Socks to be you

Published/Updated on:
August 7, 2019
Witty title aside, socks are overlooked, under-loved, and lonely (mostly because you've lost one half of the pair). This entire article has been inspired by my own, perhaps uncontrolled, love for socks- they can be bright and colourful, come in the craziest of prints, and come in all sorts of lengths and styles. They're a kind of expression, and are an overlooked accessory for standing out from the crowd of drab navy and black. That said, there are occasions for navy and black socks, the same way there are occasions for the orange pair with green and purple polka-dots. How do you know when to wear which pair? How long should my socks be? What are the definite no-no's for sock wearing? This post is mostly dedicated to the gents, but I'd encourage the ladies to get creative with their sock choices, too.

What socks, and when?

Image of sock guide length

The easiest way to answer this question starts with 3 questions: Where are you going, what shoes are you wearing, and what pants you're wearing. To be fair, all three questions overlap: you're not going to wear shorts to the office with oxfords, but here's a quick rundown on picking your socks. We're going to go through some of the common ones: Starting from the bottom up, lets talk about No-show / invisible socks.

No-show socks are great when you don't want your socks to be seen- not that this is a great trade-off all the time. Wear these socks with the wrong shoes and you're almost guaranteed blisters on the back of your heels, where your shoes will inevitably rub against the skin. Some may argue these socks are only appropriate when wearing shorts, but we feel like it's about time to #freetheankle. For everything from oxfords to slip-ons, the only shoes you should definitely avoid wearing these with are boots or high tops.

Ankle socks/ Liner Socks (also known as the socks you wore throughout your schooling years) rise to on or just below the ankle and are really only suitable for one place: the gym (and probably other activities that involve some kind of workout). This seems a bit extreme, but their primary purpose is to prevent you from chafing yourself with socks that are too-short. They're the only socks we consider not-an-actual-accessory, and they just don't look that great. It should go without saying that white gym socks are a big no if you have that choice: not only do they get dirty really easily, they're not conspicuous at all. However, if you are buying socks of this type, get good ones.

In Singapore's oppressive heat, even a walk outside could leave you feeling sticky from head to toe- buy socks that are moisture wicking and breathable, for both comfort and foot health!

Mid-Calf Socks are a mens wardrobe staple, and are good for all sorts of shoes. Whether you're heading out in nice dress shoes, like an oxford or a derby, boots, or sneakers; these socks are almost universal, although we must admit that the exposed ankle is a very strong trend in mens fashion at the moment-

(Authors Note: I'm really not giving the entire issue of the male exposed ankle enough hype. Read this article to get a real feel for how much this has blown up as a trend. )

- and it doesn't look like its going away any time soon. They are comfy just as they are practical, and come in all sorts of colours and patterns. To quote GQ:

"A flesh of red in a sea of navies, greys, whites and camels will help lift an otherwise flat outfit. Always remember that accessorising is key on the road to making a strong style statement."

That said, if you're in a traditional industry, meeting world leaders or doing something that's a little more stiff and formal, it's better to go back to black. This doesn't mean it has to be boring- having textured socks, with ribbing, for example, creates visual interest.

Here's some basic rules you can follow- if you're feeling curious.

  1. White socks and Suits can not be, must not be, and should never be.
  2. If you're not sure what patterns are 'safe' ones, an argyle is a good, safe bet.
  3. Keep the colour of your dress socks matching to your trousers for suits.
  4. Solid coloured socks pair best with patterned pants: think stripes, or houndstooth.
  5. That said, avoid patterns on patterns- it becomes too busy.
  6. Brown shoes go pretty well with blue-toned socks, whether striped or patterned.
  7. It takes confidence to pull off those bright socks, so if you're gonna be loud, be proud.

And of course, if you can't remember all of this, a good general rule of thumb is

"Simple socks for busy pants (or shoes), busy socks for simple pants (or shoes!)"

Where should I buy my socks?

1) Freshly Pressed

"MRT', image from Freshly Pressed

Designed in Singapore and produced in Korea, this local sock company produces super nostalgic designs. From our MRT lines, to the Dragon Playground of your childhood. They make their socks in a variety of lengths (ankle socks to n0-show) and use high quality combed cotton, polyester and spandex for material. If you're looking to slowly develop your sock collection, they also offer a subscription service! Pretty nifty for getting some fresh socks every month.

2) Happy Socks

Screenshot 2019-06-11 at 10.21.08 AM
The Beatles Portrait Sock from Happy Socks Avenue

You've probably already seen this Swedish brand around Singapore, but it wouldn't hurt to talk about them again. At the moment of writing, they offer free standard delivery in Singapore and Malaysia, and sell a huge variety of socks. For everything from solid colours to wacky patterns, and special collaboration collections with artists like Andy Warhol and the Beatles. Socks also make a great functional gift that's fairly universal, so its pretty neat that they sell gift boxes of some of their best socks.

In Conclusion...

There is a host of style options you can explore, just by changing up your socks.

Socks give everyone an avenue to express themselves without needing to step too far out of the comfort zone, or spice up an outfit that's typically quite dull and boring. After all, don't you think it's about time you took a walk on the wild side?

Niki Eu

Niki is no longer working at, but used to work as marketing intern and contributed many of's styling blogs.

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