Put your Best Feet Forward

Wear Great Socks

When suggesting that you put your best feet forward, I don’t mean to say your actual, bare feet, but your properly covered feet. I know that there has been a trend of late for going sockless, even with shoes and clothing that previously would have always demanded socks. I’m actually wearing shoes without socks as I write this. But there are distinct instances when that is appropriate (like when wearing boat/deck shoes with pinwale cords and a cashmere crew, hanging around the house on a Saturday morning, writing a blog post.) On the flip side, I also recommend against socks when wearing summer loafers, sandals, etc. That would be like wearing a belt and braces (suspenders) at the same time. You just don’t do that if you want to maintain even a shred of cool and sophistication.

For most of us, most of the time, socks with shoes is the order of the day. So, if you are going to be wearing socks most of the time, may I suggest that you give that part of your attire an extra minute of your time!

As you know if you’ve read this blog before, I like to find stylish ways to break or at least bend the rules of style, but one must first know the rule before trying to bend the rule. The rule for socks is: The color of your socks should match or be darker than the color of your pants. Navy pants = navy socks. Brown pants = brown socks. White pants = white socks. Wrong! No socks with white pants, except on the golf course (and perhaps when playing competitive croquet?) where the physical movement requires socks for comfort and safety.

A secondary rule: the more dressed up you are, the more likely that you should be wearing OTC (over-the-calf) length socks so as to make sure that your bare leg does not show if you happen to cross your legs. The corollary to that rule: the more casually dressed, the more you can take some liberties with the length, color and pattern of your socks. Which leads me to the most common occurrence of sock rules rule breaking of the modern era: colorful and patterned socks being worn with most anything, even dressy suits. It’s a trend that may not have been started with him but has been taken to a whole new level by no less than a former POTUS.

Robert Graham, a designer brand which is dedicated to helping people live a more colorful life, is now making a line of colorful socks, made from the finest Peruvian cotton. If you’d like to add a little “out with the old and in with the bold” to your look, then these are for you. Or maybe you just want to have more fun?


Above is a picture of some of my favorite colorful socks in action.
Do you have a picture of your favorite, colorful socks in action that you’d like to share?
Please send to: facebook@tomjames.com.

Whether or not you choose to embrace the trend for color and pattern, if even just for certain social occasions, it may be time to update what you are covering your feet with each morning. Most men have a sock drawer that looks like a jumbled mess: a mix of old and new, socks missing their mate, all mixed together, from athletic socks to black dress socks. What to do?

1. Go through each pair, making sure that you have a match, there are no holes or obvious signs of wear, they aren’t crusty, and they can still stay up during the day as you wear them. Get rid of everything that doesn’t meet all of the criteria.
2. Organize your socks by color and level of dress. Separate casual and athletic socks from your dress socks. I suggest that you use some sort of dividers or, better yet, specially designed cedar sock boxes.
3. Based on the color of pants that you wear, fill in with colors and patterns to complete a collection that covers your wardrobe from casual to formal.

Now you’re ready. Step out with your best feet forward!

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