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Black is still the go-to menswear choice for a wedding, whether it’s a destination, rustic, traditional, festival, beach or church wedding. It just clicks with the bride’s dazzling white.
For years now, a black tuxedo has always been classic wear for just about anyone at a wedding party, from the groom and groomsmen to the father-in-law and the guests. We all want to look as dapper as Daniel Craig in a James Bond thriller in his ravishing bowtie and black tux ensemble.
The beauty of modern black tuxedos is that you can look beyond the timeless black-and-white appeal to bring in newer styles in neutral colors such as navy, tan, beige or gray. The same goes for a classic black wedding suit, which is far more flexible when it comes to pairing with shoes, ties, pocket squares, socks, and more.
When deciding whether to wear a black tuxedo or suit for a wedding, the invite often says it all. If you see Black Tie Preferred, Black Tie Invited or White Tie, the choice is easy: stick to a tux.
However, if the invite says Formal or Black Tie Optional, you may have a bit of leeway because either a black suit or a tuxedo will do. For all other types of invitations, your best shot is to sport a black suit.
But what about socks?
There is an art to pairing socks with a black wedding tux or suit that comes down to two options: (i) stick to old-school menswear styling rules steeped in tradition, or (ii) go for seasonal trends.
Conventional wisdom says plain black socks should be the automatic go-to wedding sock color if you want to play it safe. However, more and more savvy grooms are opting for a pop of sock color.
Let’s break down on how to go about either sock choice.
The Case for Plain Black Socks
The most fundamental rule of thumb when it comes to picking the right pair of socks for a wedding is to coordinate the color of the trouser leg with the sock color. That’s a play-it-safe golden styling rule if you’re ever in doubt.
With a black tuxedo or suit, plain black socks might just be your best bet. After all, dressing up in a black formal suit with plain black socks never goes out of style, but not all black socks are created equal.
Whether you are the one getting married or you are simply attending a wedding, here are some considerations you should take before you suit up when selecting socks:
The Texture of the Sock
Standing, dancing, and walking are all an indispensable part of a conventional wedding, but all of these activities can leave your dogs barking. To add insult to injury, most wedding shoes lean more towards fashion rather than comfort.
That’s why going commando is a no-go. It’s just plain tacky, even if you’re a serial bare-footer. Dressy events like weddings call for well-designed plain black socks with an even, smooth texture.
Wearing ribbed socks is another big no-no. The ribbing often found in running or everyday socks will look terrible tucked inside typical wedding shoes such as black patent, leather or dress loafers. That’s because ribbing makes the shoe feel too thin for comfort – or, worse, you will have to deal with socks that frequently bunch at the heels.
Length of the Sock
You don’t need to be a men’s fashion guru to know that socks that show skin below the cuff of the trousers are wildly inappropriate for a wedding. Yes, you might be a savvy dresser or a trendsetter, but showing scruffy or scraggly bits of ankle hairs is downright awful and scandalous.
Instead, pick a plain black sock that reaches mid-calf or a little higher in height. If you are comfortable, socks that come all the way to just shy of the lower edge of the knee will also do just fine.
Basic rule to follow: your sock should be, at minimum, halfway up the calf.
Ankle socks and so-called footies look clownish with a black tuxedo or suit for a wedding. When you wear these, you will likely expose a flash of leg skin that may mismatch your trousers and your socks, ruining your entire ensemble.
Because the material is the biggest cost factor, manufacturers are likely to go short on length in order to save a few bucks. Steer clear of big-box retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon, buy your socks from specialty socks stores like No Cold Feet.
Feet sweat a lot, especially during a highly emotional occasion like a wedding. That’s why you should select a sock made from material that will absorb and wick away the sweat.
Still, you don’t want a sock that will get drenched in sweat since your shoes will become too slippery and uncomfortable.
For this reason, stay away from plain black wedding socks made from 100% acrylic, polyester, rayon, nylon, and other synthetic fabrics. These sock fabrics on their own are non-absorbent and artificial, so they won’t let your feet breathe easily.
Instead, you should go for socks made from silk, wool, cotton, or their blends. They are absorbent, comfortable, and stay cool/warm for the entire wedding session. 100% natural-fiber sock is not ideal, either.
A good wedding sock should be comprised of several materials as follows:
- Elasticized cuff – The cuff of the sock should be made from an elastic material such as acrylic so it doesn’t sag on the leg. Socks with a touch of this fiber will stay snug on your feet all day.
- Primary natural fiber – at least 60% of the sock should consist of wool, cotton or both. Wool is great for winter or chilly-season weddings; cotton is perfect for warm weather because it’s lightweight and absorbent.
- Integral wicking fabric – The sock should be woven with olefin, acrylic, polyester or other wicking material.
Most black socks designed for formal events like weddings will be plain 100% wool or cotton. No biggie, though.
If you want to stay old-school, a black tuxedo and black patent shoes will look dashing married together. A pair of plain black socks will nicely complete this classic ensemble.
Do you still want to don plain black socks with a black suit? Slip-ons, oxfords, and loafers will go perfectly with a dark suit.
An accessory like a tie or a pocket square will most probably stand out more than the socks in your wedding outfit. However, you can take it up a notch by matching your socks with these accessories. Simply coordinate the patterns or colors.
Generally, matching your tie and socks is a fuss-free way to pull your whole wedding outfit together.
Should You Outfit the Entire Wedding Party in the Same Socks?
Traditionally, most grooms limit matching their socks to those of the best man, groomsmen, ring bearer, officiant, and other members of the entourage. It’s a nice way to make the members of the wedding party stand out from the crowd of other lovely wedding guests. After all, you want them to leave feeling special and appreciated.
An increasing number of couples are choosing to outfit their entire wedding party with the same socks, whether plain black, colored or patterned. It’s easy to understand why:
It’s a nice gesture – Many of your guests made long strips to witness you take your vows and formalize your relationship. Matching socks will invoke for everyone the feeling of being part and parcel of your big day. What could be more suitable?
It creates a uniform look – Uniformity is the key to a successful wedding, ask any happy couple.
Ready for the snap – Consistent sock choice across your party will make for amazing wedding photos.
The Case for Colorful Socks
Aside from classic plain black socks, you can choose to add a pop of color that ties the wedding colors to the outfit. Colorful socks are not just funky; if used subtly, they can marry well with your black tuxedo or suit, adding more pizazz to your wedding.
Nonetheless, there are a few things to keep in mind when pairing colorful socks with a black suit or tux for the wedding:
When to wear solid colors
Solid-colored socks are for men who want to save patterns for other aspects of the outfit, such as the pocket square, tie, bowtie or even the actual suit/tuxedo. Plain socks in shades of red, blue, purple, or green are an easy choice for just about any wedding.
You can decide to sport the same solid color across the entire wedding party or have each member of the groom’s party wear a slightly different shade – either way, fun, stylish socks will bring a polished touch into your wedding day.
When to wear patterned socks
If you choose to wear patterned wedding socks, you’ll have a whole range of choices. These are ideal for a playful couple adding a fun flair to their big day.
For the pair who wants to dress up the wedding party in some fun colorful pattern socks, there are many amazing designs to choose from: checkers, plaid, polka dots, stripes, and argyle, among others. No matter your choice, these fun socks will add pep to each recipient’s every step.
- Striped – If you go with striped wedding socks, be sure to pick stripe colors that are also featured elsewhere in the ensemble.
- Argyle – No doubt a classic choice, it is impossible to clash argyle wedding socks with your black tuxedo or dark suit.
- Polka dots – It is recommended to match these flattering patterns with the color of another detail in the outfit, especially the tie or the pocket square. You can play around with the color and size of the dots to get more eyeballs for these masterpieces.
Dos and Don’ts of Wearing Colorful Socks
Do stick to neutral colors if you are color blind – universal shades like beige, gray, navy or tan will get the fashion police off your back.
Don’t overdo multiple colors – if you do wear a multicolored sock, make sure at least one of the colors are featured somewhere in the ensemble.
Do draw attention with bright colors – if you want to add more life and oomph to your wedding outfit, try a bunch of bright colors including at least one neutral, such as beige + yellow + cinnamon or gold + eggplant + navy.
Don’t clash your socks with accessories – Whether you want to look casual or make a vibrant statement, don’t be shy about trying out colorful socks. However, you must coordinate the color or pattern of the socks with your suit’s or tuxedo’s formal accessories.
For example, if you are wearing a turquoise tie, pocket square or vest, why not be clad in socks of the same color? This way, the sock will sync up perfectly with the rest of the outfit.
What to Absolutely Avoid With a Black Suit
Dressing up in a black suit is timeless – every detail comes in the same shade of black, from the pants to the lapel to the jacket. Even more exciting, nearly every style can work with a black suit.
Still, there are a few no-no’s to avoid when wearing a black suit for a wedding:
Never wear a black suit with white socks. It’s just downright hilarious, and not in a good way. On your wedding day, white socks should stay in your sock drawer.
Stay clear of ties made of shiny fabrics. You can go with a classic black tie or add a pop of color. In either case, your black suit will be sure to please onlookers at the wedding. But, you should trade shiny fabrics like smooth silk for subtle texture and matt undertones.
Don’t mismatch the leather belt and shoes. If you go with a black leather belt, be sure to stick to black leather shoes. Otherwise, you will ruin the wedding vibe and people will talk about your sartorial choices more than the beauty of the bride. A major no-no.
Never exactly match the tie and pocket square. Your black suit outfit will look tacky and offensively cheap.
No one can argue the place black tuxedos and suits have in wedding history. The classic black-and-white look is synonymous with weddings, whether formal or informal. When it comes to sock choice to complete the ensemble, you can never go wrong with plain black.
Choosing the right wedding sock boils down to a few factors, including size, material, color, length, accessories, and texture.
Aside from black, neutrals such as tan, beige, gray, etc. are usually recommended for anyone who is color blind.
Couples who want to spice things up, however, can add a splash of color with solid colored or patterned socks, including those with fun stripes, polka dots or argyle patterns.
Whatever your choice, never wear white socks to the wedding!