Photo: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
Rarely do socks make or break an outfit. Like brushing your hair or rolling on deodorant, you probably pull on socks without much thought -- whatever’s clean works. But when you’re gussying up your jeans with a pair of dress shoes, socks matter. With the right socks for the shoes, your feet can look fabulous and feel comfortable, too.
In the professional world, stay classy with basic solids. If you have open-toed dress shoes or the tops of your feet show under those flare or wide-leg jeans, go for sheer knee-high socks in the same color you’d wear pantyhose. Comfy dark blue or black cotton dress socks are OK if no one can see the socks; just make sure the socks match your pants. If your pants leave you looking like you're waiting for a flood when you sit down, you don’t want black socks clashing with dark blue denim jeans.
If the only dress code is to look fierce, get funky with bright colors and patterns, as long as the socks are thin. If the fashion shows of Araks and Y-3 are any indication, blue socks are in for fall 2011. Think of your socks as an accessory piece. If you’re wearing all black, why not accessorize with a belt and socks in your favorite color? Picture the stunning contrast of red socks peeking through a pair of black Mary Janes.
If you’re thinking of wearing socks with ballet flats and your skinniest jeans, stop, just stop right there. Socks never belong with some looks. Inspired by hipsters everywhere, designers have sent models stomping down runways in socks and heels with dresses, but even haute couture draws the line when it comes to skinny jeans. Whether you’re wearing that pair of black pumps every girl should own or animal print flats, skip the socks with those skinny jeans.
Be Comfortable But Stylish
Dress shoes can be killer on your feet. Even those low pumps or leather mules can be deceptive. They look sensible enough, but it’s like winning the lottery to find a pair as comfy as your favorite pair of sneakers. You might be tempted to wear thicker socks for extra cushioning, thinking your jeans will hide your little secret, but don’t risk it. Instead, add some cushion or gel insoles to the shoes. Wear heels grips if the shoes rub your heels raw. Thick “athletic” socks and dress shoes just don’t mix.