Full-length pants and jeans are alive and kicking on the catwalks, yet retail continues to flood the market with ankle and cropped lengths because it will take a while for full lengths to filter down to mainstream fashion. Outfits continue to be styled with bare ankles, and that’s not going to work unless you run very warm or your Winters are very mild.

I hate to feel cold so there’s no way am I going to suffer with cold ankles and feet for the sake of fashion. I’m wearing my cropped pants and jeans throughout Autumn and Winter following the guidelines I posted two years ago, and feeling sufficiently insulated. I’m all bundled up with the right layers, socks, knee-highs, high-shaft booties, and booties with arctic fleece linings to stay cosy warm.

Statement socks are also on-trend, and that’s another way to stay warm in cropped lengths in Fall and Winter. I posted guidelines on how to wear statement socks a year ago but the outfit formula bears repeating with some fab visuals.

To my eye, the key to making statement socks work is by making them match and/or complement the outfit so that you “don’t look like a toddler,” as of one my clients put it. Make statement socks look intentional and not like you threw anything on just to stay warm.

1. Solid & Subtle

The statement socks in this outfit are almost solid, neutral and low contrast. The shade of camel matches the coat, which pulls together the outfit. The coat and matching socks are neutral and subtle, and therefore easy on the eyes. The black-white-red rib of the socks further picks up the black-white-red in the rest of the outfit. The shoes are a versatile and a classic dark brown loafer, but the model could have worn short-shaft black/dark brown booties, Mary Janes, oxfords or pumps. Importantly, when the coat comes off, the socks match the outfit.

Make sure the socks COVER the lower legs so that there is no bare skin, even when you sit down. You’ll need longer socks than the pair the model is wearing here.

Sandro Coat with Fringed Scarf Collar

2. Patterned & Complemented

Knee-high socks are an excellent way to keep warm because they cover the lower leg and not just the ankles. This neutral outfit of on-trend black jeans, white top and black topper are gorgeously complemented by a pair of sparkly navy argyle socks. Although there isn’t any navy in the outfit, the socks work and create harmony because the white argyle picks up the white in the top. The flash of green adds a whimsical preppy and graphic integrity. Importantly, when the coat comes off, the socks match the outfit because it complements the top. If the socks were a black-white-red argyle, they’d have matched well too. The shoes are a versatile and classic loafer, but the model could have worn short-shaft black booties, Mary Janes, oxfords or pumps.

Sandro Coat with Fringed Scarf Collar

When you add scarves to the look, make sure the solids are in a complementary colour, and the patterns are in the same palette as the outfit. That way you’ll create a harmonized visual instead of a hectic mismatch that looks neither here nor there.

There is the added concern of whether you want to stretch out your pumps, loafers, oxfords and Mary Janes by wearing them with socks. Or whether they are even comfortable with the addition of a thicker sock. I don’t want to stretch out my Summer shoes, so my statement socks look is for booties and shooties only.

You’d think that fabulous statement socks would be easy to find because they are widely available. Yet it’s hard to find the right colours to match my very colourful knitwear capsule, or they aren’t long enough to prevent cold ankles. Socks often slip off my feet because the one-size-fits all is too wide, and I don’t like to wear woolly socks. I have the added challenge of making this vibe look sufficiently dressy because my style has a dressier element — even when I’m dressed casually. Dressier socks are often too slippery and don’t stay on my feet, and fishnet socks do not provide insulation. That’s why I often resort to wearing navy, barely black and nude knee-highs because they are long, dressy, warm, and stay on my feet. Or I wear warm nondescript socks that no one can see under high-shaft booties.

Who’s into wearing statement socks for Fall & Winter, and do you have tips to share?