Unsurprisingly at this time of year, your sock drawer will be at full capacity. There may even be no more room at the inn, so it’s time to begin evicting some old pairs. But which socks go with which outfit and should your socks match your shoes or trousers?

Let’s clear up one aspect of the great sock debate early. White socks should only be worn at the gym, with shorts or lounging at home. No outfit is made better by white socks. If you own dark trainers, go ahead and combine them with dark socks.

What do you own?

You should be aiming to match your socks with your trousers. Most men have extensive amounts of black, navy and charcoal socks, colours which match an array of trousers. This rule avoids a distorted boot effect around your ankles.

If your footwear matches, you aren’t doing justice to your shoe; instead you are hiding its shape. By matching shoe and sock you lose definition around the ankles and the shoe doesn’t pop. Take for example the Barker Kelmarsh, the brogue has a detailed finish along the rim and differentiating shoe and sock tone accentuates this craftsmanship.


happy socks with green and white polka dots

Patterned socks are a regular Christmas gift, and they can offer an elegant touch to formal and informal wear. Try not to allow designs to collide; the result is a busy look. Instead, follow the rule of one pattern at a time. Wear your patterned socks with solid colour trousers, match the primary colour of the socks with the trousers. For example, when wearing polka dot socks, the backdrop should match the primary tone of your legwear.

Patterned trousers work best with a solid colour sock, standout events like a wedding, for example, will allow for lighter, more flamboyant socks. For office matters, stick to your solid black or grey options with patterned outfits.


If you note that you find yourself in a tux or any single shade outfit, your socks could be the ideal place to break up the base colour. An all-black suit and black shoe look will welcome a grey or patterned sock.

Even smart casual shoes will work better with patterned socks. The same can be said for slim one tone jeans or trousers and matching shoes.

Boat shoes

It may be early in the year to be thinking about boat shoes, but a brief note on this sock rebel. If you wear boat shoes with any socks, we recommend ankle socks or something discreet. An alternative may be to add insoles and leave the sock behind.

Brighten any outfit

If your sock drawer isn’t already overflowing post Christmas or if you need to get some 'beyond the last minute gifts', have a look at Happy Socks. Available at Robinson's, this is a collection of brightly coloured and boldly patterned socks. As the name suggests, they really can brighten any outfit.