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Should Socks Match Pants or Shoes? This and 10 Other Men's Style Questions Answered
02 · 09 · 2013

Should Socks Match Pants or Shoes? This and 10 Other Men's Style Questions Answered

Written by Beckett Simonon

Should Socks Match Pants or Shoes?

Traditionally, socks were meant to match pants in color. Mainly because it creates a unified line, resulting in a more flattering look.

However, looking “right” isn’t always synonymous with looking good. Colored or patterned socks are stylish and fun.

Plus, they are one of those pleasant surprises that can earn you style cred without being too loud.

Should belts and shoes match?

It’s advisable that your shoes and belt be on the same note. And, true, this can be easily accomplished with tone-matching accessories.

However, if the occasion allows, you can also up your belt game by adding different textures such as woven leather or cotton needlepoint.

What matters most is how well they complement each other, not only in color but also in style.

What’s the ideal length for shorts?

It really depends on your body type but, as a general rule, going two to three fingers above the knee creates a neat look. Just to be clear, anything below the knee falls off the “shorts” category entirely.

And while we're at it, it should also be mentioned that socks and shorts should be like oil and water. If you really need them, invisible socks or shoe liners are the only acceptable way to go.

Should bags and shoes match?

No! This age-old adage has gone the way of the dinosaur. Your bag should only match your personality. Leave the strict matching rule to stodgy old men.

If you wear a suit every day and you’re looking to keep it in the safe zone, a classic black or brown leather briefcase will never go out of style.

If you're on the casual side, a bright tan leather or navy cotton messenger bag will make a nonchalant statement.

Is it ok to go tieless with a buttoned-up-to-top shirt when wearing a suit?

We’re sitting on the fence when it comes to this one. Some people get away with it flawlessly. But trust us when we say these lucky folks belong in more artsy environments.

This style can often be a bit more dressed up than an open collar, but it’s never a safe bet. Unfortunately, invisible ties do not replace the real thing. We’ll make an exception if your first name’s David and your last name’s Lynch (or Byrne.)

Where do I place a tie bar?

It’s up to you and your personal style. Back in the day, tie bars were worn between the third and fourth buttons of a shirt. Nowadays, it's more common to wear them between the second and third button.

Just in case you’re new to the trend, make sure your tie bar also clips your shirt placket (the double layers of fabric that hold the buttons and buttonholes). Never wear a tie bar that's longer than your tie is wide.

How many buttons should I leave open on my shirt?

This is a matter of personal taste, and it varies from shirt to shirt and from place to place. In fact, the climate is a significant determining factor here).

However, as a rule of thumb, wearing your shirt with the top two buttons unbuttoned will be well accepted.

Opening more than two buttons is a daring step into challenging territory. Except for Keith Richards, very few men own the style to sport such cleavage and still look good.

Cuffs on dress pants? What’s the ideal length?

Cuffs on suit pants are pure engineering. They may seem decorative, but they are more about function than anything else. Cuffs add weight and anchor your pants, resulting in a better hang and a sharper look.

There’s no golden formula to determine perfect sizing. It will usually depend mostly on your height. If you are still unsure of the right fit, 1 ½ to 2 inches will often do the trick.

What’s the best color for a first suit?

Congratulations! A man’s first suit is a definitive step into adult life. You will be in good company with solid charcoal grey or dark navy blue. Black is not a good starting point as it’s insufficient in shirt and tie options.

It rarely looks sharp during the day. Plus, we're sure you don’t want to be mistaken for a priest. Or a waiter. Or a Zara sales guy.


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Emon Mahamud Apr 05, 2019

Black belt It looks a lot beautiful. People use black belt most often.Mobile shopping place

Kurt Wetzel Jul 18, 2017

About the socks thing. What I do is only wear black socks. White socks, gray, or any other color makes wearing them much harder. I couldn’t wear them with dress pants because I will look silly. I keep it simple and only buy and wear black socks

Antonymous Oct 20, 2016

I bend these rules a bit, though I found I mostly follow them, both with suits or casual wear. I default to black socks if I don’t feel like matching and finding colors that day, I usually match my socks to my shoes (so, brown socks with brown shoes is the only other color) or to my shirt, when I want them more colorful and/or brighter. Sometimes to pants.
My shorts are one to two inches above my knee and most the time I wear them with sandals, not shoes, so of course no socks. If I wear them with shoes, low cut loafers are great to be worn without socks comfortably. I sometimes need to wear socks with them, though, otherwise, goodbye loafers :), so I give them a break, when I do, I wear ankle socks matching the shoe to minimize their display, or I make a statement out of them and match my shirts, which go from black to dark emerald.

Antonymous Jun 02, 2016

Yes, blue socks with blue pants is awesome as pairing, though I saw people matching their socks and shoes, black on black and brown on brown leather, which also looked good :). I also like “breakers”, which go for a lighter tones, matching shirt and socks.

Antome Dec 27, 2015

I sometimes prefer matching dress socks to the shirt, there is less continuity as the color tends to be light, but keeps the sense of familiarity.
Do leather sandals look good or stylish with shorts?

Antome Oct 30, 2015

I prefer matching socks with shirts usually.
When going, casual, not sure about socks with shorts, I don’t wear socks when I’m not wearing shoes, with shorts (i.e. most of the times I wear sandals), but with shoes, I guess some ankle socks are ok with loafers or other shoes, cause, you know, it can lead to blisters :).

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