6 Sock Rules You Should Never Break

April 09, 2020 7 min read

Fashion is often subjective. The very thing that is fashionable to one person or one group or one culture can be completely unfashionable to another one. On the individual level, what was fashionable to you just a decade ago probably looks a little silly now (we know you have those pictures!). What never goes out of fashion, though, is style.

Over the years, this has been a common theme discussed by some of the biggest names in fashion. Iconic designer Yves Saint-Laurent once said, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” This is to say that, although the garments themselves might change, wearing them with style will always be important.

This is true with all fashion, from headwear all the way down to socks. The most stylish of men know that socks are one of the most important elements of style. Important men know the importance of wearing socks properly. They do this by adhering to a set of tried and true rules about wearing socks. While the socks themselves will change over the years, these rules never will. Here are 6 sock rules you should never break.

Rule #1: No Holes. Ever.

This is the simplest but also the most important of all the sock rules. Are there any exceptions? No. But what about… Nope. Maybe if… Uh-uh. Even when… N.O. No. There are 0 exceptions to this most important of sock rules. That is why it is #1 on the list.

Socks protect and comfort your feet and complement whatever else you are wearing. They also make your shoes last longer. If your sock has a hole (or multiple holes) in it, it is no longer doing any of the jobs it is meant to do. Having a hole in your sock is uncomfortable, it opens the skin underneath to the possibility of damage, irritation or discomfort. Maybe most importantly, it looks horrible.

If you have ever been in a situation where you were wearing a holey sock and had to unexpectedly remove your shoes, you know what an embarrassing situation that can be. If you are over 12 years old, there is no excuse for wearing socks with holes in them. Socks are inexpensive. Even a great pair of socks won't set you back all that much. They are also easy to obtain. Nowadays, even if you don’t want to go to the store, with a few clicks or swipes you can have socks sent right to you.

There are no excuses. If you only decide to follow one of these sock rules, make it this one. Wearing socks with holes is not fashionable, it is not stylish, and it is not cool. Don’t wear socks with holes. Ever.

Rule #2: Don’t Hold on to Orphans

Peanut butter and jelly. Burt and Ernie. Hide and seek. Some things just go together. A pair of socks is another good example of this. Having one without the other makes the sock not as good or useful to you. This is why you should not hold on to orphaned socks.

How does one sock get lost? Who knows. Maybe it got pushed under the bed or stuck in the dryer. Maybe a little sock gremlin sneaks into your room once a month and steals one sock just to mess with you. Nobody knows how these things happen but they do. And, when they do, it is fine to give yourself a few weeks to see if the left (or right) buddy shows back up, but you cannot hold out hope forever.

Keeping a single sock around forever does not do you or your sock drawer any good. Once it is clear that your sock’s little buddy is not coming back, it is time to move on. But, wait! Do not just pitch that orphaned sock in the trash. There are a host of ways you can repurpose those socks. From arts and crafts for the kids to a valuable cleaning tool, there are many useful ways to use a single sock that will be much better than throwing it out.

Repurposing orphaned socks is a great way to be eco-friendly while also creating a win-win situation for yourself. Not only will you keep your sock drawer clear of unnecessary clutter, but you will also make another aspect of your life easier and more efficient as well. The second of these sock rules is beneficial all around!

Rule #3: Gym Socks are for the Gym

Plain white socks have their place in the sock world. These types of socks, whether they are tube socks, 3/4 length socks, or ankle socks, are great when you are working out at the gym, running, biking, hiking, or participating in some other sort of athletic endeavor. White socks are comfortable and functional. They are what you wear when you want to say, “I am doing something active so how I look is not important”.

Outside of participating in physical activities, there is no place for gym socks. To be a stylish sock-wearer, you probably shouldn’t be wearing plain white socks even when you are dressed casually in jeans and you NEVER want to wear white socks in formal attire like a suit. No matter how great you look on the top 95% of your body in a suit or a slick outfit, wearing white socks will totally negate that.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows or subscribes to these sock rules. This is why, for important occasions, you want to do all you can do to make sure these sock rules are followed. This is even more important for the most special occasions in your life such as your wedding.

For your big day, you pick out the tuxes and shoes for your groomsmen so they look good during the ceremony and, most importantly, for the pictures to follow. If one of your groomsmen is wearing white socks with their suit, though, they will throw all that planning out the window. This is why getting your groomsmen a great pair of socks as a groomsman gift is not only a great idea but a trend that is growing in popularity.

Rule #4: Socks with Sandals Are Pretty Much Always a Bad Idea

The oldest known form of footwear that humans have ever found is a pair of sandals dating from over 10,000 years ago. It was not until many centuries later, the ancient Greeks invented socks. So, sometime around the 8th century BC was the first time a dude put on a pair of socks, slipped into his sandals, and someone else looked at him and said, “Oh no! That looks terrible!”

In the 2,000 plus years that have followed, has anyone pulled this look off? Sure. The Germans have been doing it for so long that it has become fashionable there. Justin Bieber has done it and David Beckham does it all the time. You know what? It looks kind of cool when they do this. However, unless you are taking a stroll down Binz Beach in Rugen, Germany or are an international pop star or world-famous footballer, it is probably best to stay away from this look.

Other than those few cases, socks with sandals only serve to give off an “embarrassing dad on vacation” vibe that you want to avoid at all costs. Here is the thing about socks: outside of these few sock rules, you can do pretty much anything you want with your socks; it is up to you. Wear them with shoes, boots, sneakers, or on their own. Just don’t wear them with sandals.

Rule #5: Avoid Patterns on Patterns

Your socks are an important part of your overall outfit and should complement your look, not fight with it. That is why you want to consider your entire outfit before deciding on your socks. It is also the reason you need a good selection of different styles and colors of socks from which to choose. The more choices you have, the more prepared you will be to pick the perfect pair of socks that will truly make your outfit stand out in a wonderful awe-inspiring manner.

Many guys like to show off their style by wearing crazy socks. That’s great, especially if the rest of your outfit is more conservative! However, if you like your outfit to be a little more out there, you need to consider that fact well while choosing your socks. If you’re wearing pants with a zany, loud pattern, for example, your socks should probably be solid colored.

This is not to say that just because you are wearing a loud pair of pants you should wear plain white socks (see sock Rule #3). You can still have fun with your socks; you just want to avoid patterns with patterns. You can still wear super-fun green socks or purple socks with your crazy pants, just make sure they don't clash with or overpower the rest of your ensemble.

Rule #6: Have Some Fun in Your Sock Drawer

While the first of the sock rules (No holes. Ever.) is probably most important, this last one is a close second. Other than these 6 incredibly important sock rules, there really are no other sock rules! Whatever feels good to you, do it. It is your sock drawer! Make it as fun and unique and special to you as possible.

A drawer full of plain socks or all the same socks is a recipe for boredom. You should have at least a few pairs that make a real statement. In addition to some interesting colors, you should invest in at least a few pairs of striped socks and some argyle socks as well. If you are into superheroes or sports teams or some kind of food or drink you can probably find socks with those things on them.

Life is too short for anything boring; your socks are included in that. Sure, it is easy to buy a jumbo pack of plain socks at your local big box store, but what is the fun in that? They say that variety is the spice of life and having a variety of socks is not only fun, but stylish, too.


Coco Chanel, another famous fashion designer who talked about fashion versus style said, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” This is why these sock rules are so important. Your sock drawer will, and should, change and evolve over time (see Rules #1 and #2). By following these 6 rules, though, you will keep your sock game stylish no matter where the winds of fashion blow. Socks are the article of clothing that most men give the least amount of thought. When you follow these rules and give your socks the attention they deserve, people absolutely will sit up and take notice.

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