For men, accessorising is straightforward business. A nice watch, a smart pair of shoes, a good tie—if the occasion calls for one—spell gwapo more than any other outfit with too much bling and razzmatazz.
Lately, however, one trend has been making rounds that cuts the middle ground between minimalist and swag. Lo and behold, the “exposed-sock” trend.
The look totally defies the general wardrobe attitude about the humble socks as an afterthought by putting it in the spotlight. When done right, it can tie together a good outfit by adding an accent that the eyes can focus on.
The thing is, one wrong move can take you from hip to nah faster than you can tie your shoelaces. So how exactly can you pull off this trend without looking like an overgrown man in elementary school? Here are five rules you need to remember to master this style.
1) Play with patterns.
If you’re just going to be showing off your regular, black tubes then what’s the point of even showing them at all? Remember, this trend is all about making a statement, so choose patterns and colors that will stand out. Patterned socks (those printed with eye-catching pop culture logos) are all the rage now, but if that isn’t your cup of tea then go for pairs in solid bright colors or patterned dress socks.
2) Clash, but be classy about it.
Picking a color or pattern that will pop is important in pulling off this look, but remember that there is a fine line separating cool and obnoxious. When playing with contrasts, pick a pair that subtly connects to an element of your outfit, like similar color undertones, for example. Stay away from being matchy-matchy too, unless you’re after looking like a cartoon character.
3) The cuff game.
How well you cuff your pants so you’re giving your socks just the right exposure is crucial to pulling off this trend. The key, ironically, is how “half-heartedly” you roll your cuffs. Starting from the hem of your pant leg, make uneven folds and stop two to three inches above your ankle. It’s fine to leave some bunching and wrinkles for a casual, laidback look.
4) Lace up the kicks.
Exposed socks look best with classic cap toe oxfords and wing tip lace-ups because they contrast with the forward-looking vibe of the style. If you’re not really after a debonair vibe, though, then you can also pair it with trainers for a more casual twist. High-cut boots also work, but you’ll have to go for a higher cuff to pull off the style.
5) Mind what’s going on above.
Since your socks are already the talk of the town, go for a fairly natural outfit to balance everything. You don’t want to give the eye too many details to focus on, so a shirt or button-down in solid colors will do. To add more harmony to your outfit, you can also fold the cuff of your top to match your exposed sock game below.