You can find the genial lesser-spotted middle-aged man throughout July in his natural habitat, beige shorts fluttering somewhere between thigh and calf, legs blending inconspicuously with white spo
You can find the genial lesser-spotted middle-aged man throughout July in his natural habitat, beige shorts fluttering somewhere between thigh and calf, legs blending inconspicuously with white sports socks. To top off his binoculars and surely only to offend, he sports a pair of sturdy walking sandals, worn shamelessly over the socks. On one of those anaemic ‘summer’ days Britain does so well the sight is a frequent one. Socks and sandals were, until that fateful Burberry Prorsum show in 2010, the ultimate foible, which even those with the slightest fashion nous would know to avoid.
Although nowadays most glossies embrace the combination as more of a ‘do’ than a ‘don’t’, Vogue Editor in Chief and unofficial queen of the fash pack, Anna Wintour demurs. She declared, quite recently in fact, the only thing worse than this trend is Kim Kardashian. However Wintour isn’t famous for taking a fluffy approach to anything, except perhaps her plush selection of fur embellished jackets (yum). Most of us would be inclined follow the lead of spoof twitter account Kim Kierkegaardashianand generously attribute to Kim a few more merits, even if we’re not 100% behind this divisive trend.
Although it’s taken the best part of 2 years, the unlikely love affair between hosiery and summer footwear has filtered down from the higher echelons of Couture style into the everyday and even the student aesthetic. Perhaps its not so surprising that students have taken to this trend—if you can keep your feet warm, wear a pair of cute strappy shoes that miraculously shrink your ankles AND minimise blisters, why wouldn’t you?
However combining sock and sandals is still a sartorial grey area, one to be approached with care for the less fashion forward.
Socks and Juju Jellies
For most of us frilly white socks and sandals (with the obligatory gingham dress and crested cardigan) were primary school and nursery time staples. It’s not really fair of me to suggest that this brand of mix-and-match is strictly the reserve of men of a certain age in fishing caps. The fact that it isn’t only goes to prove that if there’s one thing certain about fashion, it’s that it moves in steady circles, producing very little of the new, while seizing on reinvented versions of the old.
For an example see Tumblr, where baby doll socks have made a come back hand in hand with their 90’s sister trend the sparkly juju jelly shoe. There’s something about the pairing that’s extremely appealing and disarming, perfect for a nonchalant summer time outfit that references the recent surge of nostalgia for all things of the previous era. The best way to style juju jellies and socks is to opt for blocks of colour. That means digging out your most adventurous patterns socks and mixing pastel shades that simultaneously clash and compliment each other. There are no rules per se, so go wild, free your inner tiger.
For a more classic option try the rolled edge socks from &Other Stories, an upmarket brand from the savvy people who gave us H&M and COS. For something to wear after hours head to Urban Outfitters. They still stock their glitter socks, which exploded on to the high street successfully sometime last year. As always, Topshop deserve a big thumbs up—they don’t disappoint with socks patterned with bunnies, cats, hearts and galaxies. Don’t overlook ASOS. Browse their options from House of Holland for Pretty Polly for affordable, designer, colour popping fun.
Socks and Heels
More thought is needed to successfully pull off socks with other varieties of heels, although the results appear far more spontaneous and unplanned than cute jellies-and-socks combo. Again the key is colour blocking, and dare I say it, colour clashing. Swap pastels for brash neon and try to avoid childish patterns. However don’t copy the crimes both Marc Jacobs and Prada committed during shows last September. Instead go for stripe or classy prints a la Liberty London. Sheer and silky fabrics are also lush when paired with platforms, check out the Sheer Stripe Sock for inspiration (again ASOS, what can I say? I have a problem), then, if you’re brave enough try cutting up a pair of tights and double up the top edges.
If going for textured or heavy woollen socks, avoid white and make sure you pick a pair of heels roomy enough to accommodate the addition; no one wants to look down and see your feet bubbling over the straps of your shoes. Moreover, restricting your circulation will, eventually, end in your toes going black and falling off (fact). For some stylesporation direct your cursors to vogue.com, Grazia and style.com.
Socks and Brogues
If you wear brogues, I’d be disappointed if you don’t already own a collection of the most colourful, dandified, Gatsby-esque silk socks around. This is a match fore-ordained in heaven. If you are opting for oxfords, a classic, formal and masculine type of footwear, the perfect way to offset the choice is with socks that declare femininity, spunk and character.
Notwithstanding this, Brogues and loafers have had a makeover. Now they come in hues and styles as varied as the socks you pick to wear them with. See the Jil sander Metallic Patent Leather Loafers or Miista Zoe Silver Flat lace up shoes for sparkly evidence or pour over the mind-boggling range of 1461s on offer from Doc Marten. Another heavy soled alternative to brogues or loafers are the cut-out boots that have descended from the lofty heights of Balenciaga and Jeffery Campbell to the more affordable shelves of Topshop and Office in the recent past.
Socks and…other shoes
To be honest, this guide isn’t indispensible, because the reality is that socks can be worn ‘fashionably’ with any shoes, as long as the said wearing is executed with confidence and aplomb. In the past week alone I’ve seen hairy mohair socks worn with trainers, shrieking neon socks paired with pointed kitten heels, knee-highs with pumps and peeking over boots, all too admirable effect. It’s particularly pleasing on the tube to look at the feet of businessman opposite and see he’s wearing gorgeous lime green socks that completely undermine the sobriety of his navy suit. I’d like to add that choosing impressive socks is generally important whatever you’re wearing, as you generally have to take off shoes at some point and no-one wants to be judged for gaping holes at the toes and heels.