work for dressier looks. The knee-high socks make a lower leg statement.
Statement socks can be worn with loafers, oxfords, heeled and flat booties, sneakers, high-tops, classic pumps and platform sandals. Keeping the footwear quiet while the socks do the talking is a good strategy.
Incorporating short black fishnet or sheer patterned nylon socks with black footwear into a style that is heavy in black, ink blue and grey is the easiest way to wear statement socks. That’s because the contrast between the outfit components is very low allowing the socks to blend in and read as textural interest as opposed to being a bold, eye-catching statement.
Therein lies the first tip. Create a LOW contrast between the sock, shoe and outfit if you want to ease your way into wearing statement socks, or want to create a more subtle statement. Socks make more of a statement when they’re high contrast to the footwear, or/and the pattern of the socks is bold. For example, wearing blush socks with blush sandals is easier on the eyes than wearing striped yellow and red socks with cobalt sandals.
Wearing socks that are the same or almost the same colour as your shoes creates the visual effect of wearing boots. The socks can be ankle, calf or knee-lengths. Scrunching knee-high socks over footwear creates a retro, leg warmer look.
Complementing the Outfit
The socks need to be visible, which means wearing jeans, pants, skirts and dresses that are short enough to do just that. You’re looking at cropped lengths on pants and jeans — which can also be achieved by rolling and cuffing hems — and just about any length on a dress or skirt that isn’t maxi.
Adding visible socks to outfits is easiest when the socks, shoes and clothing are black and charcoal grey. Or when all three components are dark and tonal. Keeping the palette and the integrity of the socks fairly dressy, adds a sophisticated edge to your look.
You can absolutely combine bold, high-contrast patterned socks into outfits. It can get tricky though, and my clients often feel overly casual, less than chic, and quite juvenile in this sort of combination. It is most successful when…
- You have a high affinity for colour and pattern mixing
- The colours of the socks match the colours of the outfit
- The setting is very casual
Choose bold patterned socks very carefully when making a bold visual statement. If you have the matchy-matchy gene, so much the better. Here’s an example of a casual statement sock outfit with the exact pieces from my wardrobe. The colour palette of the socks, scarf, turtleneck and jacket are the same, which helps me feel pulled together.
For more statement sock outfit inspiration, check out the pictures below and in my Pinterest board. Combinations are both over the top and relatable. Who’s going to incorporate statement socks into their outfits?